AG Herring encourages Anthem subscribers to take advantage of free credit monitoring following data breach
Attorney General Mark R. Herring urged Anthem subscribers in Virginia to take advantage of the two years of free credit monitoring and financial protection services being offered by the company following last month’s data breach. According to Anthem, hackers breached the company’s computer systems and gained access to the names, birthdays, medical ID’s, social security numbers, email addresses, and employment information, including income data, for 3.77 million subscribers in Virginia and around 80 million subscribers across the nation.
“Anthem has moved quickly to mitigate the risk to its customers from this data breach, and affected subscribers should do the same,” said Attorney General Herring. “Anthem has been in touch with our office and the State Corporation Commission since the breach was identified and I strongly encourage Virginians to take advantage of the services that they have made available. Breaches of this magnitude create a significant risk of scams, fraud, and identity theft and consumers should take proactive steps to help protect their data and identity. I will continue to do all I can to ensure Virginians are protected in this matter.”
Anthem is Virginia’s largest insurer and the second largest in the nation. The data breach is believed to have affected the customer information of Virginians enrolled in Anthem’s associated health plans or under other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans working with Anthem, such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia.
Notices have been or will be mailed to affected customers, but customers don’t need to wait to visit www.anthemfacts.com to sign up for protection. The free identity protection services provided by Anthem include two years of:
- Identity Repair Assistance: Should a member experience fraud, an investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore the member’s credit, and ensure the member’s identity is returned to its proper condition. This assistance will cover any fraud that has occurred since the incident first began.
- Credit Monitoring: At no cost, members may also enroll in additional protections, including credit monitoring. Credit monitoring alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts.
- Child Identity Protection: Child-specific identity protection services will also be offered to any members with children insured through their Anthem plan.
- Identity theft insurance: For individuals who enroll, the company has arranged for $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance, where allowed by law.
- Identity theft monitoring/fraud detection: For members who enroll, data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and emails will be scanned against aggregated data sources maintained by top security researchers that contain stolen and compromised individual data, in order to look for any indication that the members’ data has been compromised.
- Phone Alerts: Individuals who register for this service and provide their contact information will receive an alert when there is a notification from a credit bureau, or when it appears from identity theft monitoring activities that the individual’s identity may be compromised
The Attorney General’s Office works to ensure that companies hit by database breaches comply with Virginia law by notifying affected Virginians. In 2014, the OAG received 305 database breach notifications. Because data breaches lead to an increased risk of identity theft and fraud, all Virginians should regularly monitor their financial accounts and credit reports. Free credit reports may be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com.
In addition, citizens should heed the following:
- Use strong passwords for your email, computer, and financial accounts, including variations of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 characters
- Install anti-virus programs on your computer and scan files and emails regularly
- Never download software programs from unknown publishers
- Check for regular updates to your operating system
- Install and activate a software and hardware firewall on your computer
- Back-up all of your data regularly using a USB drive
The Attorney General’s Computer Crimes section and Victim Notification program are dedicated to empowering Virginians to protect themselves from identity crime and financial crimes, and works with Virginians who find themselves victims to this increasingly common crime. The office publishes the informational resource, How to Avoid Identity Theft – A Guide for Victims of Identity Theft.
Additionally, the office offers an Identity Theft Passport, a wallet-sized card that you can carry and present to law enforcement or other individuals who may challenge you about your identity if you have been a victim of an identity crime. The Identity Theft Passport is available to any Virginian who has filed a police report claiming they are a victim of an identity crime or who has obtained a court order expunging their record as a result of an identity crime. The Attorney General’s Office conducts investigations to confirm the legitimacy of all passport applications. You may download the Identity Theft Passport from the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.virginia.gov/
For additional information and resources regarding computer crimes and other consumer issues, please visit Attorney General Herring’s website at www.ag.virginia.gov/.