In the aftermath of Anthem’s data breach, BBB offers advice

Special to The Freeman

Feb. 5, 2015

MILWAUKEE — In this data-driven, digital world, a huge fear for most people is having their personal identification information stolen. With the announcement Thursday from health insurer Anthem that hackers infiltrated its computer network and gained access to personal information for customers and employees, the Better Business Bureau issued advice on what people should do in the breach’s aftermath.

According to a letter from Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish, the company “was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack. These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.”

Anthem will provide credit monitoring and identity protection services for free and have created a website where more information about the breach will be posted, www.AnthemFacts.com. People can also call 1-877-263-7995 with concerns or questions.

According to the BBB, scammers often take advantage of data breaches and the confusion people feel resulting from it by creating fake website and phishing emails.

Some tips the BBB offered Thursday were people should not take a “wait-and-see approach.”

“You must act quickly. Breaches involving Social Security numbers have the potential to be far more detrimental to victims, and the damage can be difficult to repair,” according to the BBB.

The organization also suggested acting proactively by freezing credit reports, which it said will not affect existing credit cards and financial accounts, “but will create a roadblock for thieves seeking to create fraudulent accounts using your personal information.”

A person should also vigilantly check their credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com, according to the BBB, for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud.

For more information about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper at www.bbb.org/council/bbb-scam-stopper.