Privacy Tip #321 – California AG Warns Consumers About ID Theft from T-Mobile Breach

On March 2, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta urged individuals affected by the T-Mobile breach in 2021 to take advantage of resources to assist with preventing or responding to identity theft. According to the consumer alert, more than 53 million individuals were affected by the breach, including over 6 million California residents. The compromised data include T-Mobile customers’ and prospective customers’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and drivers’ license numbers [view related post].

The alert urges those affected by the breach to “protect their personal information from identity theft and to take advantage of identity protection services.” Since a large trove of the data was discovered on the dark web, General Bonta stated in the Alert, “I encourage anyone who believes they have had their identity compromised to take advantage of the resources available to help protect them and their personal information.”

Specific steps outlined by the alert include:

  • Monitor your credit. Credit monitoring services track your credit report and alert you whenever a change is made, such as a new account or a large purchase. Most services will notify you within 24 hours of any changes to your credit report.
  • Consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit report. Identity thieves will not be able to open a new credit account in your name while the freeze is in place. You can place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus:
    • Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/; 888-766-0008
    • Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html; 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze; 800-680-7289
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of someone opening new credit accounts in your name. A fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed. To post a fraud alert on your credit file, you must contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies listed above. Keep in mind that if you place a fraud alert with any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, the alert will be automatically added by the other two agencies as well.
  • Additional Resources. If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local police department or sheriff’s office right away. You may also report identity theft and generate a recovery plan using the Federal Trade Commission’s website at identitytheft.gov. For more information and resources, visit the Attorney General’s website at oag.ca.gov/idtheft.

These are solid tips for anyone whose personal information has been compromised in a data breach, including the T-Mobile incident.