The California Department of Justice is warning of potential data theft after the office inadvertently exposed personal information with the update of its Firearms Dashboard Portal on June 27.
The department confirmed that this exposed the personal information of individuals who were either granted or denied a concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit between the years 2011 to 2021.
The leaked info included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history. However, Social Security numbers and financial information were not leaked, according to the department.
The department also says that information from these databases was exposed: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Certificate Safety, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards.
The department is investigating how much personal information from those databases was exposed in the leak.
“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in the news release. “I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary. The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data. We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed. I am deeply disturbed and angered.”
The department says that after it learned of the data exposure, it removed that info from the public view and took down the Firearms Dashboard. It says this personal information was available to the public for less than 24 hours.
In the next few days, the department says it will alert those whose data was exposed and “provide additional information and resources,” according to the press release.
The department is warning those who accessed the information to not share or disseminate personal information, informing them that this would be a crime (Cal Penal Code Sec. 530.5.)
Additionally, the department offers Californians the following advice to protect their credit-related information:
Monitor your credit. One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to monitor your credit history. To obtain free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com. Consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit report. Identity thieves will not be able to open a new credit account in your name while the freeze is in place. You can place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus:Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/; 888-766-0008Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html; 888-397-3742TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze; 800-680-7289Place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of someone opening new credit accounts in your name. A fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed. To post a fraud alert on your credit file, you must contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies listed above. Keep in mind that if place a fraud alert with any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, the alert will be automatically added by the other two agencies as well.Additional Resources. If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local police department or sheriff’s office right away. You may also report identity theft and generate a recovery plan using the Federal Trade Commission’s website at identitytheft.gov. For more information and resources visit the Attorney General’s website at oag.ca.gov/idtheft.