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Community News

Residents affected by ‘hacking’ attack can get free credit freeze

6/6/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

AKRON — On May 29, FBI agents met with Mayor Don Plusquellic, Akron Police Chief James Nice, former Akron Police Sgt. and current Chief Information Officer Rick Schmahl and other city officials to discuss the FBI’s coordinated national effort to identify the individuals in the Turkish organization who hacked into the city’s website and about 20 other government and corporate websites recently, according to city officials.

“We had a very productive meeting with the FBI, and I am grateful for their continued aggressive investigation into the hacking of our website,” Plusquellic stated in a press release. “The FBI assured us that they have agents working nationwide to identify the person(s) responsible for this crime on our citizens and citizens throughout the country over multiple hacked sites.”

The FBI informed Akron the extent of recent cyber-attacks was more expansive than originally thought. The Akron-Canton Airport, Sony, Twitter, the Department of Defense and defense contractors and Pepsi, along with Lansing, Mich., and Mobile, Ala., were among recent sites hacked.

Since the cyber-attack, the city has been working with all three credit agencies to get free credit freezes for Akron consumers whose information was compromised by the hacking.

“I am happy to report that all three agencies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, will all be providing free credit freezes to Akron consumers that were affected by the cyber-attack on the city of Akron’s website,” said Plusquellic. “Additionally, those who already paid for the credit freezes will be eligible for refunds.”

To get a free security freeze from Equifax, affected consumers can send the city of Akron police report or the letter they received from the city identifying them as a victim to: Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348 or by fax to 888-826-0573.

For those residents who have already placed a security freeze (for a fee) on their credit file as a precaution, Equifax will honor all refund requests. Refund requests should include the payment method information and amount paid, along with either a copy of the police report or the city’s letter identifying them as a victim. Requests should be sent to: Equifax Refund, P.O. Box 105395, Atlanta, GA 30348.

To access the police report, visit www.akronohio.gov.

Residents wishing to get a free credit freeze or to get a refund from the credit agency Experian can call 800-232-8081. Experian will be able to assist residents with adding a freeze, or if they have already paid for a freeze, Experian will assist them with the refund.

Residents also may receive a free copy of their credit reports upon request. To write with a request for a free credit freeze, residents can send it to: Experian, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.

Residents must include in their written correspondence:

√ complete identification details (including Social Security number and date of birth);

√ complete addresses for the past two years; and

√ reference to the Akron breach and a request to add a freeze or receive a refund.

Those writing to ask for refunds need to supply the above three pieces of information and also provide: the credit card number used to purchase the freeze or, if they paid with a check, the front and back copy of the check.

To get a free security freeze from TransUnion, Akron consumers should call 888-909-8872 or apply online at www.transunion.com/securityfreeze. Akron residents who paid a fee to place a security freeze on their TransUnion credit file can receive a refund of that fee by calling 800-916-8800 and selecting “Option 3” to speak with an agent. To receive a prompt refund, callers will need to provide the same credit card information used when they placed the freeze.


Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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