T-Mobile Hack Spells Trouble

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T-Mobile Begins Offering Apple's iPhone
Photo: Spencer Platt/2013 Getty Images

The names, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and passport information of anyone who signed up for T-Mobile services between September 1, 2013, and September 16, 2015 — that’s more than 15 million people — have been obtained by unknown hackers. The data came from a hack into Experian, the big credit agency. Apparently, no banking or card information was accessed.

I take our customer and prospective customer privacy VERY seriously. This is no small issue for us,” the carrier’s CEO John Legere said. “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.”

That assistance pretty much means encouraging victims to enroll in two years of free credit monitoring through Experian, according to the statement. This will provide customers with free credit reports, internet scans, and access to fraud resolution agents. Affected customers are also asked to place a fraud alert on their credit report informing creditors of possible unauthorized activity.

However, so far, Experian reports that “there is no evidence suggesting your personal information has been misused.” Still, this puts customers’ data at great risk of identity theft. Experian made sure to note that neither it nor T-Mobile will ever call or send messages asking for personal information, and customers should be wary if they receive probing from any callers.

This isn’t the first time hackers have targeted prominent information-holders. Actually, in 2013, a Vietnamese hacker tricked Experian into selling him the personal records of 200 million Americans. And before that, hackers broke into Equifax, another of the big-three American credit bureaus, attempting to sell credit information on celebrities like Jay Z, Kim Kardashian, and Donald Trump.

Most recently, Patreon, a website managing people’s regular donations to causes and projects, announced that many users’ names, email addresses, and home addresses were exposed.