Important Notice That May Affect You
Towards Employment recently suffered a data security breach that may affect you.
What should I do?
If you have provided any personal information to Towards Employment prior to May 11 you are urged to immediately call Towards Employment’s hotline at 1-800-372-1979 or 1-216-297-4470 to learn if you may be affected by the security breach.
CALL TOWARDS EMPLOYMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, BUT NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 14, 2012
The hotline will be staffed from June 25, 2012 to July 31, 2012, Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM EST to 4:00 PM EST and Friday 8:00 AM EST to 2:00 PM EST. If you cannot call during these hours, you can leave a message and we will call you back at a number and time that works for you. Beginning August 1, 2012, you can still call us at 216-696-5750. Not all Towards Employment program participants are affected by the security breach. For example, program participants that first provided personal information to Towards Employment after May 11, 2012, are not affected. However, all those with concerns are encouraged to call Towards Employment immediately.
On May 11, 2012, a laptop computer assigned to a Towards Employment employee was stolen from its offices. The laptop contained a database with information about Towards Employment’s current and former program participants. The database included the following personal information: names, addresses, and social security numbers, but did not include financial data or information. The laptop was password protected, but it is possible that someone could still gain access to the personal information on the laptop. Towards Employment reported the theft of the laptop to the Cleveland Police Department and is continuing to follow-up on all available evidence to determine the extent of unauthorized access, if any, to personal information. To date, Towards Employment has no evidence that this laptop was stolen with the intent to access personal information or that the database containing the personal information that was on the stolen laptop has been accessed or misused.
What will happen when I call Towards Employment?
Towards Employment will confirm whether or not you are affected by the security breach. If you are affected, Towards Employment will provide free services to help you protect yourself from identity theft. Towards Employment has entered into an agreement with Experian Consumer Direct under which Experian Consumer Direct will provide you with the following services if you are affected:
- Credit Report – A free copy of your Experian credit report.
- Credit Monitoring – Experian will monitor your Experian credit report daily for a one year period and alert you of new or suspicious activity.
- Insurance – You will receive insurance for a one year period for qualifying losses stemming from this data security breach.
- Identity Theft Resolution – A fraud resolution agent for Experian will help you address issues related to identity theft stemming from this breach. This service does not have an expiration date.
As we mentioned above, you must call Towards Employment by September 14, 2012. If you do not call us by September 14, 2012, you will not be eligible for the services. Any delays in calling can limit your protection against identity theft.
How do I register for the services?
Upon calling Towards Employment, all eligible persons will receive an activation code used to activate the Experian services. Activation must be completed at www.protectmyid.com/alert or by calling Experian at 877-297-7780. The activation process must be completed with Experian by September 30, 2012.
What else can I do?
If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact your local police department, state Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission. Towards Employment encourages all current and former program participants to take the following steps to help protect against fraud and identity theft:
- Immediately notify your banking institution of the potential that your personal information has been compromised, and comply with your banking institution’s loss-prevention security policies and advice.
- Review your bank, credit card and debit card account statements regularly and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank or financial institution.
- Request a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report through one of the three national credit reporting agencies (listed below). This alert can be cancelled at any time. These alerts are renewable every 90 days and should notify you if there are any attempts to open new accounts using your personal information. You only need to contact one of the agencies below. That agency will then contact the other two agencies. If you have evidence of an actual identity theft, you can obtain a seven-year fraud alert.
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
Credit Fraud Center
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
- Place freezes on your credit report. A credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent by prohibiting a credit reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization or approval. You can freeze your credit report with all three of the credit reporting agencies listed above by sending a written request to each agency by certified mail or by a secured electronic method authorized by the credit reporting agencies. You can receive more information on freezing your credit report from the credit reporting agencies. Be aware that there are fees associated with a credit freeze. In Ohio, a credit reporting agency can charge up to $5.00 to freeze a credit report or lift the freeze.
- Obtain your annual free credit report mandated by federal law either by contacting one of the above credit reporting agencies or from the following service:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105283
Atlanta, GA 30348-5283
- Obtain information from the Federal Trade Commission about additional steps you can take to avoid identity theft:
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
- Consult the following informational sources:
“To Buy or Not to Buy: Identity Theft Spawns New Products and Services to Help Minimize Risk,” available at:
“How to Deal with a Security Breach, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse,” available at:
“Take Charge, Fighting Back Against Identity Theft,” available at:
What else is Towards Employment doing about this?
Our goal is to continue to serve you and all our program participants. Be assured that Towards Employment takes this security breach seriously. We will take the following steps to strengthen our information technology security to attempt to prevent any future security breaches.
- Hard drives on Towards Employment laptop computers will be encrypted.
- All data transmitted within Towards Employments computer systems will continue to be encrypted.
- Towards Employment will no longer collect social security numbers and will modify all social security numbers in its current database to only include the last four digits.
- All Towards Employment laptops will have tracking software installed to facilitate locating a missing laptop.
- All Towards Employment laptops will have physical locks to secure the laptops both inside and outside the office.
- All Towards Employment computers will require a second password to access databases in addition to the log-on password, and each password will include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
In addition to these steps, Towards Employment will continue to evaluate, identify, and mitigate potential vulnerabilities to its information technology systems.