Important Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Response to Recent Cybersecurity Incident
What is the State of Maryland doing to protect my personally identifying information?
The increasing volume and enhanced capabilities of malicious actors have highlighted the importance of further securing data. Recognizing this growing threat, Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order in June, which included hiring a Maryland Chief Information Security Officer and establishing the Office of Security Management and the Maryland Cybersecurity Coordinating Council. The three entities will work together to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure while solidifying its ability to manage and minimize the consequences of a cybersecurity incident.
What can I do to protect against identify theft?
- Obtain a free credit report online or by calling 877-322-8228. You are entitled to two free credit reports a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies under both Maryland and federal law.
- Put a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility for an identity thief opening a new credit account in your name. You can place a fraud alert on your credit report by calling any one of the toll free numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system that allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three consumer reporting agencies.
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
- Use two-factor authentication on your online accounts whenever available.
For more information on protecting yourself from identity theft, including information on how to place freezes on your credit accounts, visit the Maryland Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit online.
What Can YOU do if your feel your data has been illegally accessed?
There are several steps you can take.
- If you detect any unauthorized transactions in a financial account, promptly notify your payment card company or financial institution.
- If you detect any incident of identity theft or fraud, promptly report the incident to law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Maryland Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491.
If you believe your identity has been stolen, the FTC recommends that you take these steps:
- Place an initial fraud alert.
- Order your credit reports.
- Create an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit by submitting a report about the theft online or by calling the FTC at1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
- File a police report about the identity theft and get a copy of the police report or the report number. Bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit with you when you file the police report. Your Identity Theft Report is your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit plus your police report. You may be able to use your Identity Theft Report to remove fraudulent information from your credit report, prevent companies from refurnishing fraudulent information to a consumer reporting agency, stop a company from collecting a debt that resulted from identity theft, place an extended seven-year fraud alert with consumer reporting agencies, and obtain information from companies about accounts the identity thief opened or misused.
How to Request Your Free Credit Reports Under Federal Law
Federal law allows consumers to receive a free copy of their credit reports every 12 months by going to Annual Credit Report Request Service website or by calling its toll free automated number at 1-877-322-8228 or by mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. This is the only authorized source under federal law that provides free credit reports from the three major national credit reporting companies (also known as Credit Reporting Agencies); Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Information may vary in each report so it’s essential to look at all three. Maryland residents can also request an additional free credit report under Maryland Law.
How to Request Your Free Credit Reports Under Maryland Law
Under Maryland law: To order your free credit report under Maryland law, you must contact each credit reporting company directly. The simplest and most straightforward method is to order them online at the following links:
- Equifax: Under the section called “Reason for Credit File Request,” click the bubble for “Free State Credit File (not denied),” and fill out the forms as prompted. You can also contact Equifax at 866-349-5191.
- Experian: Follow the instructions for ordering a free copy under Maryland law. You can also contact Experian at 888-397-3742.
- TransUnion: Check the bubble indicating that you are eligible to receive a free or reduced price copy of your Personal Credit Report under state law, and then fill out the forms as prompted. You can also contact TransUnion at 800-916-8800.