Although the best evidence is that the unreturned backup computer tapes have been destroyed, Johns Hopkins employees and patients may wish to take precautions.
Letters are being sent to all affected Johns Hopkins University employees, current and former, and to all affected Johns Hopkins Hospital patients, except for those relatively few for whom addresses are unavailable.
Anyone receiving a letter may visit a Web site established at www.jhu.edu/identityalert. For those without access to the Web, a telephone line has also been established at 1-800-981-7524.
Anyone who remains concerned, after consulting those resources, may request a free credit report or place a fraud alert on his or her credit file. The following information is adapted from the Federal Trade Commission Web site at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/index.html.
Under federal law, you are entitled every 12 months to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies. To obtain a free annual credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. You may wish to stagger your requests so that you receive a free report by one of the three credit bureaus every four months.
You may ask any one of those three credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit file. You may call any of them or visit the Experian Web site at:
Equifax:A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures, including contacting you, before they open any new accounts. For that reason, placing a fraud alert can protect you but may also delay you when you seek to obtain credit. There is more information here on the complications that placing a fraud alert could cause for you.
As soon as one of the three bureaus confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place alerts on their records as well. You will then be able to order all three credits reports, free of charge, for your review.
Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the FTC recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. If you ever find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, you should:
Call your local police department and file a police report. Get a copy of the report; many creditors want the information it contains to absolve you of fraudulent debts.
File a complaint with the FTC at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or 877-ID-THEFT (877-438- 4338). Your complaint will be added to the FTC's Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcement for use in investigations.
For more information please see:
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