Anthem Data Breach
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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that approximately 78.8 million former and current policyholders nationwide had personal information stolen in a cyberattack of the company’s IT system. The California Department of Insurance has opened an investigation of the Anthem security breach and wants you to protect yourself if you think you may be affected.
According to Anthem, information obtained by scammers includes:
- Birth dates
- Medical IDs/Social Security Numbers
- Employment/Income Data
- Street Addresses
- Email Addresses
*Anthem does not believe credit card, banking information or medical information was stolen.
On January 29, 2015, Anthem reports that it discovered the unauthorized access 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. Anthem reports that not all members or former members had all of this information taken - for some members or former members only some of the information was taken. The breach was discovered by a database administrator who noticed his credentials were being used without his knowledge or consent. According to Anthem, the database access was immediately shut down and every Anthem employee was required to reset their passwords. Anthem currently has 37 million enrollees nationwide. Anthem reports that the data breach also includes past enrollees-potentially up to 80 million people could have information compromised.
Who was affected?
- Current and past enrollees dating back to 2004, including independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. In total, up to 78.8 million people, including minors under the age of 18, may have information compromised.
- 13.5 million records of Californians containing personal information were accessed by hackers in the Anthem cyberattack. Of all the states, the largest number of records stolen were from Anthem's California customers.
How do I know if my personal information as accessed?
Anthem has sent emails to millions of members who provided their email addresses and who had information in the database that was compromised. Anthem is sending mailed notifications through U.S. Postal Service.
In addition to the notices that Anthem is sending by U.S. Postal Service mail to the 78.8 million potentially breach-impacted members, Anthem is also sending email correspondence with the same information regarding the breach and how to protect themselves to policyholders who elected to receive email notifications from Anthem.
Consumers should still be cautious of electronic communications and be aware of phishing scam emails.
Anthem customers should not reply to or open attachments from any emails that include a "click here" link and should never provide sensitive information (i.e. Social Security Number or financial information) in response to emails or phone calls.
What is Anthem doing to protect my information?
Anthem notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation once the breach was discovered, and sent email notices to Anthem consumers for whom Anthem had email addresses. Anthem has retained a cybersecurity firm to evaluate the extent of the attack. Anthem has reported that it is working to determine exactly whose information was taken and what information was taken. Anthem will then notify all affected consumers by U.S. Postal Service mail. Consumers should be suspicious of any other form of correspondence that appears to be from Anthem about the loss of their personal information.
Anthem also reports that it will provide free credit monitoring and identify protection services to all who were affected. Consumers are able to sign up for these services and they will be free of charge for two years. Information on how to enroll is posted at anthemfacts.com.
Identity Repair Assistance: AllClear ID is able to assist Anthem customers whose information may have been breached with identity repair assistance. This service is automatically available with no enrollment required. If a problem arises, consumers should call the Anthem helpline and an investigator will work to recover financial losses, restore and repair credit to pre-theft status.
For greater protection, consumers should actively enroll in AllClear Pro services, which offer the following:
Credit monitoring: Alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts.
Child identity protection: For a child under 18 years old, AllClear ID ChildScan finds acts of fraud against children by searching data files for use of your child's information.
Identity theft insurance: A $1 million identity theft insurance policy.
This information is being mailed and/or emailed by Anthem to former and current customers, however, you do not have to wait for such notifications to enroll. Customers may enroll in these services by visiting anthemfacts.com and clicking on the AllClear ID link or by calling 877-263-7995. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones advises current and former Anthem customers who may have been victims of the breach to enroll immediately in the extra protection. He also advises parents enroll their children and remain vigilant in monitoring their credit even beyond those 24 months.
What is the California Department of Insurance doing?
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has directed the Department of Insurance to open an investigation of Anthem's data breach. Commissioner Jones has been in communication with Anthem officials regarding the steps Anthem is taking to respond to the breach. The Department will continue to monitor the situation and work to make sure that Anthem provides consumers with the resources they need to address negative impacts on credit or other financial consequences of the breach.
Commissioner Jones works with other state insurance regulators throughout the country, through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Given the potential scope of the breach and the number of consumers impacted, the NAIC has announced a national, multi-state examination of the Anthem companies and anticipates all 56 states and territories will sign on to the examinations, which will be inclusive of all subsidiaries and affiliates of Anthem affected by the breach.
The California Department of Insurance is a lead state in the multi-state combined financial and market conduct examination. The financial and market conduct examinations will investigate all aspects of the data breach. A major component will include analyzing Anthem's information technology systems to determine what protections were in place and what actions could have been taken to minimize data losses.
What should I do now?
Make sure to closely monitor your accounts, credit score, bank, credit card and other financial information. Contact your bank or Credit Card Company if you notice suspicious activity on your account.
Enroll in the AllClear ID Pro services at anthemfacts.com and contact the California Department of Insurance if you need help or have questions.
Most importantly, you should continue to monitor the situation closely. Anthem has said it is not yet aware of any fraudulent activity against policyholders that has occurred as a result of the breach. However, as with any data breach, be on the lookout for suspicious solicitations or communications, including email "phishing" efforts to collect sensitive information, like user names, passwords and credit card information.
Until Anthem identifies specifically which of its current and former consumers were impacted, you won't know if your data and what data was taken. If you are a current or former Anthem customer, you should review the consumer alerts that Anthem has released and posted on its websites.
Beware of Scammers
Members who may have been impacted by the cyberattack against Anthem should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as "phishing") are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a "click here" link for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem.
Do not click on any links sent to you in an email or via social media, as scammers will try to take advantage of the breach. Often they will send phishing emails that appear to be from your bank or Anthem offering to help.
Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyberattack and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone. All impacted members will receive notice via mail which will advise them of the protections being offered to them as well as any next steps.
- Anthem's Consumer Helpline: (877) 263-7995
- Website with up-to-date information regarding the breach: www.anthemfacts.com
- California Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline: (800) 927-4357 (HELP)
- Make an online inquiry at www.insurance.ca.gov