What to do with the TX DMV Vertafore data breach? or any data breach.
In our current world data breaches can be big. Whether Sony, Home Depot, or anyone gets hacked. When big data is leaked it can have far reaching implications. The latest data breach involves us Texans specifically.
On or about November 13th, 2020 news arose of a software company named Vertafore having disclosed that it had about 28 million Texas driver's license records exposed earlier in the year. Vertafore has set up a website to address the breach that exposed millions of Texans driver's license records. The breach included data such as driver's license numbers, addresses, dates of birth, vehicle registration histories, and potentially more. Vertafore claims that this does not include Social Security Numbers or financial information. However, if in the event you find yourself a victim of identity theft we will cover what steps you can do to manage the situation.
If you wish to read various news articles regarding the breach I will post them at the end of the blog.
What do you do when you have become a victim of identity theft related to this breach or any breach?
Notify your local police or county sheriff's office- If you find out or believe that someone has acquired or fraudulently been using your identity without your consent it is important that you file a report with your local police agency. This begins a documented paper trail by creating a police report. Provide them with any information such as names, phone numbers, witnesses, and so on. Documenting what has happened and collecting evidence to help their case such as credit card charges on statements, bank images of bad checks or any other document to provide the police with will help build their case. In documentation it is important to write down relevant information sooner rather than later such as who, why, what, where, when, and how. We all know as time goes by details are forgotten. So, write down what you can. Take a moment to make copies of any documents, pictures, video, or any other evidence that can help.
Additionally, they will need you to have filed a police report for their detective to get surveillance footage from retailers where a stolen credit card number or fraudulent transaction took place. Most retailers will not talk to you the victim directly regarding the transactions, nor will they release surveillance footage to you directly.
Contact your DPS Driver's License Office- After you file a report with your local police agency you can call your DPS Driver's License Office and get assistance. They will obviously want to confirm it is in fact you they are talking to and not the fraudster, but they will be able to help. According to the DPS website regarding identity theft you will have to fill out a Forgery Affidavit which will need to be notarized.
Find a Notary, here is a link to the Texas Secretary of State website at which you can search for a notary by ID, Name, Zip Code, or County here in Texas.
Make a claim with your identity theft insurance- If you have LifeLock, Aura Identity Guard, Identity Defense, or any insurance policy covering you in the event you have your identity stolen you will want to contact them and file a claim. Most of these providers will have a 24/7 claim service available. Some may charge an insurance premium for their services up front or have monthly membership payment.
Notify your banks, creditors, and merchants - Call your banks or go online and notify them that your identity may have been compromised. Usually, they will reissue any cards you may have and change your password to your banking platforms. I know it can be a pain to have all your cards reissued and it does cause an inconvenience. However, it will most likely be a small headache compared to the headache of fixing an issue that has had time to develop and fester. Call and notify any merchants you may have a line of credit through. Additionally, notify any institution in which a fraudulent account has been opened and have them canceled or closed while also notifying your local policing agency of the fraudulent account.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports- Call one credit bureau and ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit report. The one that you contact will contact the other two bureaus and share that fraud alert. Ensure that they have your current contact information in case they need to contact you. Usually, they will also explain to you that you have a free credit report every year. The fraud alert will stay on your credit report for one year from the date it was placed on your profile. Here is the contact information for the three credit bureaus.
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission- You can report the use of your personal information to the FTC at (877) 438-4338. You can also visit their the FTC webpage as well. They have a good number of free resources and other information to help assist you with your stolen identity needs. They specifically have a webpage to help you report and recover from identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov.
Consult an Attorney- If you have been a victim of identity theft or even suspect that you have been victimized. It may be worth your time to have a discussion with an attorney about what legal remedies are available to your situation. They may be able to assist you with representation in reporting the issues, monitoring your credit, and holding the responsible party liable for your losses. You will most likely have to pay for their legal services however, an attorney may be able to help you navigate the identity theft issue.
Hiring a Private Investigator- In some instances it will help to hire a Private Investigator. In the State of Texas, they must be licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety Private Security Bureau. Be aware as there are people who operate as Private Investigators that are unlicensed and most likely hurt you more than help you. A Private Investigator may be necessary in an area that is small and does not have a detective that can dedicate the time to investigating your case. A Private Investigator can also assist in finding out what happened, how it happened, and who did it. Please be aware that in most instances an arrest never materializes from these types of cases. However, a Private Investigator might be able to help identify how it happened so that protections can be taken to minimize the risk of having it happen again.
Other resources to help with Identity Theft-
Texas Department of Public Safety- This webpage has some of the same information I have shared and some additional information for the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Passport Agency, and the Stolen Identity File.
Federal Trade Commission- The link here is for their steps you need to take action with regards to identity theft.
Texas Attorney General- This link is with the Texas Attorney General's website. It has information and what to do in case your identity has been stolen.
Internal Revenue Service- The Internal Revenue Service has a page called the Identity Theft Central which has information on Tax related identity theft and resources available to Taxpayers.
Vertafore- If you believe your data has been impacted by Vertafore's breach you can use this link to get free monitoring service(s) as a part of their commitment to fixing this issue. Please note you will have to set up an account with them. Additionally, you can call their call center at (888) 479-3560 between 8am and 5:30pm Central Time Monday through Friday.
LifeLock- LifeLock is company that specializes in identity theft. They charge a monthly membership to their service. Their service has increasing benefits based on their membership level. The basic seems to start at $11.99 a month with an introductory first year at $8.33 a month currently.
Credit Wise® from Capital One- Free credit monitoring this is a personal favorite because you can use it even if you do not have an account with Capital One. This also offers a dark web scanning and social security number tracking. You can also use their tool to see what various things will affect your credit score such as taking out a loan or paying down debt.
Experian™ Free Credit Monitoring- Free credit monitoring this one is one of my favorites because it is free and does not require any commitment or monthly service fees. You get alerts about new inquiries and other changes to your credit. You also get an updated Experian report and FICO score every 30 days once you set up a user profile. This service does not have the dark web reporting that Capital One's Credit Wise® does, but you can use the Experian Boost™ which can potentially help increase your score.
Identity Force® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit- This is a paid service. However, it does offer identity theft insurance and credit monitoring, reporting, and more depending on what level of subscription you purchase.
PrivacyGuard™- This is another paid service. They offer credit monitoring, credit reports, and have 2 plans available. The more expensive one also comes with identity theft insurance. They have an additional group of benefits in their service that is too long to list here.
Experian™ Identity Works℠- This is the paid service side of Experian™. The plans can offer whole family including 2 parents and up to 10 children. They have a 30-day free trial and then it reverts to a monthly subscripted service.
State Farm® Identity Restoration Insurance- Paid insurance policy coverages it's pretty self-explanatory. They only offer insurance though.
Allstate Identity Protection- Allstate the insurance company offers policy coverages for Identity Protection as well.
Liberty Mutual Insurance- Liberty Mutual offers identity theft insurance policies as well.
Nationwide®- Nationwide® offers ID theft protection policies as well.
GEICO®- They offer an Identity Protection Policy offer as well.
Articles about Credit Monitoring
Nerd Wallet- Credit Monitoring Services: Are they worth the cost?
Investopedia- The 5 Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2020
The Balance- The 7 Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2020
Forbes- Credit Monitoring: Is it worth paying for?
Articles/News about the Vertafore breach
The Hill: Software vendor says data breach exposed nearly 28 million Texas driver's license records.
Click2houston: Texas driver's license information possibly exposed during data breach, company says
Statesman: Data breach affected 27.7 million Texas drivers, Colorado based company says
While there are many types and forms of fraud identity theft is one of the more common and frustrating things to have happen to you. Fortunately, it is common enough that there are plenty of resources available to assist the victim in their plight. Identity theft can be a wakeup call to identify what has happened and how to prevent it in the future. In a future blog article, I will discuss what things can be done to mitigate the likelihood of identity theft. So please subscribe so you can be kept updates also follow me on Facebook and if you need help please feel free to reach out to me.
Disclaimer: Stephen Marsh nor NIGMA Solutions, LLC does not endorse any specific company for credit monitoring or insurance. They also do not suggest you subscribe to any service without due diligence and your own personal research. Please proceed at your own risk when purchasing a product or service.
About the Author: Stephen Marsh is a Certified Fraud Examiner through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He also owns and operates NIGMA Solutions, LLC a Texas based licensed Private Investigations Company License No. A09427801. He is also a member of the Houston Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators.
© Stephen Marsh and NIGMA Solutions, LLC blog In Fraud Daylight, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen Marsh and NIGMA Solutions, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.