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Monthslong hack meant fraudsters could apply for unemployment benefits in victims’ names
Geico has admitted to a data breach that gave fraudsters the data they needed to file for unemployment benefits using a victim’s name.
In a notification to customers on April 9, the firm said "fraudsters used information about you — which they acquired elsewhere — to obtain unauthorized access to your driver's license number through the online sales system on [Geico's] website."
The notice was filed with the California attorney general’s office. It added that the data obtained by fraudsters was limited to customers’ driver’s license number.
The breach happened between January 12 and March 1. The insurance company said its website had been secured and “worked to identify the root cause of the incident.” It didn’t divulge how many customers the breach might have affected, but California law states that “any person or business that is required to issue a security breach notification to more than 500 California residents as a result of a single breach” must file a copy of the notice with the state attorney general’s office.
“While we regularly maintain high security and privacy standards, we have also implemented—and continue to implement—additional security enhancements to help prevent future fraud and illegal activities on our website,” the firm said in a statement.
America’s second-largest auto insurance provider cautioned that fraudsters could use the driver’s license numbers to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits.
“If you receive any mailings from your state’s unemployment agency/department, please review them carefully and contact that agency/department if there is any chance fraud is being committed,” the firm warned.
Geico admitted it didn’t know if any driver’s license number has been fraudulently used and added that it would offer affected customers a one-year subscription to IdentityForce to help protect against identity theft.
In addition to using the identity theft service, the firm urged customers to be vigilant for incidents of fraud or identity theft by reviewing account statements and credit reports for any unauthorized activity. If someone has received correspondence from a state government and hasn't filed for benefits, their data has likely been used illegally.
Last month, Chicago-based CNA Financial — another insurance firm — was hit by a cyber attack that left its website out of action and many network systems disrupted.
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