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Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, is the latest victim of a cyber attack in which hackers stole personal information, including the names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, medical IDs, addresses, employment information and income data, of more than 80 million Americans.
“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack,” Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish said in a statement posted on this site, created specifically to address the attack.
It appears to be the largest health care data breach ever, USA Today said.
If you’re an Anthem customer, here’s what you need to know:
- Which plans are impacted? Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink and DeCare were impacted in the data breach.
- How will I know if my personal information is vulnerable? “We are working around the clock to determine how many people have been impacted and will notify all Anthem members who are impacted through a written communication,” Anthem said. The health care company went on to say that letters would be sent out to those members in the coming weeks.
- Was my medical history or credit card information stolen? Anthem said it didn’t appear that the cyber thieves accessed credit card or medical information.
- How is this different from other cyber attacks (for example: Target or Home Depot)? Because this data breach includes Social Security numbers, it’s more serious than the breaches at Target and Home Depot, which only involved credit/debit card numbers. With your Social Security number in hand, fraudsters can steal your identity, apply for a job, or get a credit card and rack up debt, all in your name.
- Can I talk to someone about my concerns? If you have questions about the data breach, Anthem recommends calling this number: 1-877-263-7995.
- What can I do now? Money suggests monitoring your credit report, or even putting a fraud alert on it. “A fraud alert tells creditors to double-check whenever someone applies for credit in your name,” Money said.