ANTHEM (EMPIRE BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD) DATA SECURITY BREACH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (owner of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in New York) reported that it has been a victim of a cyber attack and, as a result, there was a breach involving the personal information of its policyholders. The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) is monitoring the Anthem security breach and encourages you to take steps to protect yourself if you think you may be an impacted policyholder.
You Should Consider Taking the Following Actions to Protect Yourself
Make sure to closely monitor your credit card, monthly bills, and bank statements regularly for transactions you did not make, and check your credit report and credit score. If you see any signs of fraud, report this immediately to the affected organization, both by phone and certified mail. You may ask your bank or credit card company to put a security block on your account or preemptively request a new credit or debit card.
Consider having the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) place a fraud alert in your file. A fraud alert generally lasts for 90 days, although it can be extended.
Equifax Fraud Assistance Department: (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance: (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com
Experian: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742) or www.experian.com
Furthermore, if you are a victim of identity theft or think that you may be a victim, consider placing a “security freeze” on your credit report with the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). It generally stops prospective creditors from accessing your credit files to review your credit history, thus preventing any new credit from being opened for you, unless you authorize the agencies to allow access. Restricting access to your credit report will make it more difficult for identify thieves to open new accounts in your name. The procedures for obtaining a security freeze are slightly different for each of the three credit reporting agencies, and for the security freeze to work it is necessary to obtain the freeze with each of the three agencies. Be sure to protect the information of your family as well – including children and elderly parents. For more information about a security freeze, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Information Credit Freeze FAQs.
Victims of identity theft should also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and create an Identity Theft Affidavit.
If you suspect that someone is using your Social Security number, you can call the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 or go to www.ssa.gov/oig. You can also check your earnings record by calling (800) 772-1213.
Watch Out for “Phishing” Scams
Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber-attack and is not asking for credit card information, Social Security numbers, or any other personal information over the phone. Breach victims should not provide information to anybody who calls them claiming to be from Anthem. Furthermore, breach victims should not provide any information in response to an email (or a link within), as these could be scam emails targeting current and former Anthem members. These email “phishing” scams, designed to capture personal information like user names, passwords and credit card information and containing links designed to get recipients to click on them, may appear to come from Anthem. These emails are NOT from Anthem. Do not click on any links (including links to free credit monitoring) sent to you in an email, or via social media, as any personal information you send through these links will be transmitted to scammers taking advantage of the breach.
For more information, contact Anthem (Empire) at (877) 263-7995, the toll-free number set up to assist consumers, or visit Anthem's special website at www.anthemfacts.com. (Be sure to type in the web address carefully and correctly to avoid being victimized by fraudsters who have set up scam websites ("typosquatters") to capture your personal information.) You can also contact the New York State Department of Financial Services helpline at (800) 342-3736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM). Local calls can be made to (212) 480-6400.