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Credit freeze attempts creating problems for Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – For someone trying to protect their credit history from harm, particularly in the wake of Anthem’s Feb. 4 security breach, any number of things could add to the anxiety they’re already shouldering.

Extended wait periods, access issues and server crashes have plagued a number of Anthem’s nearly 80 million affected customers across the U.S., including many Hoosiers, as they’ve scrambled to avoid being further victimized by the hacking.

According to the state’s Attorney General’s office, the cyber attack on the Indianapolis-based insurance company generated a sharp traffic increase on the credit bureau listing page of IndianaConsumer.com.

Last Wednesday, before the breach was made public, that page had seven visitors; the day after, that number had ballooned to 1,677. By Friday, there were an estimated 7,300 clicks to the page.

While this has boosted the site’s profile, it’s also meant problems for some clicking the links through to the other side. Server overload has been one such side effect, and as one customer told 24-Hour News 8, it’s time consuming, to say the least.

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For 12-year Anthem subscriber Robin Meunier Millspaugh, the messages popping up during attempts to freeze her credit have brought more angst than anger.

“I’m sure that they must be overloaded, and so the system just seemed to crash,” Meunier Millspaugh said.

She debated even placing freezes at first, as she assumed her information was safe since Anthem hadn’t been in touch. But the more she learned about the breach, the more concerned she became.

“I don’t know at this point what information of mine is out there,” she said. “… [T]his just opens up way too many opportunities for way too many people to make really poor choices.”

Meunier Millspaugh spent 20 minutes trying to place just one of the recommended three credit freezes; it took another 10 minutes on the phone with Equifax to ensure they’d mail a PIN number to her.

And after failing in multiple efforts to log-on to TransUnion’s website, she is now faced with another dilemma: Finding the time to successfully complete this portion of her credit freeze.

“I wish that it could have been … [finished in one sitting, with] three pieces of paper that had all the information I needed so I could put it in a file somewhere,” Meunier Millspaugh said.

More than just adults can receive protection, though. Under Indiana law, it is possible for parents to place freezes on their child’s credit history.

The rule, which went into effect last July, requires requests be made in writing, rather than digitally. These so-called “protected consumer security freezes” safeguard children in the same way adults are

Credit protection is something Meunier Millspaugh said is worth having, despite those moments of stress that come with the process itself. And she is hopeful that once the Anthem troubles are over, unfreezing her credit will be far less painless.

“I guess in some ways it’s better safe than sorry,” she says. “It’s not that hard; it sounds like it’s not that hard to lift the freeze once you put it in place.”

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