SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert in response to the reported Anthem Inc. data breach, which has impacted up to 80 million people.
The Attorney General’s Breach Help: Tips for Consumers has simple instructions for consumers who have been affected by a breach and includes what to do in response to a Social Security number breach. Breach Help is also available in Spanish.
Steps for Responding to Social Security Number Breach:
1. PLACE A FRAUD ALERT.
Contact the three major credit bureaus and place a 90 day “fraud alert.” This helps protect you against the possibility of an identity thief opening new credit accounts in your name. When a merchant checks the credit history of someone applying for credit, the merchant gets an “alert” that there may be fraud on the account.
You will reach an automated telephone system. You will also be sent instructions on how to get a free copy of your report from each of the credit bureaus. Order the reports.
2. REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORTS.
Look through each one carefully. Look for accounts you do not recognize, especially accounts opened since December 2014, when the Anthem breach occurred. Follow the instructions in the report for disputing any questionable information.
3. CONSIDER A SECURITY FREEZE.
Placing a security freeze on your credit files offers longer term protection. For information on how to do this, see “How to Freeze Your Credit Files” at www.oag.ca.gov/privacy/info-sheets.
4. BE WARY OF PHISHING ATTEMPTS.
If you get an email or call from someone claiming to be from Anthem and asking for your personal information, do not provide it. Scammers often take advantage of breaches by offering to help and actually seeking to steal your information. Check with Anthem through the phone number you usually use or one from the phone book, if you want to confirm that such a contact is legitimate.
More consumer information from the Attorney General:
Breach Help: Tips for Consumers
En Español: Ayuda en caso de robo de datos confidenciales
How to Order Your Free Credit Reports
En Español: Cómo encargar sus informes de crédito gratuitos
How to "Freeze" Your Credit Files
Identity Theft Victim Checklist
En Español: Lo que deben hacer las víctimas de robo de identidad
Top 10 Tips for Identity Theft Protection
En Español: Los 10 consejos para protegerse contra el robo de identidad www.oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/idtheft/cis_1_top_10tips_doj_s...?
UPDATE: The breach may pose a risk of medical identity theft, which is the use of someone’s identity to obtain medical services or products or for financial gain. Affected individuals should closely watch the Explanation of Benefits statements they receive from their health insurer. If the statement includes a service or product you did not receive, contact the insurer and ask for details. For more information, see First Aid for Medical identity Theft: Tips for Consumers, https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/privacy/cis_16_med_id_theft.pdf
Anthem has stated that it is not calling members regarding the incident and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone. Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services. For Anthem’s updates on the incident, go to www.anthemfacts.com/faqor call (877) 263-7995