LANHAM, Md., Feb. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (“VOACC”) announced today a phishing email incident that involved a small number of email accounts in its computer environment.
The phishing email incident resulted in unauthorized access to information contained in some email accounts, including names accompanied by Social Security numbers, financial/checking account numbers, payment card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and limited medical/health information.
Although VOACC cannot confirm that any individual’s information was in fact viewed by an unauthorized person, and has no indication that anyone’s information has been misused, VOACC is releasing this notice to inform individuals of this incident and provide some recommendations on ways to protect personal information.
On February 25, 2021, VOACC began mailing letters to individuals whose information was involved in the incident and for whom VOACC has address information. VOACC is also providing this notice to individuals whose information may have been involved but for whom VOACC does not have an address. VOACC also established a dedicated call center for individuals to call with questions about the incident. If you believe your information was involved, please call (855) 761-1067 Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. through 5:30 P.M. Central Time.
Individuals served by VOACC who are nonetheless concerned that their personal information may have been accessed during the incident should visit VOACC’s website, found here: https://voa-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/pdf_file/file/4211/Data_Breach.pdf. VOACC’s website also contains information regarding steps that individuals can take to help protect their personal information.
To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, VOACC is instituting additional security measures.
ADDITIONAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
We remind you it is always advisable to be vigilant for incidents of fraud or identity theft by reviewing your account statements and free credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free credit report, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting companies is as follows:
- Equifax, PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111
- Experian, PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Attorney General’s office in your state. You can obtain information from these sources about steps an individual can take to avoid identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes. You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report. Obtain a copy of the police report in case you are asked to provide copies to creditors to correct your records. Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is as follows:
- Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Fraud Alerts and Credit or Security Freezes:
Fraud Alerts: There are two types of general fraud alerts you can place on your credit report to put your creditors on notice that you may be a victim of fraud—an initial alert and an extended alert. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for one year. You may have an extended alert placed on your credit report if you have already been a victim of identity theft with the appropriate documentary proof. An extended fraud alert stays on your credit report for seven years.
To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit bureaus. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two, and all three will place an alert on their versions of your report.
For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, an Active Duty Military Fraud Alert lasts for one year and can be renewed for the length of your deployment. The credit bureaus will also take you off their marketing lists for pre-screened credit card offers for two years, unless you ask them not to.
Credit or Security Freezes: You have the right to put a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, on your credit file, free of charge, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.
How do I place a freeze on my credit reports? There is no fee to place or lift a security freeze. Unlike a fraud alert, you must separately place a security freeze on your credit file at each credit reporting company. For information and instructions to place a security freeze, contact each of the credit reporting agencies at the addresses below:
- Experian Security Freeze, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com
- TransUnion Security Freeze, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, www.transunion.com
- Equifax Security Freeze, PO Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348, www.equifax.com
You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
How do I lift a freeze? A freeze remains in place until you ask the credit bureau to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. If the request is made online or by phone, a credit bureau must lift a freeze within one hour. If the request is made by mail, then the bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after getting your request.
If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit bureau the business will contact for your file, you can save some time by lifting the freeze only at that particular credit bureau. Otherwise, you need to make the request with all three credit bureaus.
Additional information for residents of the following states:
District of Columbia: You may contact and obtain information from your attorney general at: Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, 441 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001, 1-202-727-3400, www.oag.dc.gov.
Maryland: You may contact and obtain information from your state attorney general at: Maryland Attorney General’s Office, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202, 1-888-743-0023 / 1-410-576-6300, www.oag.state.md.us. Maryland residents may also contact Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas at 7901 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD 20706 or 301-459-2020.
SOURCE Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas