AKRON, Ohio - A security breach at Nationwide Insurance has put one million identities at risk. The company said criminals attacked their network in October, but victims are just finding out if their personal information was compromised.
Nationwide said it hired independent experts to analyze the impact of the data breach.
In Ohio, 29,050 people are impacted. To date, there is no evidence any stolen information has been misused. Consumers should still take steps to protect their identity.
Jerry Doane couldn't believe the letter that arrived in his mailbox from Nationwide Insurance.
"It scared the crap out of me," he said.
The letter said Doane's social security number and possibly his driver's license number and date of birth were stolen. 5 On Your Side Investigators found 29,000 letters were sent out in Ohio to policyholders and those who don't even do business with Nationwide.
"I had them give me an estimate on my new car insurance," Doane said.
Shopping around for insurance is a great money-saving tool, but it also put Doane at risk for identity theft.
"Do you think companies are doing enough to protect your personal information?" we asked Doane. "No, not at all."
Breach not publicly announced in Ohio
Nationwide Insurance hasn't announced the breach publicly, opting instead to send letters to victims. The last of the notifications should be arriving in mailboxes any day.
In South Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia and California, the Insurance Commissioner announced the breach. But, Ohio's Commissioner hasn't issued a warning.
The state told the 5 On Your Side investigators it's working with Nationwide and monitoring the situation. Victims should sign up for credit freezes or the free credit monitoring and identity theft protection offered by Nationwide.
"I don't think a year is long enough. Because in a year and a half it can happen because they could go through the list and just start popping names out like that and I could be one of them," Doane said.
All consumers should check their credit report
Even if your identity is not compromised, every consumer should also check their credit report once a year. It's a free report through Annual Credit Report.
While you can get your credit report for free once a year, there are ways to keep tabs on it year round for free. There are three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Instead of checking all three at once through Annual Credit Report, check one report every four months. For example, check TransUnion in January, Equifax in May and Experian in September. It doesn't matter the order in which you check the reports from the three agencies.
If you don't have access to a computer, call 1-877-322-8228 to request a copy.
Full statement from Nationwide
Nationwide is working with law enforcement to investigate a criminal attack on a portion of its computer network that contained some personally identifiable information of current, former and prospective Nationwide and Allied Insurance customers. Nationwide is not aware of any misuse of personal information at this time.
The attack occurred on Oct. 3, 2012 and Nationwide immediately took steps to secure the network. The company hired independent, third-party experts to analyze the impacted data and computer network. This team worked as quickly as possible to identify those impacted and what personal information may be at risk.
Nationwide has informed state regulators about the intrusion and is notifying affected individuals by direct mail. Each will be offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for one year through Equifax.
Nationwide has also established a toll-free number for this incident: 1-800-760-1125.