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What does T-Mobile's data breach mean for me?

What does T-Mobile's data breach mean for me?

Mind On My Money
October 2, 2015

There’s been yet another data breach, this time affecting T-Mobile customers who applied for device financing through the carrier. All told, the attack affects approximately 15 million people who required a credit check when signing up with the Un-carrier. It’s important to note that T-Mobile’s own servers weren’t compromised; the information was stolen from Experian’s network. T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote an open letter to consumers expressing his shock and anger at the loss.

Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected. I take our customer and prospective customer privacy VERY seriously. This is no small issue for us. I do want to assure our customers that neither T-Mobile’s systems nor network were part of this intrusion and this did not involve any payment card numbers or bank account information.

What do you need to know?

The data lost includes things like names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, and drivers’ license numbers. While some of that information was encrypted, Experian acknowledges that such protection may have been compromised. No payment card or banking information was acquired. The incident only impacted a business unit dedicated to T-Mobile data, so Experian’s larger consumer credit database was not affected.

Basically, if you applied for device financing through T-Mobile from Sept. 1, 2013 through Sept. 16, 2015, your information could have been compromised. Experian apparently noticed the breach on Sept. 15 and immediately took steps to lock everything down and investigate the incident.

If you applied for service with T-Mobile during that time, you can get two years of free credit monitoring services through ProtectMyID.

What does it mean, though?

Any time computers are involved, we simply cannot count on our information being totally secure. Exploits and vulnerabilities aren’t typically found until they’re used to compromise a network or server, so this breach isn’t all that surprising. Yes, it encompasses information from a very long period of time and for a huge number of people. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, you really need to be diligent about monitoring your credit. It’s definitely a positive step on T-Mobile’s part to arrange for the free two years of credit monitoring.

Image credit: MileIQ

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