Consumer Alert: Anthem Data Security Breach: What You Need to Know
ANTHEM DATA SECURITY BREACH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Anthem) reported that it has been a victim of a cyber-attack and there was a breach involving the personal information of its policyholders. According to Anthem, up to 418,640 Arizona residents are impacted. The Arizona Department of Insurance is monitoring the Anthem security breach and want you to protect yourself if you think you may be an affected policyholder.
In late January 2015, Anthem discovered the unauthorized access, or hacking, of consumer information including member names, member health identification numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, employment information and income data. The information affected included current members and an unknown number of past members of Anthem.
What is Anthem doing to protect my information?
Anthem notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation once the hacking was discovered, and sent notices to Anthem consumers responding to consumer questions. Anthem is also working with a cybersecurity firm to evaluate the full impact of the hack. It will be providing free credit monitoring and identity protection services to all affected members.
Does this affect Arizona consumers?
Although Anthem has no base of operations in Arizona, there may be current Arizona residents who will be impacted because they were previously Anthem members.
What should I do now?
Most importantly, stay calm and continue to monitor the situation closely. Anthem, which is offering two years of credit monitoring and identity theft repair services for members whose information was included in the database that was compromised, has said it is not yet aware of any fraudulent activity against policyholders. However, as with any data breach, be on the lookout for suspicious activities that try to “phish” or collect sensitive information from you, like user names, passwords and credit card information. Suspicious activities may include emails from people you do not recognize, or telephone calls from people asking for personal information such as social security numbers, birth dates, or account numbers. Do not respond to an email or phone call seeking this kind of information. Do not click on any links sent to you in an email or through social media, as scammers will try to take advantage of the breach. Often they will send emails that appear to be from your bank or Anthem offering to help. If you think you have a suspicious email from Anthem, please call the number below to speak to an Anthem representative who can tell you whether you should respond to the email or telephone call.
It is important that you take action immediately to protect yourself.
Call (877) 263-7995, the toll-free number Anthem has established to assist consumers. Anthem has also set up a special website at www.anthemfacts.com to answer questions and to keep consumers updated. Be sure to type in the web address directly. You may want to consider placing a freeze on your credit report with the three major credit reporting agencies. This allows you to restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Be sure to protect the information of your family as well – including children and elderly parents. For more information about a credit freeze, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Information Credit Freeze FAQs.
Contact your bank or credit card company if you notice suspicious activity on your account. You may ask them to put a security block on your account or to be extra careful, request a new credit or debit card.
Make sure to closely monitor your accounts, credit score, bank accounts, credit card and other financial information.
For more information, contact [email protected], 602.364.2496.
Information in this consumer alert was compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Arizona Department of Insurance Consumer Affairs Division.