No data has been used or sold in Louisiana OMV data breach, according to state officials

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Despite millions of Louisianians’ data being exposed from an Office of Motor Vehicles data breach, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says none of the personal information has been used or sold off.

GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle said in a statement, “We’re continuing to monitor the impact of this incident and aside from the Office of Motor Vehicles, there’s no indication that any additional agencies are affected. There’s also no evidence that the data has been sold, used, shared or released.”

This comes a week after Governor John Bel Edwards announced that the MOVEit File Transfer System, which the Office of Motor Vehicles uses to store and submit data files, had been breached. Officials say “bad actors” exploited a vulnerability in the system and a digital forensic analysis revealed that records of more than six million Louisiana citizens with driver’s licenses, registered vehicles and state IDs were exposed.

GOHSEP officials say several other states are reporting similar incidents involving MOVEit, including, but not limited to Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Oregon.

But some financial experts like Lindsey Navarro, the founder/executive director of El Centro, aren’t stressed.

“Don’t panic. The reality is that our information is that our information is everywhere,” Navarro said. “There is all this information about us everywhere, all the time. We now live very public lives on social media, on the internet.”

Due to the OMV breach, information like social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and driver’s license numbers have been exposed. While GOHSEP says no information has been accessed thus far, officials have launched more information on how to keep information secure and an FAQ page about the breach.

GOHSEP also says Louisiana is considering offering free credit monitoring in the aftermath of the breach, but financial experts like Navarro say it’s also best to keep a close eye on your financial accounts yourself.

“For those of us who aren’t in the habit of looking at our bank statement readily, this is a great time to take a look at them to make sure there isn’t any abuse or use of those accounts without our authorization,” she said.

State officials also say freezing your credit with the three credit bureaus will prevent anyone from opening new accounts or borrowing money without your permission. You can either call or visit their websites below:

Experian 1-888-397-3742

Equifax 1-800-685-1111

TransUnion (888) 909-8872

Navarro says freezing and unfreezing your credit will not affect your credit score but is a safe bet no one with access to personal information will use it against you.

“When someone steals your identity, they can open charge cards and then run big expenses on those cards and usually if you’re not aware, you might not know that your score is moving or you might not realize it until you get a notification from your bank account,” she said.

The state also advises requesting a PIN from the IRS for your federal tax refund and checking your Social Security benefits. Most importantly, report suspicious activity to the authorities.

“You may want to file a police report as well. This will give you an advantage when negotiating the repayment of excessive charges on your credit card that weren’t pre-approved,” Navarro said.

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