How to Spot the Real OPM Data Breach Letter

  
     
Be wary of notification emails coming from OPM.
December 15, 2015

The U.S. government's Office of Personal Management (OPM) has been notifying those affected by a recent cyber security breach that their personal data was compromised. Unfortunately, scammers are also “notifying” consumers. Here's how to identify a real OPM notification letter and the signs of a scam.

How to Spot a Real OPM Letter

You don't have to be a U.S. federal employee to receive a notification from OPM. The breach was wide reaching, and there are many ways your personal information may have been included. Common ones include:

  • Past and present federal employees
  • Spouses and other co-habitants listed on federal background investigation applications
  • Applicants for a federal job
  • Those who worked or volunteered with a federal agency but  are not federal employees 

Real Letters Contain:

  • A 25 digit PIN to register for credit and identity monitoring services. Make sure your PIN is real by entering it at opm.gov/cybersecurity
  • Instructions to visit the website opm.gov/cybersecurity to get more information and sign up for monitoring.

Signs of a Scam

Scammers love to take advantage of large government initiatives. Scams surrounding the roll out of the Affordable Care Act are a recent example. Be on the lookout for scammers attempting to cash in on this effort.

  • OPM will not contact you for personal information. OPM, nor anyone acting on OPM's behalf, will contact you to confirm personal information. If you are contacted by anyone claiming to represent OPM DO NOT share your information. 
  • Email is not used in this round of notifications. OPM did email to notify those affected by the breach this past summer. This time, they are sending letters by U.S. Postal Service. An email claiming otherwise is a scam. 
  • Lost your PIN or didn't receive a letter? If you have not yet received a letter but think you have been impacted, you can contact the verification center at opm.gov/cybersecurity or by phone. 

For More Information: 

Learn more about the data breach and the U.S. government efforts to notify those affected on OPM's website

Check out BBB’s Top 10 Scams of 2015: bbb.org/top10scams

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam).

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).