90,000 Iowans affected, more than 1 million nationally
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller cautioned current, recent and potential Nationwide Insurance and Allied Insurance customers that computer hackers accessed the personal information of more than 91,000 Iowans, which could include Social Security numbers, according to a company disclosure to the Iowa Insurance Division.
The data breach affects approximately 1.1 million people nationally, the Ohio-based company reported to the North Carolina Attorney General.
“This hacking case affects a large number of people, including Nationwide customers and non-customers alike,” Miller said.
In a statement posted on the company’s website, Nationwide divulged that the October 3 data intrusion, which the company reported to the FBI, compromised personal information of both policy holders and non-policy holders, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, dates of birth, and other identifying information. The non-policy holders may have directly or through third parties sought insurance quotes from Nationwide.
“Many Iowans are probably confused about how they could have gotten caught up in this massive data breach,” Miller said. “That’s because sometime over the last year or so someone may have sought a competitive insurance quote through a company or third party agent, and that agent may have obtained quotes from several companies, including Nationwide, on their behalf. In fact, they may not have even realized the agent checked with Nationwide,” Miller added. “To get that quote, the agent provided the consumer’s personal information to Nationwide, and that’s what we now know has been stolen.”
On November 2, Nationwide verified internally the identities of those whose personal information may have been compromised. On November 16, the company began sending out notices to affected people. Although Nationwide indicates that it is not aware of evidence of personal information being misused, the company is providing free credit report monitoring and identity theft protection services to affected people for one year.
Those who may have been affected and have questions can call a toll-free company hotline at 1-800-760-1125.
Identity Theft Warning Signs
- Unauthorized charges on your credit card
- Receiving credit cards that you did not seek
- Missing credit card bills
- Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise you did not buy or services you did not authorize
- Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason
- Unauthorized credit cards or charges on your credit report
Tips to Protecting Yourself Following a Security Breach
- Contact your creditors, including credit card companies, banks, and other lenders, to determine whether there is any suspicious or unauthorized activity that has occurred on your accounts.
- Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Order it and review it for problems.
- Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert does not block potential new credit, but places a comment on your history. Creditors should contact you prior to opening a new account. You only need to contact one of the three companies because that company is required to contact the other two. Once you place a fraud alert on your file, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. The credit reporting agencies will send you a letter telling you how to order your free report. When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully and look for any suspicious activity.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit reports. A credit freeze means that your credit file cannot be shared with potential creditors or insurance companies. You, too, will not be able to open new credit while a freeze is in place. Individuals can request that a freeze be temporarily lifted for the purpose of obtaining new credit. (See our website for more information.)
- Remain alert. It’s especially important in the first year following a security breach notification.
All consumers can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies, regardless of whether they have been identity theft victims. Call 1-877-322-8228 or request one online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can request a report from one of the reporting companies every four months and carefully review this report for suspicious activity.
Credit Reporting Agencies:
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Consumer Protection Division
To file a complaint or get more information, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, IA 50319. Call 515-281-5926, or outside Des Moines call toll-free at 1-888-777-4590. Our website is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.