DOL Data Breach
The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) has issued a notice to all real estate licensees that during the week of Jan. 24, 2022 they became aware of suspicious activity involving professional and occupational license data.
As a result of the suspicious activity, DOL began an investigation and shut down the Professional Online Licensing and Regulatory Information System (POLARIS) to protect the personal information of professional licensees. Below is a message and FAQ we received from the DOL...
NOTE: the Washington REALTOR® member database has not been impacted or compromised.
Message from the Department of Licensing:
At this time, we have no indication that any other DOL data was affected, such as driver and vehicle licensing information. All other DOL systems are operating normally.
We are working with the Washington Office of Cybersecurity to protect the licensing data and bring POLARIS back online as soon as possible. With the support and assistance of nationally recognized cybersecurity experts, we are investigating what happened and what data and people may be affected.
The POLARIS system stores information about its license holders and applicants. The type of information varies for different licenses and may include social security numbers, dates of birth, driver license numbers, and other personally identifying information. If our investigation concludes that your personal information has been accessed, DOL will notify you and provide you with further assistance.
If you are concerned about the security of your personal information, credit protection is available. Resources include the Washington State Office of the Attorney General at https://www.atg.wa.gov/credit-reports and the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.
The latest information and additional resources are on our website: dol.wa.gov/outage.
What should business owners who are trying to renew a license do while the system is down?
To those professionals who have tried to renew their licenses while POLARIS is down, we have created an Intent to Renew form. Once submitted, we will not take action against your license based on its expiration date while POLARIS is down. Please see this webpage for further information: dol.wa.gov/intent.
What can you tell me about the status of my professional license?
Because we have temporarily turned off POLARIS, we cannot access individual professional licensing accounts and unfortunately neither can you. Once the system is restored, we will promptly resume assisting customers, and you will again have access to your account.
In the meantime, the Department will take all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the system outage on licensees, including to those individuals with expiring licenses.
What if my license expires while the POLARIS website is down?
Renew your license as quickly as possible once the POLARIS website is up and running again. DOL will not fine, penalize, or sanction a person for failing to renew their license during this POLARIS system shutdown. DOL will prioritize renewals based on the license expiration date.
When is the POLARIS website going to be back up?
Our information technology experts are working with the Washington State Office of Cybersecurity to fully understand the extent of the incident and take all other appropriate action. POLARIS will be brought back online as soon as possible.
We will continue to update the website as we learn more: https://www.dol.wa.gov/outage/index.html
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