When Doug opened a letter from Nationwide Insurance, he was a little baffled how his personal information had been stolen.
We don’t have them for an insurance carrier, the Boise resident says.
As such, Doug discarded the letter and put it out of mind.
However, a day later, when he opened his email to read the same Nationwide Insurance letter, he was immediately suspicious.
Something about it looks strange; it leads me to an Internet link, he says.
According to a security notice released on its site, Nationwide states its database was recently hacked and some information was compromised. The attack was neutralized as a result of the company’s responsive actions.
A follow-up investigation showed names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and birth dates could have been compromised. The hackers gained unauthorized access to personal information of policyholders and applicants for policies, according to The Associated Press.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company & Affiliated Companies is a group of large U.S. insurance and financial services companies based in Columbus, Ohio. The company also operates regional headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, San Antonio, Texas, Gainesville, Fla., and Lynchburg, Va.
In some cases, the hackers could have gotten marital status, gender, occupation, and the name and address of the victim’s employer, the release reads.
There’s no evidence to indicate medical or credit card information has been stolen by the attackers, the release states.
Law enforcement authorities were immediately notified and letters are being sent to the people that might have been affected.
It’s important that we let you know: Nationwide Mutual Insurance is an accredited business with Better Business Bureau.
This is not a scam — it is a real incident. Somehow, Nationwide had Doug’s information in its database and the database was hacked — and his information may have been compromised.
The warning says victims are eligible for Equifax credit monitoring.
If you received a similar notice and are eligible, it would be a good idea to accept the offer.
Regardless, you should consider placing a freeze on your credit reports. If, like Doug, you received the notice from Nationwide, placing a freeze on your accounts should be free.
Freezing your credit report requires that you contact each of the three credit reporting agencies: Transunion, Equifax and Experian. You will have to provide your Social Security number. Normally, it costs $6 to freeze each report, but because you may be a victim of identity theft, the process is free.
Anyone can freeze his or her credit report, which prevents access. It will keep thieves from opening credit in your name and will prevent companies from looking at your report to determine credit worthiness (it’s a great way to stop pre-approved credit offers).
Robb Hicken: 947-2115