Almost 600,000 at risk of identity theft after US Department of Housing and Urban Development data breach

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) A Fargo woman received a letter from public housing saying she was at risk of identity theft.

It was a result of a US Department of Housing and Urban Development data breach and now she's worried for her safety.

"The government's supposed to protect you and your information. You have to sign all these forms to release your information to them and all this privacy statement and then something like this happens," says the mother of four.

Many of the homes in a North Fargo neighborhood off 29th Street North are public housing and Heather Thompson's family lives in one of them.

She became worried of her situation when she received a letter in the mail from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"They may have accidentally provided my personal identifying information to the public. How you do that accidentally? I'm not quite sure," says Thompson.

The letter says HUD wants to protect those at risk of identity theft nationwide by providing them with a free year of TransUnion, but the security breach dates back to August and September of this year.

"We're just supposed to watch our credit report and wait for something to pop up. If it'll pop-up, we don't know because they say they don't even know who accessed it."

The Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority says almost 600,000 names and social security numbers were posted to an unsecured website viewable to the public and it was not their doing but the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We didn't want our tenants to think we had been a part of releasing their private information. We take their information and security very seriously," says Lynn Fundingsland.

Fundingsland hadn't heard about the mailing going out to Fargo tenants until Friday when they started calling it in thinking it was a scam, but after reaching out to the DC headquarters, he was astound to find that their information would not be protected.

"It would be different if the material was hacked but it wasn't hacked. It was put out there," says the Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority Executive Director.

"You can't trust anybody...nobody," adds Thompson.

The Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority also says that they will assist all their tenants in getting to the bottom of this.

They're also asking that if you have any concerns about your security to give them a call.