About this time last year, I came home from a blissfully worry-free vacation to learn that my personal health data had been hacked from the Utah Department of Health.
Worries stormed right back.
It gave me no comfort to learn I was one of just 780,000 Utahns whose information was put at risk, and also one of just 280,000 whose Social Security numbers were compromised.
At the time, the state provided free credit monitoring for a year from Experian, one of the big three credit bureaus.
Now the Legislature has funded another year of free monitoring for people who already had signed up and for those who haven’t yet. It’s important because only about 59,500 signed up last year, says Sheila Walsh-McDonald, the health department’s data security ombudswoman.
For those who did, the extension will be automatic; those enrolled will be notified. For those who didn’t enroll last year, call Walsh-McDonald at 801-538-6923, or email her at email@example.com, and she’ll help you get on board.
Experian has two products: one called “ProtectMyID” for adults and “Family Secure.”
ProtectMyID includes a free credit report, daily monitoring of inquiries, accounts, delinquencies or medical collections found on the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Victims of identify theft will be assigned an Experian resolution agent and issued a $1 million identity-theft insurance policy.
Parents who sign on with Family Secure can include all minor children on the credit report until their 17th birthday. Again, call Walsh-McDonald and she’ll answer any questions.
The good news is Walsh-McDonald says she can count the number of individual ID thefts on one hand, and they’re all so different that it’s hard to determine if the thefts are related to the breach.
Still, it’s worrisome. (And, for the record, last year I inadvertently signed up with the wrong bureau.)
I have no indication that anyone has monkeyed with my credit, but I’ll be enrolling with the right one this year — just in case.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook peg.mcentee.9 and Twitter @pegmcentee.