COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Thousands of people using public housing in central Ohio may have had their personal information compromised due to a data breach.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority said an unauthorized person had access to its computer network between Jan. 23 and March 16 and got ahold of some files.

According to a letter sent to the people affected, the files contained information like names, addresses, birth dates, and social security numbers.

The housing authority said it’s contacted law enforcement and hired a third-party computer forensics firm to secure its system.

In addition, the housing authority is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft restoration services to residents and landlords.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, data breaches such as the one that hit the housing authority, are not considered identity theft because “while information was obtained, it has not yet been used.”

The attorney general’s office recommends anyone who has been the subject of a data breach to remain aware of unauthorized uses of their information and alert their banks and credit card issuers immediately.

Those victims may also wish to file a one-year initial fraud alert on their credit report which will make it harder for someone to open a line of credit in their name, the attorney general’s office recommends.

Initial fraud alerts can be set up by Equifax (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742), or TransUnion (800-680-7289).

Anyone who suspects they are the victim of identity theft can report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.