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Security & privacy

Geico data breach exposes driver’s license numbers – Watch for this scam

Insurance for your vehicle is important on today’s busy roads. When you are in an accident, having protection can mean the difference between paying a small deductible or having to fork out thousands of dollars for repairs and medical bills.

Accidents are enough of a worry, but if you are a customer of Geico, there is more to be concerned about. An undisclosed number of customers’ driver’s license numbers recently made it into the hands of cybercriminals. Data from another social media site leaked – Watch out for scams.

This could have huge implications for your personal life. It is possible that hackers can register stolen vehicles with your data, and you’ll never even know it.

Here’s the backstory

Geico sent out a notice to all affected customers, informing them of a security breach. The notice reads:

“We recently determined that between January 21, 2021, and March 1, 2021, fraudsters used information about you – which they acquired elsewhere – to obtain unauthorized access to your driver’s license number through the online sales system on our website.

‘We have reason to believe that this information could be used to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits in your name. If you receive any mailings from your state’s unemployment agency/department, please review them carefully and contact that agency/department if there is any chance fraud is being committed.”

As you can see, Geico is warning those affected that their stolen information could be used to apply for unemployment benefits in your name fraudulently. This has been a common scam since the pandemic began. Tap or click here for details on these scams and how to protect against them.

The breach has been severe enough for Geico to inform California’s attorney general’s office. The exact number of customers affected hasn’t been revealed, but companies must file breach notices if more than 500 people are involved.

How did it happen?

Geico is tight-lipped on how the breach occurred and didn’t explain where hackers got the information from. It does seem likely, though, that the cybercriminals didn’t hack into Geico’s system but rather used legitimate information to gain access to customer details.

That would explain why Geico never refers to the incident as a “hack” or a “breach,” only calling it an act of “unauthorized access.” In the notice, the company added that it makes use of high security and privacy standards and deployed additional security enhancements to “help prevent future fraud and illegal activities on our website.”

What can you do about it?

Your driver’s license number can be used for several government interactions. To make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands or is used without your knowledge, there are things you can do.

If you have been affected by the Geico data leak, the company offers a free, one-year subscription to IdentityForce. The service helps protect your personal details and identity from being used unlawfully or without your consent.

Here are some more steps you can take to safeguard your information:

  • Time to freeze your credit – You can request a credit freeze with each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This will prevent any criminal from opening an account in your name. Tap or click here to see how to freeze your credit for free – and why you should.
  • Check your financial accounts – Go through your credit card and bank account transactions dating back to the time of the data leak. Contact your bank immediately if you notice any suspicious or unauthorized transactions.
  • Enable 2FA – If your financial institutions offer two-factor authentication (2FA), set it up as soon as you can. This will prevent anybody from logging into your account from a different location. Tap or click here to find out how to set up 2FA.

Keep reading

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20 security secrets hackers don’t want you to know

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