How Hoosiers can protect themselves after Equifax hack

Approximately 3.8 million Hoosiers had their private information compromised by the breach. Many folks were left wondering just how safe their personal information really is. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — We have new insight from Indiana’s top consumer advocate on the Equifax hack.

Approximately 3.8 million Hoosiers had their private information compromised by the breach. Many folks were left wondering just how safe their personal information really is.

According to Consumer Protection Chief Counsel Betsey Isenberg, it is up to you to make sure your information is safe. WISH-TV learned much of the personal information compromised by the Equifax hack is already out there on the internet, and if you’re not careful, hackers can get it without a big data breach.

“Depending on how much of an online presence a person has, yes, usually your name and credit information can be found on other websites besides Equifax,” Isenberg said.

Isenberg told us breaches are common, but one of this size is not. The last time she saw a breach this big was the Target breach in 2013. However, many people are scared this time because Equifax isn’t just any old company — it’s a credit bureau.

“What I think everyone should remember is any company is vulnerable, so it should be on the person to make sure that they’re doing everything in their power to monitor the bills and the documents that they’re receiving to do what they can to keep their credit secure,” Isenberg said.

One thing Isenberg recommended is freezing your credit. While that won’t protect your personal information, it will protect your credit in case someone gets a hold of that information. It is free for Hoosiers to freeze their credit.

Also, Isenberg said, check your credit card statements, your credit report and your bank accounts regularly.

One thing you might not even suspect and are probably doing could be putting you at risk. Isenberg said people should be careful where and how they share their information online. If you’re on a public Wi-Fi network, don’t put out that information. So online shopping while at the coffee shop or other public places where anyone can get online puts you at greater risk.

Isenberg also said there has been a change to the terms of the service for the credit monitoring Equifax is offering post-hack. She said they website indicates the nonarbitration agreement term only applies to the credit monitoring itself, it doesn’t apply to the breach.