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RBC | If you’re among the 4,439 Rio Blanco County residents who received a letter from the Office of the State Court Administrator, the letter is not a fake, but it’s probably not as ominous as it sounds.
While the letter states, “There is no indication your information has been misused or stolen,” and asks recipients not to contact the local courthouse, the letter prompted a flurry of calls and visits to the county clerk’s office and sheriff’s office.
An inadvertent technological error at the Colorado Judicial Department in August 2016 exposed 620,945 names, birthdates and Social Security numbers from Colorado jury files to the department’s internal intranet. Of that number, 41,140 names from four Colorado counties were exposed externally on the internet. Those are the counties listed in the letter received last week: Crowley, Pueblo, Rio Grande and Weld.
The department was alerted in at the end of July 2017 and shut down access to the files within 90 minutes.
“Only a handful of people have access,” said Judicial Department spokesperson Jon Sarche, “one of them came across it and notified us.”
Sarche said there is no indication anyone’s information has been used for identity theft as a result of the security lapse, but notifications were sent out “of an abundance of caution.”
The letters were drafted Aug. 14 but were not received in Rio Blanco County until the end of August.
“We think the risk is low, but recommend that you place a fraud alert on your own information,” Sarche said. “It’s a free service. If anybody tries to open an account in your name, you’ll be notified. It’s an additional step.”
Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742; and TransUnion, 800-680-7289 are the three credit reporting services named in the letter.
Additional questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.