3.8 million Hoosiers affected by Equifax data breach

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than three million people living in Indiana had their personal information compromised after a massive data breach involving Equifax.

The breach could be one of the largest thefts involving social security numbers, with 143 million people across the country affected.

The credit reporting agency has records of people’s personal and credit information. But hackers got ahold of that information and much more from mid-May through July. Equifax didn’t find out about the problem until the end of July and confirmed the breach Thursday.

Kim Patterson told 24-Hour News 8 she is frustrated after spending most of the day on the phone and on the computer with the three reporting bureaus.

“It shouldn’t happen; they are supposed to be a credit bureau, don’t let stuff like this happen, and they’re letting stuff happen, and it’s not good,” said Patterson.

Patterson read about the Equifax breach and could not believe the number of people potentially impacted.

“They have got social security numbers, birthdates, address, driver licenses,” said Patterson. “They got everything that they need to ruin millions of people’s credit.”

Equifax created a website for people to learn more about what happened and how you can check to see if your information was compromised.

“My first reaction was to check the site to see if I was impacted,” said Patterson. “I knew I wasn’t. I never am, and when it said my name that I was a possibility, I kind of got irritated.”

So how can you check? You’ll want to go on EquifaxSecurity2017.com. Once on the page, you have to click on “Potential Impact.” From there, you have to enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. Patterson said she entered everything and got a specific message.

“Based on the information provided we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident,” she read.

Patterson said she decided to put a freeze on her credit.

“One of the best ways to protect yourself — and this is in any situation even if there isn’t any sort of breech — is to initiate a credit freeze,” said Tim Maniscalo, who is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana.

Maniscalo said the process takes around 15 minutes and could save you a lot of trouble in the end.

“Once you freeze it, no one, including you, can get in it unless you unfreeze it,” he explained.

Maniscalo said doing a credit freeze will prevent anyone from pulling your credit, opening a new account or applying for credit in your name.

Equifax is now offering people free identity theft protection and free credit monitoring.

Click here to check to see if you had your information compromised.

Click here to learn more about freezing your credit with the three reporting bureaus.