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Keep your identity safe

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August 28, 2002

Albany- Hundreds of Albany Marine Base employees are trying to figure out how to make sure a computer hacker doesn't ruin their credit or steal their identity. We told you yesterday, someone hacked into a military computer system that contains personal information of about 1,200 civilian employees at the MCLB maintenance center.

Many of these employees say they're not worried about the computer security breach that put their social security numbers in the hands of a computer hacker. Some don't plan to cancel credit cards or notify their banks... unless something goes wrong.

Credit Counselor Irma Whitten says that's a bad idea. "This hacker could establish credit in an employee's name. They could charge thousands of dollars before the credit card company notices something is wrong. By then, you've got a massive problem," said Whitten.

The Department of Defense won't say much about the breach of the computer system in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. MCLB is giving tips on how to stop credit fraud and protect their identities to 800 current and 400 retired workers .

Identity theft is on the rise in South Georgia. And, it doesn't take a breach of national security for someone to steal your personal information. "We see this all the time. Someone loses his wallet with his social security card in it, and it makes its way into the wrong hands. These people can open fraudulent bank accounts," said Whitten.

To make sure you're not a victim of credit card or identity fraud, you shouldn't have checks mailed to your home. Take your social security number off your checks, driver's license, and other unsecured documents.

For the employees at MCLB, it's a waiting game to see just what, if anything, this hacker will do with the information that was stolen.

Of course, terrorism is another major concern of this security breach. Department of Defense officials would not comment on whether they think the hacker could be a potential terrorist.

Posted at 4:43 by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

 

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