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Texas Government Breach Affects 3.5 Million Consumers

Apparently, there is a serious dust-up in Texas. On Monday of this week, the Texas Comptroller's office began notifying consumers affected by the state government's data breach:

"The records of about three and a half million people were erroneously placed on an agency server that was accessible to the public. This incident only affects individuals whose information was included in data transferred by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS)."

The breach was discovered March 31, 2011. Some records were exposed as far back as January 2010. That is plenty of time for identity criminals to do damage. InformationWeek reported more details, including the distribution of breached records by state agency and by date:

"The 3.5 million breached records include 1.2 million records, posted in January 2010, of education employees and retirees from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. In addition, 2 million records from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), which provides unemployment benefits to Texas residents, were posted in April 2010. Finally, 281,000 records from the Employees Retirement System of Texas, involving state employees and retirees, were posted in May 2010."

The data exposed during the breach included names, addresses Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver license numbers. The sensitive personal data exposed is exactly what criminals use to open fraudulent bank accounts and obtain fraudulent loans. So, breach victims need to take steps to protect themselves.

Affected consumers should visit the website set up by the Texas government. According to some news reports, consumers have swamped the toll-free hotline about the breach. Reportedly, the hotline received 33,500 calls during its first two days of operation.

The Dallas Morning News reported that several employees in the comptroller's office had been fired as a result of the breach. After a breach of this magnitude, most organizations typically offer breach victims one or two years of free credit monitoring services. So far, the Texas Comptroller's office has not made any statements about offering breach victims such services.


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The State is offering us 70% off of a 1-year subscription to Experian's credit monitoring service. This is truly inadequate considering the ongoing danger to which they have exposed us. I came to your site because I was searching for reviews of Experian's credit monitoring service.


Thanks for the update. In my opinion, one year seems far too short as the threat exists far longer.

Often after a breach, the organization negotiates a custom monitoring service. Have they offered you Experian's standard credit monitoring service, or something customized? And, does that offer include fraud resolution services? You'll need that if criminals use your stolen information.

And, does the offer include the costs of any Security Freezes on your credit reports? The answers to these questions would affect my decision whether or not to accept their offer.

Let us know what you decide.


R Gonzalez

It seems the regular Experian cost is $4.95 a month and using the special discount costs about $3.89 a month which does does not seem to add up to a 70% savings as advertised. Already feeling more upset by the breach.


The State finally owned up and provided a free one. Starting 4/29 for the next 90 days you can sign up for free.



Thanks to Peter for the update. From the American-Statesman:

"Beginning Friday, a year of credit monitoring and Internet surveillance will be offered at no charge to those affected by the unauthorized posting of their personal information. Also, identity restoration services will be provided for people whose personal information “is misused as a result of the data posting,” according to a release from the comptroller’s office. The services will be paid for by Combs’ campaign fund."


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