Tens of millions of Americans - and thousands of Kentucky residents - could be victims of the latest corporate data breach, this one at Anthem Insurance.
Unknown hackers apparently stole personal identifying information (PII)
from current and former Anthem customers, including names, addresses,
Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other information that can
be used for identity theft. In a news release, the Better Business
Bureau serving Central and Eastern Kentucky has tips for Kentuckians who
may be affected by this breach.
Anthem has set up a separate website with information on the breach, but
BBB recommends that consumers always go to a company’s main website
first and follow links from there. Scammers often take advantage of data
breaches and subsequent confusion to set up spoof websites and send
BBB offers these suggestions for consumers concerned that their PII has been stolen (also available at bbb.org/breach):
Do not take a “wait and see” approach as you may have done with breaches
involving credit card data. 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.
Consider taking a preemptive strike by freezing your credit reports.
This will not impact existing credit cards and financial accounts, but
will create a roadblock for thieves seeking to create fraudulent
accounts using your personal information.
At a minimum, if you know your Social Security number has been
compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. While less
effective than a freeze, this will provide an extra layer of protection.
Take advantage of the free credit monitoring services Anthem will be
offering to breach victims. While this is not a preventative measure,
this will alert you to new accounts or inquiries using your Social
Security number so that you can act quickly to repair the damage, the
BBB said in its news release.
Vigilance is key. Regularly check your credit reports at
annualcreditreport.com for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud.
Expect that scammers will take advantage of this data breach to send out
phishing emails and other messages that appear to be from Anthem, a
credit bureau or other legitimate companies. Do not click on links from
any email, text or social media messages about this or any other data