Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Anthem Hack
What should I do if I’ve done business with the healthcare company that got hacked?
This question was answered on February 5, 2015. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Anthem Insurance, previously known as WellPoint, Inc is also the parent for the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans that are common in 14 states and recently announced a major breach to their systems.
The details of exactly how this breach occurred is still under investigation, but Anthem estimates that as many as 80 million current and previous customers as well as their employees may have been exposed.
While the breached information did not include medical records, the company's initial investigation appears to suggest that members' information accessed includes names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information.
It’s a treasure trove for ID thieves and unlike a credit card breach, the stolen information is useful essentially forever.
Changing a stolen credit card number is pretty simple, changing your SSN is extremely complicated.
Anthem will be notifying its affected customers by mail over the next couple of weeks, but here are some things you can do in the meantime if you know you’ve done business with them at any time in the past.
If you’re not currently in the process of applying for credit to buy or refinance anything, you can contact all three major credit agencies to place a freeze on your credit file.
This will make using your stolen information for ID theft much more difficult.
The cost to place and lift a freeze and how long it lasts depends upon your state’s laws. In some cases, there will be a fee to place or lift the freeze that’s generally in the $5 to $10 range.
Don’t forget any of your children as ID thieves prefer to use the SSN of younger children because most people don’t monitor their child’s credit record until they become young adults.
The links below provide online forms to put a freeze on your credit file:
Experian Credit Freeze website: http://goo.gl/9xYeML
Equifax Credit Freeze website: http://goo.gl/6KUypy
TransUnion Credit Freeze website: http://goo.gl/cIEcUH
WARNING: Be sure you read through and understand the details of what putting a freeze on your credit file means, especially if you are in the process of applying for credit.
If putting a freeze on your credit files isn’t something that you can do at the moment, you can use monitoring services like https://www.creditkarma.com to alert you whenever something happens to any of your credit files.
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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on February 5, 2015