East Texans prepare for worst after hospital data breach - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans prepare for worst after hospital data breach

Thousands of East Texans are trying to figure out what to do to protect themselves after a data breach. Thousands of East Texans are trying to figure out what to do to protect themselves after a data breach.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A company that operates hospitals across the country announced Monday that hackers stole personal identification data from 4.5 million patients in April and June. Now, Thousands of East Texans are trying to figure out what to do to protect themselves after the data breach.

Two East Texas hospitals were affected, Longview Regional Medical Center and Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin.

The company confirmed that the compromised data did not include patient credit card, medical, or clinical information. However, they did gain access to patients' names, social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, and telephone numbers. The company said it will be mailing out letters to those whose information was compromised. Until then, many East Texans are preparing for the worst.

Margaret Younger visits Longview Medical Center whenever she's ill. She knows she could be one receiving a letter. “The first thing I will do immediately is, of course, check with my credit bureau and all that to make sure that nothing is showing up on there that shouldn't be,” Younger explained.

She's already preparing because she's heard stolen identities and theft are hard to combat. “I've heard that it takes years if you can even get it straightened out and then I've also heard that it can affect your credit for permanently,” she said.

For those who are affected, the Better Business Bureau said there are steps you can take immediately. Check your credit report to see if anything seems off. Alert your bank right away that you are a victim. Report your case to the FBI for further investigation so they may better fight hackers.

“As we all advance they're going to advance right along with us,” Kaylen Burgess, with the Better Business Bureau, said. “You just want to make sure that you're doing everything you possibly can to keep your information safe even when sometime these cases are not avoidable.”

Even if this doesn't affect you, there are steps you can take to stay protected. Change your passwords every six months. Check your credit report annually. Make sure your bank has alerts in place for any unusual activity. Adults are not the only target.

“Children are a large percentage of victims in identity fraud and that's mainly because your child's not out making large purchases and they're not having their credit checked,” Burgess said.

You can check a child's credit report using their social security number.

The company, Community Health Systems, which was hacked, said they will be offering identity theft protection services. We contacted Longview Regional Medical Center Tuesday to see if they are offering any services, but have not heard back.

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