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As further details of the MIE data breach emerge, the Indiana State Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, has urged all state residents to exercise extreme caution and put credit freezes on their accounts to protect against identity theft and fraud. The MIE data breach exposed a significant amount of personal and highly sensitive data, and is understood to have affected more than 1.5 million individuals in the state of Indiana. In total approximately 4 million records were exposed.
High Risk of Fraud and Identity Theft from MIE Data Breach
The data breach at Anthem may have exposed about 20 times as many records as the MIE data breach; but what is particularly worrying in this instance is Social Security numbers and health data have been exposed, placing breach victims at a much higher risk of suffering financial losses. Zoeller said, “These are very significant medical records, lab reports, people’s charts essentially online.”
Zoeller pointed out that the incident has not j1ust increased the risk of fraud; the information has already been used to for fraudulent purposes. He said, “We’re afraid that they will use them to defraud the government so they will be billing Medicaid or something like that,” Zoeller went on to say, “That’s already been happening, we haven’t tracked it exactly: Who’s doing it or how.”
The breach at Fort Wayne-based Medical Informatics Engineering affected its subsidiary, NoMoreClipboard, which is used by 44 radiology centers and 11 healthcare providers in the state, and some 239 healthcare providers and physicians across the country.
Unfortunately for breach victims, the exposure of data does not just elevate the risk of suffering harm or losses for a finite period of time. Once data is disclosed, it can never be undisclosed. Victims therefore have to live with an increased risk of fraud for a lifetime.
Concern Expressed that Breach Victims will not take the Data Theft Seriously
There is a chance that some individuals may not appreciate the seriousness of this data breach, and may not take action to protect themselves. Zoeller is particularly concerned about this. He said, “Protect yourself the best you can and protect your credit records.”
In addition to placing a credit freeze on accounts, obtaining credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, breach victims should sign up for the credit monitoring and identity theft protection services offered by MIE, and to do so as a matter of urgency.
The MIE data breach has only recently been announced, but hackers have had access to patient data since May 7, 2015, giving them plenty of time to use the data to file fake tax returns, make insurance claims, and apply for credit in the names of victims.