Last Updated on October 2, 2015 by cassnetwork

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An estimated 15 million T-Mobile customers who applied for credit through Experian are at risk of having their data compromised, and Hoosiers who are affected should register for a credit freeze as a precautionary measure, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

The information was obtained when an unauthorized party accessed T-Mobile data housed in an Experian server. Affected customers are those who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services between September 1, 2013 and September 16, 2015.  Information that was breached includes customers’ names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, identification numbers (typically a driver’s license number, military ID, or passport number) and additional information used in T-Mobile’s own credit assessment. According to Experian, its consumer credit database was not accessed in this incident.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is investigating the breach and monitoring the situation to ensure that consumers are properly notified, and can assist any consumers who fall victim to identity theft or fraud. It is unknown who committed the data breach, but the AG’s Office will work with its federal counterparts in the investigation.

“This latest data breach is yet another example of why it is so important for everyone to proactively register for a credit freeze to protect themselves from identity theft,” Zoeller said.  “At this point it’s safe to assume that everyone in our state has been affected by one of the many data breaches, no one is immune to this and if you don’t take the initiative to protect your credit, the consequences could be very costly and have a long-term financial impact.”

Protect against ID theft

Zoeller urges consumers who may have been impacted in this data breach or any other breach to take the following immediate steps to guard against identity theft:

  • Sign up for a free credit freeze with the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Registering for a credit freeze will prevent a fraudster from taking out a line of credit in your name without your permission; and you can easily lift the credit freeze at any time if you do wish to apply for new credit or a loan.  The free credit freeze sign-up page can be found at www.IndianaConsumer.com/idtheft.
  • Closely monitor financial statements for any unusual activity.
  • Review and monitor your credit report to check for inaccuracies. A free credit report can be requested from each of the credit bureaus once a year through www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

Additionally, Experian and T-Mobile will offer affected consumers two years of credit monitoring and identity protection services for compromised customers at no cost. Credit monitoring alerts consumers to fraud after the fact, so it’s always best to also have the credit freeze already in place to deter fraud, in addition to credit monitoring. Visit www.ProtectMyID.com/SecurityIncident or call Experian at (866)-369-0422 for more information about its credit monitoring.

If consumers already have credit monitoring in place from a previous breach, they might consider adding the Experian/T-Mobile monitoring if it would provide a longer coverage period. Consumers should be aware when the free time period ends on their credit monitoring, especially if they would like to cancel, because they will likely be encouraged to purchase the service long-term.

Zoeller said the free credit freeze is the best protection against fraud and identity theft, though monitoring can be helpful in identifying fraud.

Everyone, regardless of if you believe your data has been compromised, can take the above steps to protect against ID theft.

Red flags of ID theft

Certain red flags can indicate that identity theft may have occurred, including:

  • Incorrect personal information on your credit report such as a social security number, address, name, initials or employers.
  • New accounts being opened in your name that you did not authorize or receiving credit cards that you did not apply for.
  • Missing bills. Often identity thieves will change your billing address to make their illicit activities look more legitimate.
  • Any unexplained debits to your accounts.
  • Being denied credit or only offered high interest rates on credit lines for reasons unknown to you.
  • Calls from debt collectors about purchases you did not make.

Report ID theft

If unusual activity is detected and you believe you are a victim of identity theft, follow the below steps:

  • Report fraud to the police and file a complaint with the AG’s Office at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 800-382-5516.
  • Place fraud alerts on your credits reports by contacting one of the three credit agencies: TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.
  • File a petition in court asking the judge to issue a court order declaring you a victim of identity theft. That order can help clear up fraudulent activity.

Under Indiana’s Disclosure of Security Breach law, businesses with Indiana customers are required to inform customers and the AG’s Office about security breaches that have placed personal information in jeopardy. The AG’s Office investigates data breaches to determine if customers were properly notified of the breach and if the entity had appropriate safeguards in place to protect customers’ data.

More information about the T-Mobile/Experian breach is posted on Experian’s website here: http://www.experian.com/data-breach/t-mobilefacts.html. Experian has said they are notifying all individuals who may have been affected.

In 2014, nearly 400 data breaches were reported to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. In 2015 thus far, 375 data breaches have been reported. In 2015, about 924 complaints about identity theft have been reported to the AG’s Office, and 1,300 complaints were reported in 2014.

More identity theft protection tips and information on the AG’s Identity Theft Unit can be found at www.IndianaConsumer.com/idtheft.