Indiana welfare clients' personal information possibly breached - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Indiana welfare clients' personal information possibly breached

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More than 180,000 Hoosiers are getting a warning this week.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration says because of a computer glitch some clients' personal information may have been sent to other clients by mistake.

"These are notifications that we do not enjoy sending to our clients," says Jim Gavin with the FSSA.


The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration says right now they know of at least 14 welfare clients whose personal information was shared with others because of a computer programming error, but that glitch could effect 187,533 people.

"We regret that in this rare instance, some of the information may have been accidentally shared," says Gavin.

So what type of personal information are we talking about?

The FSSA says name, address, case number, date of birth, gender, race, telephone number, email address, types of benefits received, among other things. Of that more than 187,000, Social Security numbers for about 4,000 people could have been shared.

"We here at FSSA feel these clients entrust their personal information to us and we take the security of that information very seriously and we are ultimately responsible for safeguarding and safe-keeping that information," says Gavin.

The State says the computer error was made April 6th and information could have been mailed to clients through May 21st.


The Agency became aware of the problem when a client came forward saying they received personal information about another client.

While more than 187,000 clients are getting notifications, officials don't think that many people were actually affected.

"We really don't believe this was a widespread disclosure. We've only been made aware of that handful of instances so far," says Gavin.

We had a couple of calls into our newsroom from people concerned they may have been impacted. Here's what you can do to protect yourself:

FSSA clients who receive notifications are being advised of steps they can take to protect themselves against identity theft. This includes placing a fraud alert on their credit report by calling the toll-free number of any of the three credit bureaus.

For those clients who may have had their social security information disclosed, additional advice is being given to them that they could place a security freeze on their credit reports. Any Indiana resident can request a security freeze at no charge by contacting all three credit agencies below either online or by sending a letter:

Equifax Security Freeze; 1-888-766-0008
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Experian Security Freeze; 1-888-397-3742
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Trans Union Security Freeze; 1-800-680-7289
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp

The FSSA is asking any client who has received another client's information in error to return material immediately to their local Division of Family Resources Office, or securely shred it.

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