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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

4 ID Theft Warning Signs After Anthem Breach

4 identity theft warning signs from Anthem data breach.

Warning signs that your identity may have been stolen as a result of the Anthem data breach

Anthem, Inc. announced on Wednesday that as many as 80 million current and former members may be victims of the largest data breach ever experienced by a health care provider. Hackers gained access to a database that included members’ names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, contact information and employment data. Anthem members whose information has been compromised can expect a letter with more information in the next two weeks. The company is also expected to provide free credit and identity monitoring service to victims.

In the meantime, here are some warning signs that your identity could be being used fraudulently and steps you can take now to help protect yourself.


Requests for Your Information


The hackers know your name, mailing address, phone number and Anthem member ID. This means they have all the information they need to send you communications that appear to be from Anthem in an attempt to gather more personal information from you.

Be suspicious of mail or phone calls claiming to be from Anthem. While the communications may actually be legitimate, it's better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, do not contact Anthem via a phone number or visit the web address on any communications you receive. Instead, contact anthem at www.AnthemFacts.com or 1-877-263-7995 which have both been established for customers impacted by this breach.

If you haven't done so already, unsubscribe from mailing lists and junk mail and add your phone number to the do not call registry This way you'll know that no legitimate company following the law will send you pre-approved credit offers or call you.


Suspicious Email Communications


Your email address could provide an identity thief with a potential goldmine of information. Consider how many accounts your email address is tied to as both a user name and for notifications about changes in your account. If the thief is able to get into your email account, the potential damage they can do is unlimited. Be on the lookout specifically for phishing attempts that appear to be from Anthem. Be especially cautious of suspicious emails requesting any personal information from you.

When you receive emails asking you to log into your account, even if it looks legitimate, type the website into your browser yourself to log in or use a password manager tool, rather than clicking on the link in the email. Sometimes phishers will send you to spoofed websites that look identical to the real site without you realizing. Once enter your username and password and attempt to log in, they're actually saving your credentials so they can use them to take over your account.

You may want to also consider closing the email account down completely and creating a new account, especially if it is associated with any of your financial accounts. And if your email service doesn't have one already, consider turning on a spam filter which can help prevent phishing attempts from ever making it to your inbox.


Unexpected Bill Collectors or Credit Application Denials


The hackers have your social security number, name, and date of birth which is more than enough to open new lines of credit in your name. Signs of this fraudulent activity can be calls or bills from debtors and collection agencies, changes to your credit score, or unexpected denials for credit applications or failed background checks.

Monitor your credit report closely and look for new accounts opened without your authorization. Be sure to take advantage of the free monitoring service that Anthem will be providing to victims so you can receive prompt alerts when certain activity is detected. You may also want to consider enrolling in a monitoring service after the free service expires as well. Unfortunately, once your Social Security Number has been compromised, the consequences can last a lifetime.
If you want to be extra cautious, you can contact the credit bureaus and request a free fraud alert which requires that additional authorization be provided by you before new credit is issued.


Denied Tax Claims


The thieves gained access to your employer information including your income which means your taxes could be at risk. Last year the IRS estimates that criminals stole more than $5.2 billion in refunds by filing fraudulent tax returns. If your return is rejected, take action immediately to determine why. If you haven't already filed, the sooner you do, the less time a thief has to file for you.

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