In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

Media Contacts


In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston.

The number of potentially affected government employees and their associates has risen to 18 million people – including the 45,000 federal employees working in Massachusetts. Despite an urgent need for reliable information and solutions, the OPM’s offer of one year of credit monitoring service is a weak, short-term remedy because it only alerts victims to potential identity theft after it has occurred, according to Janet Domenitz, MASSPIRG’s Executive Director.

“This is much too little way too late,” said Domenitz. “We need more information, more solutions, starting with a security freeze on every potential victim’s credit report.”

To address the OPM’s inadequate response to the data breaches, MASSPIRG today distributed identity theft tips to federal employees. Chief among the tips provided by MASSPIRG is a recommendation for a security freeze. A security freeze prevents a consumer’s credit report from being shared with potential new creditors. Freezes are available to residents of all 50 states.

“To make matters worse, federal employees looking to sign up for the free monitoring service have experienced website crashes and three hour long wait times,” added Emily Olson, MASSPIRG policy intern. Olson recommended that victims “…get the peace of mind of a security freeze instead.” According to Olson, federal employees were anxious about the data breach, and appreciative of the information and outreach. (see photo below of outreach effort).

A security freeze on a consumer credit report typically costs $5-$10. Most states offer free security freezes for identity theft victims or senior citizens, though Massachusetts does not offer them to the latter.


MASSPIRG’s Identify Theft Tips are available at:


MASSPIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

staff | TPIN

This Earth Day, put our planet over plastic

We are working to move our country beyond plastic — and we need your help. Will you make a gift in honor of Earth Day to help us keep making progress?