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Yes, a data breach notification letter from the Indiana Department of Health is real despite its out-of-state mailing address

The letter has an out-of-state return address because the vendor handling the notification is located in Pennsylvania.

Indiana State Department of Health failed to protect the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers. ISDH admits a third party gained access to the data, and the agency is now contacting victims to alert them of the data breach.

But 13News viewers are contacting VERIFY to ask about a letter that claims to offer free credit monitoring service to individuals affected by the breach. The letter appears to be from ISDH but includes a return address from Pennsylvania, which has raised suspicions that it might be a scam attempt targeting victims.

“The return address is Clayburg, PA. Is this legitimate?” asked 13News viewer Joseph.

THE QUESTION

Is a letter claiming to be from the Indiana State Department of Health – including a return address from Pennsylvania – and offering a year of free credit monitoring to victims of an ISDH data breach legitimate or a scam?

THE SOURCES

  • Indiana State Department of Health
  • Experian

THE ANSWER

Yes, the letter from ISDH offering a year of free credit monitoring service to victims of its recent data breach is real. The letter has an out-of-state return address because the vendor handling the notification is located in Pennsylvania.

WHAT WE FOUND

ISDH is contacting 750,000 people whose data was included in the security breach. The breach included the names, addresses, email addresses, gender, ethnicity, race and date of birth of individuals who participated in the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing surveys. 13News first reported on the data breach last month.

RELATED: Personal information for 750K Hoosiers improperly accessed from state's COVID-19 online contact tracing survey

To help protect the identity of victims, ISDH is offering a free year-long membership to an Experian credit monitoring service.

A health department spokeswoman told VERIFY that ISDH has started notifying those impacted by the breach and “Experian is sending the [notification] letters on the state’s behalf.”

13News contacted Experian to ask about the Pennsylvania return address that has caused some confusion and concern.

In its response, the company confirmed: “…the Claysburg, PA, address is the return address for the processing center that sent the notification mailing to consumers.”

So we can verify the notification and offer for free credit monitoring service is legit.  

The 750,000 letters are indeed from ISDH – despite coming from a Pennsylvania town 460 miles away.