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Security breach shuts down states website

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office detected an unauthorized intrusion into its website on Feb. 4. As a security precaution, we took down certain online applications. by: SUBMITTED - Kate Brown

The investigation so far indicates that sensitive personal information was not compromised. We maintain mostly public information. It does not store complete credit-card numbers, and private companies handle credit card transactions.

As a security precaution, however, we deleted all user passwords for certain Web applications. Once the applications have been restored, users of the Central Business Registry (CBR) and ORESTAR will need to reset their passwords. We also recommend that anyone who uses their ORESTAR or CBR password for other personal accounts should change the passwords for those personal accounts as well.

We take this matter very seriously. Your safety and security as a member of this community is our highest priority.

Fraud experts indicate that a person’s email address, physical address or phone number is insufficient to obtain credit in the name of another individual or assume another individual’s identity; therefore, we do not believe you are at risk of identity theft or fraud as a result of this event. We are, nevertheless, providing this notice to ensure that you are aware of this incident and so that, if you feel it is necessary to do so, you may take steps to monitor your credit and identity.

Password update: Once the website applications have been restored, please log in to your ORESTAR or Central Business Registry account and change your password. If you share similar passwords with other accounts, we recommend that you reset those passwords out of an abundance of caution.

Avoid phishing scams: Most legitimate organizations will never ask you to verify your username or password via email. If you are at all suspicious of an email from a business you have a relationship with, open a new Web browser, type in the URL for their organization and call them using the number provided on their website. Do not click through the suspicious email, as it may be a scam.

Review credit reports: We encourage you to review account statements and to monitor your credit reports. Under U.S. law, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Fraud alert: At no charge, you can have the credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to granting credit. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on your file. Note: A fraud alert may also delay your ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies your identity.

Security freeze: By placing a security freeze, someone who fraudulently acquires your personal identifying information will not be able to use that information to open new accounts or borrow money in your name. You will need to contact the three national credit reporting bureaus listed above in writing to place the freeze. Keep in mind that when you place the freeze, you will not be able to borrow money, obtain instant credit or get a new credit card until you temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze. The cost of placing the freeze varies by the state you live in and for each credit reporting agency. However, if you are a victim of identity theft and have filed a report with your local law enforcement agency or submitted an ID Theft Complaint Form with the Federal Trade Commission, there may be no charge to place the freeze.

You can obtain additional information about the steps you can take to avoid identity theft from the Identity Theft Clearinghouse Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave.; Washington DC 20580; consumer.gov/idtheft; 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TDD: 1-202-326-2502.

Again, please be assured that your safety and security are very important to us. We regret any inconvenience or concern that this matter may have caused you.

Kate Brown is Oregon Secretary of State.



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