What’s the Anthem breach?
- More than 80 million patient records were stolen out of Anthem’s servers.
- If you are an Anthem, Blue Cross or Blue Shield customer, now or in the past, you are probably affected by the breach.
- The data stolen included at least Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, email addresses and employment information.
- Not included in the breach (or at least disclosed as being part) were credit card numbers or medical data.
Why is the Anthem breach so serious?
- When breach includes so much data on each victim, especially your Social Security number, it makes it fairly easy for cyber criminals and identity thieves to create new accounts in your name or takeover existing financial accounts. In other words, they can bank as you, borrow as you and pose as you in order to financially exploit you.
- The loss of medical ID can be devastating, as criminals can potentially cash out your medical benefits, append your medical records with dangerous information (e.g., a different blood type) or apply for loans or services in your name.
What STEPS SHOULD I TAKE RIGHT NOW to protect myself?
1. Monitor the breach and take advantage of the two years of ID theft monitoring they are providing at www.AnthemFacts.com.
2. Monitor your credit reports for free on www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
3. Freeze your credit to keep criminals from taking advantage of your buying power. This is the most powerful step you can take, but it does make it slightly less convenient when you apply for new credit.
4. Call all financial institutions you work with and have them put a “phone-password” on your account so that the thieves can’t simply use your SSN to gain access.
5. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication on all financial accounts to further protect your account.
6. Monitor your financial accounts and health insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for transactions you don’t recognize. Alert the provider if you suspect foul play.
John Sileo delivers keynote speeches designed to make security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact The Sileo Group directly on 800.258.8076.