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ALERT: Equifax Breach

From the Desk of Office of Security & Research, Cuyahoga County IT

Equifax recently reported a breach exposing the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. The records that include names, social security numbers, and birth dates. In some instances, credit card numbers and driver license numbers for 209,000 people were stolen as well. The breach occurred sometime between mid-May and July of this year, but wasn’t discovered until July 29th.

The company also stated that some personal information for Canadian and British residents was also compromised.

Based on the investigation Equifax has undertaken, unknown hackers exploited a security vulnerability on it’s website to gain unauthorized access to certain files. Equifax is currently investigating the security incident with the assistance of a security firm. The website below (#1) has updated information as the incident is under investigation.

The Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs Department is also monitoring the event, please see their information here:

Are you affected? Maybe. Here are some things you can do:
  1. Visit website to check if your information has been stolen. Just enter the last 6 digits of your Social Security number and your last name.

    Be warned: The website is not giving a clear answer about whether your data was in fact compromised. Please call their support line for more information 866-447-7559.
  2. Enroll in TrustedID Premier
    For affected people, Equifax is offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection program through TrustedID Premier. The service is free whether you have been affected by the breach or not.
  3. Monitor your accounts
    It’s only a matter of time, before the information leaked being to be used for nefarious purposes. Be vigilant in reviewing bank statements, credit card statements, and changes in personal information; report any unauthorized transactions to your financial institution.
  4. Freeze your Credit Report
    Since your Social Security number can be misused to open new accounts in your name or affect your credit score, consider placing a Credit Freeze request. Freezing your credit will make it difficult for anyone to open a new account in your name. To freeze your credit, contact these credit bureaus:

    Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
    Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
  5. Change your Passwords and Logins
    Reset account passwords and login information on the Equifax website, if you have one. And potentially other accounts that may use the same credentials e.g. password.
  6. Watch out for tax season
    Identity thieves can use your stolen social security number to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds. File your taxes as early as possible.
  7. Watch out for Scams.
    If you receive any suspicious or unrecognized phone call, text message or email from anyone saying you must pay taxes or a debt immediately, even if they provide your personal information, be cautious. The IRS will NEVER call you, text you or email you regarding a debt.

    DO’s and DON’Ts

    Do Verify any suspect email with the company it came from by looking up the number and calling.
    Do Report Scams. Go to to find links and information for reporting scams.
    Do NOT click on any links.
    Do NOT respond.
    Do NOT call any phone number included in the email. Always look up the phone number from any agency you might do business with or need to contact.
    Do NOT give out or verify any personal information.
  8. Already experienced Identity Theft? Here’s what to do now:
    If you have already been a victim of Identity theft, visit the FTC Identity Theft Recovery website ( and fill in the form. The Federal Trade Commission will provide you with a specific identity theft report and “to-do” recovery plan
  9. As always, please reach out to the Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs Department:
  10. For Cuyahoga County Agencies and Users, if you believe you received a suspicious email or have detected any suspicious activity, immediately contact Cuyahoga County Support Center or your respective Agency IT Support Center / Help Desk:

Cuyahoga County Security Department Featured in the Wall Street Journal

"For Jeremy Mio, security and research manager for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the main focus is on protecting the county’s computer networks, which means not only watching what the approximately 8,000 to 10,000 employees are doing but making sure members of the public that access the system are not trying to perpetrate any mischief."

Click here to read the article.

2015 Survey Honors Most Innovative, Pioneering Digital Counties

Cuyahoga County won 10th place in the 500,000 or more population category commemorating multiple IT efforts such as county wide consolidation, cyber Security, regional collaboration, and more. Click here for the press release.

Cuyahoga County, OH honored as best in the nation for Cyber Security!