USDA Offers Free Credit Monitoring To FSA And RD Funding Recipiens
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer free credit monitoring for one year to people whose private identification information was exposed on a Federal Government website that is accessible to the public. The information was removed from the website immediately after USDA learned of the potential exposure. There is no evidence that this information has been misused. However, due to the potential that this information was downloaded prior to being removed, USDA will provide the additional monitoring service.
USDA became aware of the potential exposure of such information on April 13, when USDA was notified by a recipient of USDA funding that she was able to ascertain identifying information by viewing the website. All of the private identifying information was embedded in a larger number and therefore not immediately identifiable. The same day, all identification numbers associated with USDA funding were removed from the website.
USDA believes that immediately prior to April 13th, the website in question contained private identification information relating to approximately 47,000 individuals who receive USDA funding from the Farm Service Agency and USDA Rural Development. USDA has identified between 105,000 and 150,000 individuals whose private information has been entered into a federal government database at some time during the past 26 years. USDA is in the process of notifying, via registered mail, all 150,000 people whose information was exposed and offering them the opportunity to register for free credit monitoring for one year.
In an effort to avoid revealing information that could increase the vulnerability of this private data, USDA is not providing additional details about the website at this time, knowing the data has likely been downloaded by non-federal entities. USDA will provide additional details once the USDA funding recipients who are potentially impacted have had an opportunity to register for free credit monitoring.
USDA funding recipients who wish to take advantage of the credit monitoring offer will be provided with instructions for how to register. Any USDA funding recipient with questions may call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) or visit USA.gov. The call center operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EDT), Monday-Friday.
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