USDA has begun offering free credit monitoring to individuals whose private identification information may have been exposed on a U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site.
The service will be available for one year to persons whose names and information were listed on the Web site. USDA officials have declined to provide additional details about the site to avoid revealing information that could increase the vulnerability of the private data.
The department said it will make additional details public once the USDA funding recipients who are potentially impacted have had an opportunity to register for free credit monitoring. USDA is notifying 150,000 persons whose information may have been exposed by registered mail.
The exact number of individuals whose private data may have been viewed is not clear. In an April 20 press release, USDA said the Web site contained private information relating to 47,000 individuals. A later press release said USDA had narrowed the list to 38,700 persons.
USDA said the information was removed from the Web site immediately after USDA learned of the potential exposure. “There is no evidence that this information has been misused,” they said. “However, due to the potential that this information was downloaded prior to being removed, USDA will provide the additional monitoring service.
USDA funding recipients who wish to take advantage of the credit-monitoring offer will be provided with instructions on how to register. Any USDA funding recipient with questions may call (800) 333-4636 or visit http://www.usa.gov/usdaexposure.shtml. The call center operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EDT), Monday-Friday.