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Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a Scam Alert today to help make Kentuckians aware of the Equifax data breach, and provided tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit-reporting agencies, recently announced a major data breach that could affect about 143 million American customers.

Equifax has indicated that from mid-May through July of this year hackers gained access to customers’ names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers of about 209,000 consumers, and personal information in credit file dispute documents for about 182,000 consumers were also accessed.

Beshear said the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection is investigating the events surrounding the data breach, including the company’s response and the protections being offered to affected Kentuckians.

“Kentuckians who may be involved should take immediate steps to closely monitor their credit, and report any suspicious credit activity to my office,” said Beshear.

The Office of the Attorney General is asking Kentuckians who might be impacted by the breach to follow these steps to help protect against identity theft:

  1. Check to see if your information was compromised. Verify if your personal information was impacted by visiting the Equifax website, equifaxsecurity2017.com.
  2. Sign up for the free credit monitoring service. Equifax is offering a free year of TrustedID Premier credit file monitoring and ID theft protection for all U.S. consumers, whether or not their information was impacted. To sign up for the protection service, visit equifaxsecurity2017.com or call 866-447-7559, which is open every day, including weekends, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time.
  3. Follow the Identity Theft Toolkit. The Office of the Attorney General’s online Identity Theft Toolkit provides systematic instructions on how to respond to possible identity theft. The toolkit includes information on how to place a credit report fraud alert, order credit reports and other helpful resources and contact information.
  4. Report suspicious activity. Contact the Attorney General’s data breach hotline, toll free at 855-813-6508 if you are a victim of a data breach or identity theft.

As part of Beshear’s effort to protect Kentucky families from scams, fraud and identity theft he launched Scam Alerts – the state’s first direct text and email scam notification system.

Kentuckians have recently received Scam Alerts on Hurricane Harvey scams, IRS scams Targeting Western Kentuckians and a scam targeting Kentuckians’ generosity to veterans.

To stay up to date on new and trending scams Kentuckians should sign up to receive Scam Alerts from the Office of the Attorney General. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

Louisville Metro recently discovered an incident that may affect the security of personal information stored within our environment.  This notice is meant to provide information about the incident, steps taken since discovering the incident, and information on what potentially affected individuals  can do to better protect against the possibility of identity theft and fraud.

A computer used by two Assistant County Attorneys was recently stolen from the Louisville Hall of Justice.  The computer, about the size of a book, was located in a publicly accessible conference room and not secured to the table it was stationed on.  After the theft was reported, Louisville Metro launched an internal investigation and retained third-party forensic experts to determine what information may have been stored on the hard drive at the time of the theft.  Though the computer was later recovered, the hard drive had been removed.  The investigation determined that the emails of the two attorneys may have been saved locally to the hard drive.

Though Louisville Metro has no evidence that the data contained on the hard drive was subject to unauthorized access, on April 19, 2017 Louisville Metro discovered that certain personal information was contained within the email account of one of the attorneys.  While we are unaware of any actual of attempted misuse of this information, in an abundance of caution, we are providing notice of this incident.  The information stored on the computer and potentially subject to unauthorized access included some individuals’ names, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and driver’s license numbers.

Notices have been mailed to the less than 175 individuals affected by this event.

To Learn More
Louisville Metro has established a confidential call center regarding this incident.  The call center is staffed with professionals who can answer questions about this incident and provide information on how to protect against misuse of personal information.  The call center is available Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. E.T. at 1-800-939-4170.

Louisville Metro encourages potentially affected individuals review their account statements and credit reports for suspicious activity.

In addition, under U.S. law affected individuals are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.  To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228.  You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report.

Individuals may also contact the three major credit reporting agencies below to put a “fraud alert” or “credit freeze” on their credit file.

Equifax
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
800-525-6285
www.equifax.com

Experian
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
888-397-3742
www.experian.com 

TransUnion
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
800-680-7289
www.transunion.com

Further, affected individuals can educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, and the steps you can take to protect yourself, by contacting the Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General.  The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, www.identitytheft.gov, 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.  The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them.  Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement.  Kentucky Residents: The Kentucky Attorney General’s office can be contacted at 888-432-9257 or 502-696-5389.

To help guard against the growing threat of tax fraud and identity theft, the Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR) has taken additional steps that enhance the safety and security of processing taxpayers’ individual income tax returns, including an Identity Confirmation Quiz.

Beginning today, some taxpayers will receive letters from the department asking the taxpayer to take a short online Identity Confirmation Quiz before their tax refund is fully processed.  The letter will give specifics as to what the taxpayer must do to take the quiz.

“We have multiple internal procedures in place, along with third party techniques, that assist us in preventing tax fraud,” said Daniel P. Bork, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Revenue. “We encourage taxpayers who receive this quiz letter to quickly respond, which will confirm their identities so we can continue processing their returns.”

The identity confirmation quiz will be available for 30 days from the date of the letter at revenue.ky.gov/quiz.  Once a taxpayer successfully completes the quiz, the department will continue processing their return.  If the taxpayer fails the quiz twice or does not take the quiz, the department will require additional documentation such as the hard copies of W2s or 1099s.

The taxpayer should not ignore this letter.  The sooner the quiz is taken and passed, the quicker the Kentucky Department of Revenue can continue processing the return.

The Identity Confirmation Quiz can be taken online anytime or by telephone at (502) 892-3399, during regular work hours (Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET) with an authorized representative to help with the process.

Receiving the Identity Confirmation Quiz letter does not mean the taxpayer has been a victim of identity theft.  It only means the Department of Revenue wishes to verify the identity of the person filing before issuing the refund.

If the taxpayer receives this letter and has not yet filed a return, he or she should contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue immediately by email at kyidquiz@ky.gov or telephone at (502) 892-3399.

A short video with more detail about the Identity Confirmation Quiz information is available on the department’s website at revenue.ky.gov/quiz.

As tax season begins, Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a scam alert to help Kentucky families avoid falling victim to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax-related identity fraud.

The start date for electronic filing of tax year 2016 federal and Kentucky returns began Jan. 23, 2017, and, as a result, reports of tax identity fraud are increasing.

Beshear’s office has received nearly 100 IRS scam reports over the past seven months, and the most recently reported scams were in Boyd, Greenup and Hardin counties.

“The IRS will never call, text or email asking for your personal or financial information,” Beshear said. “If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an IRS agent and requests your Social Security number hang-up and report it to the actual IRS.”

Tax identity fraud occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return in your name, before you file in order to steal your refund.

Beshear and his Office of Senior Protection and Mediation recommends these tips from fraud.org to help Kentucky families avoid falling victim to tax-related identity theft.

  1. File early. Beginning Jan. 23, 2017, the IRS and the state will begin accepting electronic filing of tax returns. By filing early in the tax season, you can reduce your risk of identity theft by submitting your return before scammers. Waiting only gives con artists more time to steal your refund.
  2. Consider e-file. To help file quickly, consumers may qualify for the state and IRS’s Free File programs, which allows the use of free, name-brand tax filing software. For more information on the IRS Free File program, click here and for information on the state program, click here.
  3. Monitor your refund. Review the status of your refund by visiting the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? website ‎or take advantage of the IRS2Go smartphone app. Remember, by law, the IRS must hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. The first day the Kentucky Department of Revenue will issue refunds is also Feb. 15; click here to visit the state refund site.

Victims of tax fraud may receive a mailed letter from the IRS or the victim may discover the fraud when they attempt to file their return.

Victims need to act quickly and follow these recommended steps:

  • Contact the IRS. To contact the IRS directly call, 800.908.4490. Contact the Kentucky Department of Revenue at 502.564.4581.
  • Follow the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Kit. Learn how to obtain an incident report of identity theft from your local law enforcement agency, place an immediate and free fraud alert on your credit file, order and review your credit reports, and create a comprehensive recovery action plan.

For additional information, visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website at ag.ky.gov; the IRS site, www.irs.gov/identitytheft; and Kentucky Department of Revenue at http://revenue.ky.gov/.

One of the critical missions of the Office of the Attorney General is to help Kentucky families and seniors recognize and avoid scams.

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