Attorney General’s office warns of scam following leak of state workers’ personal information

Posted on 19 Apr 2011 at 9:05am

This isn’t a specifically LGBT news item, but I know for a fact that there are tons of  teachers and other state workers — retired and otherwise — who are LGBT, so here you go:

Texas AG Greg Abbott

State Attorney General Greg Abbott today warned that retired and current state workers whose personal information was recently “inadvertently stored on a publicly accessible website” by the Texas Comptroller’s Office are apparently now being targeted by scammers out to steal identities.

Abbott’s press release said that an employee of the Health and Human Services Commission has reported receiving a telephone call from someone who identified himself as “Mike” with the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) and said he was calling to confirm the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security number. (Just so you know, having the last four digits of your SSN lets someone who knows what they are doing to access all sorts of personal information about you.)

The employee who reported the call refused to give the caller their SSN, and the caller finally hung up with the words, “Good luck to you.”

Abbott’s press release notes that the data the Comptroller’s office released on the public website included information such as names, addresses, SSNs and driver’s license numbers of employees in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission and the ERS. The press release also stresses that no one with these three agencies are making these calls, and anyone who gets such a call should hang up without giving out any information.

Anyone who feels their confidential information has been revealed should also consider taking these steps to safeguard their identities and their credit, Abbott’s office suggested:

• Get a copy of your credit report and review it for unauthorized account activity.

• Contact a primary credit reporting bureau to have a fraud alert placed on the reports, and that bureau will notify the other two credit bureaus.

• Report unauthorized charges and accounts to the credit issuers and the credit bureaus immediately by phone and in writing and then cancel the accounts.

• File a police report with your local law enforcement agency and keep a copy of the report handy since most banks and credit agencies require such a report before acknowledging that a theft has occurred.

• Then go online to TxSafeguard.org or TexasFightsIDTheft.org for more information.

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