It has become quite clear over the past few weeks that the opening of unwanted credit cards as a result of identity theft involving thousands of optometrists and optometry students is far but over. Many of those affected have reported that second attempts at opening Chase Amazon credit cards in their names has recently occcurred.
In addition to this, some are also stating that other credit cards such as Amazon store cards through Synchrony bank have also been applied for and in some cases approved.
Although none of the optometry organizations have formally stepped up and taken accountability for the breach, there has been a class action lawsuit filed against NBEO. NBEO's website states that they have retained a law firm, which with the assistance of a nationally-known cybersecurity firm, is investigating whether the security of NBEO databases containing the personal identifiers of members of the optometry community has been breached. They further note that depending on what the inquiry reveals and when, it could take a number of additional weeks to complete the investigation. They say that "if at any juncture, however, the inquiry establishes that NBEO's systems were breached, we will promptly notify affected parties as the law requires and undertake other security measures as appropriate."
The AOA has also put pressure on NBEO to reassure students that their data is safe as many students are being required to enter personal data into their system as they register for their exams. AOA President, Dr. Andrea Thau, O.D., wrote NBEO "In order to allay these concerns, can you provide assurances that the current NBEO registration system for new registrants—which includes the required entry of Social Security numbers—comports with best practices for testing bodies in other professions and meets all applicable industry standards for data security?" The AOA has yet to receive a formal reply, but will continue to insist on up-to-date, accurate information to provide to its student members, especially those with questions and concerns about data security. The AOA has also contacted the FBI and Federal Trade Commission after initial reports to apprise investigators of the situation.
So what can you do to conitnue to protect yourself? I think it's pretty obvious at this point that if you have not put a freeze on your credit, you should. These hackers seem to have no intention of slowing down, and who knows when this will end. I was leery of doing this initially as it could be considered a pain to unfreeze and then re-freeze credit for future needs, but I'd rather deal with it to ensure my credit safety. From what others are saying, the fraud alert was of absolutely no help whatsoever. Unlike a fraud alert, you have to request a credit freeze from all three credit agencies and depending on your state, it may cost you some money. But again, well worth it.
Super easy to do, and can all be completed online in about 20 minutes. Here are the links for each bureau below:
The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®
We’ve put together a ton of great tips and tricks for studying for Part I of NBEO along with two tailored study programs that will help you thoroughly prepare for the big day. Remember, you’ve made it this far and you can totally do this!
Some of the Top 15 Tips include: