Posted: 3:21 am EDT
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On May 7, we blogged about the indictment of a domestic passport agency contractor and two others alleged to have used stolen U.S. passport information in Texas (see U.S. Passport Agency Contractor, Two Others Indicted for Alleged Use of Stolen Passport Information; also Bringing Cellphones to Work Ends For Federal Employees in 22 Domestic Passport Offices).
We are presuming that the notice below to U.S. passport applicants regarding compromised personal information is related to the case in Houston since it refers passport applicants to DOJ for further details. We do not think this is related to the current technical problems with visa/passport issuances.
Letter Regarding Compromised Personal Information | JUNE 5, 2015
The U.S. Department of State mailed letters on June 9 to a limited number of U.S. passport customers whose personal information may have been compromised. The letter provides specific details regarding the breach of personal information, how to contact us for further assistance, and guidance on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
The Department has taken immediate action to help protect you. The letter mentions an offer from the Department to sign-up for one year of free credit monitoring services. This service monitors your credit records at all 3 credit reporting agencies and notifies you when there are certain changes to your credit bureau file(s). In addition, the identity theft insurance policy will reimburse you for certain out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages in the event you are a victim of identity theft. We have also flagged your U.S. passport record in our databases to prevent others from using your identity to renew or replace your passport. Your U.S. passport is still valid for international travel.
We apologize for any inconvenience and concern this incident may cause you. We are thoroughly examining our information security systems and procedures to safeguard against unauthorized access of passport records.
Customers requesting more details on this case should contact the U.S. Department of Justice at the number or website address provided in their notification letter.
The case USA v. McClendon et al, criminal case #: 4:15-cr-00233-1 is set for jury selection and trial on October 13, 2015 in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas (Houston).