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Apr 15

Protecting Your Financial Identity

Protecting Your Financial Identity

 In the Wake of the Change Healthcare Ransomware Attack


You might not have heard about it, but you might have been affected by it.  Recently there was a ransomware attack on Change Healthcare, one of the largest providers of healthcare technology and information systems in the United States.  This attack has raised significant concerns about data security, affecting millions.

The good news is that this time clients accessing services through PeoplePsych were not impacted.  Unfortunately, despite our individual best efforts we are all vulnerable to such security breeches impacting large organizations.

As a result it is a good reminder of the vulnerabilities that exist in our digital systems and the ongoing need for vigilance in protecting personal information. For those potentially affected, and indeed anyone concerned about personal data security, one effective step is implementing a credit freeze. Below is a detailed guide on why and how to freeze your credit, particularly in light of recent events.

Understanding the Impact of the Attack

Change Healthcare confirmed that an unauthorized party accessed systems containing sensitive data. For many, this information includes names, Social Security numbers, health insurance details, and more, making it a potential target for identity thieves.

Why Freeze Your Credit?

A credit freeze is one of the most effective tools against identity theft. By freezing your credit report, you prevent creditors from accessing your credit file. This action makes it extremely difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name, as most creditors require a peek at your credit report before approving new credit.

How to Freeze Your Credit

Freezing your credit is a preventative measure that blocks potential creditors from accessing your credit report, effectively stopping identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. It’s a wise step if you’re concerned about identity theft, especially following data breaches or if your personal information has been exposed in some way.

Freezing your credit is free and can be done online, over the phone, or by mail. You’ll need to contact each of the three major credit bureaus separately:

here are the direct web links where you can freeze your credit with each of the three major credit bureaus:

  1. Equifax: Equifax Credit Freeze
    • You can also contact Equifax to freeze your credit by phone at 1-800-685-1111.
  2. Experian: Experian Credit Freeze
    • Alternatively, you can call Experian at 1-888-397-3742 to initiate a freeze.
  3. TransUnion: TransUnion Credit Freeze
    • TransUnion also offers the option to freeze your credit over the phone by calling 1-888-909-8872.

When you apply for a freeze, you will need to provide some personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. Each bureau will give you a unique PIN or password that you should keep secure, as it will be necessary to lift the freeze or make any changes to it in the future – including to apply for new credxit or allow someone to run a credit check.

Keeping the Freeze Active

A credit freeze does not expire; it remains in place until you choose to lift it temporarily or permanently. This can be done online or over the phone by providing the PIN or password issued by the credit bureau.

Other Protective Measures

In addition to freezing your credit, consider the following actions to protect your identity:

  • Monitor Your Accounts: Keep an eye on your bank and credit accounts, looking for any unauthorized transactions. Sign up for alert services if available.
  • Consider a Fraud Alert: If you’re not ready to freeze your credit, you might place a fraud alert on your files instead. This warns creditors that they should carefully verify anyone seeking credit in your name.
  • Check Your Credit Reports Regularly: You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus, which you can obtain at Review them for discrepancies and unfamiliar accounts.


While PeoplePsych clients have not been directly affected by the Change Healthcare ransomware attack, this event highlights the broader risks of personal information exposure. Taking steps like freezing your credit report provides strong protection against identity theft, securing your financial health against potential threats. It’s a precaution worth considering, ensuring peace of mind in an increasingly digital world.

Life can be complicated, messy, and rarely progresses in a straight line.  PeoplePsych is a Chicago-based psychotherapy group that treats adults seeking profound change in their lives.  We provide services that affirm the dignity, worth, and value of all individuals. We strive to create a safe non-judgemental space for clients to explore the issues that bring them. To connect with one of our therapists, please contact our Clinical Coordinator at (312) 252-5252 or