Oh Noooooooooo!! I'm a victim of a massive identity data breach. Now I call myself Tommy Pii, but you can call me Mr. Pii.
In 2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) notified me that criminals had stolen my “personally identifiable information” (Pii). Criminals also stole Pii belonging to my family (parents, siblings, spouse, children) because I was required to submit their Pii in a background-check questionnaire for employment at the time.
The OPM identity data breach resulted in the theft of our most-important Pii data, including the combination of our names, social security numbers (SSN) and dates of birth (DOB), along with other personal information criminals need to commit identity fraud. My family and I are just a few of the 21.5 million people who are victims of the OPM identity data breach.
Why were cybercriminals able to breach OPM and steal the most-sensitive Pii of people who work, worked or applied to work in public service for the federal government? Because OPM ignored its Office of Inspector General's (OIG) repeated warnings "for many years . . . [of] critical weaknesses in OPM's ability to manage its information technology (IT) environment, and . . . that [OPM] was at an increased risk of a data breach." See, the Final Audit by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Final Audit Office of the Inspector General Office of Audit here.
IDENTITY THEFT VICTIMS
Millions of people become identity data breach victims every year. Identity breach victims have a 1-in-3 chance of becoming identity fraud victims because their stolen Pii is sold on the Internet to criminals. Criminals then use victims' stolen Pii to steal money, goods and services from businesses and financial institutions in the victims' names.
Odds are that YOUR IDENTITY, including YOUR SSN, has already been stolen, or eventually will be stolen. The odds that one or more criminals have used your SSN are 1-in-7. In fact, identity fraud is so pervasive in the United States that it's estimated that someone in the United States becomes an identity fraud victim ever 2 seconds.
USE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
It's not easy to fix your identity and financial reputation once you become an identity fraud victim. Clearing your good name and financial reputation can be a difficult, stressful, time-consuming and sometimes costly ordeal.
THE GOOD NEWS is that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of new credit/loan account identity fraud without paying hundreds of dollars year-after-year for credit monitoring/alert services sold by credit reporting agencies and third-party service providers.
IT'S EASY: All you need to do is exercise your legal right to place a no-cost/low cost (determined by state law) security credit freeze on your credit reports to prevent their release to new lenders without our specific authorization. See the "Freeze Fees" page for more information.
A security credit freeze prohibits credit reporting agencies (CRAs) - Experian, Equifax, Transunion - from releasing your credit report to prospective new lenders without your specific authorization. Without access to your credit reports, reputable lenders typically will not authorize opening new credit accounts or grant loans to criminals trying to use your stolen identity. See our "Order Security Freeze" page for details.
State laws also require CRAs to provide consumers with an easy means to temporarily "thaw" and "unfreeze" their frozen credit reports when seeking to apply for new credit lines or loans from lenders. By law, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion provide consumers with personal identification numbers (PIN) so you can control the release of your credit reports to lenders that you select. See the "PIN Control" page for more information.
Some states, like North Carolina, prohibit the CRAs from charging consumers any fees to "freeze," "thaw" or "unfreeze" their credit reports. This effectively provides North Carolina residents with free identity fraud protection from criminals trying to open new credit accounts or obtain loans using the stolen identities of people who have frozen their credit reports.
The New York Times reported that the CRA's "aren’t big fans of freezes, because they’re an administrative annoyance and they throw a giant roadblock in their business of peddling our information." But it's not about the CRAs; it's about you and the security and privacy of your valuable identity data.
To learn what the experts say about security credit freezes and to link directly to the security credit freeze pages of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, see our Frozen Pii Homepage.
Mr. Pii is a parody of SNL's parody of children's shows. Mr. Pii is not related to Mr. Bill or the Mr. Bill Show. Any similarity between Mr. Pii and Mr. Bill is hilariously coincidental.
Mr. Pii self-publishes FrozenPii.net as a free public education website, and derives no revenue from this website. His goal is to educate people about their legal right to security credit freezes pursuant to state consumer protection laws. Information posted on Frozen Pii.net was accurate at the time it was initially published. FrozenPii.net does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. Information contained on FrozenPii.net is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.
Contact: @MrTommyPii on Twitter