Anthem, Inc., says it is contacting any current or former members who may have been affected by a recent breach of their data system.
In a message to members the company said, “Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack.” Anthem confirmed that the breach did not contain medical or credit card information, but the hackers did gain access to names, birthdays, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and employment information for the approximately 80 million people stored in the database of the nation’s second-largest health insurance company.
“I believe this is the largest healthcare data breach that has been reported,” said John Sancenito, President, INA.
INA is a a security consulting company in Harrisburg. Their experts say the type of information that was accessed can be sold on the black market.
“Often thieves in foreign countries buy up the identities and then they slowly over time apply for credit in those individuals names and it is hard to tell exactly when they will do it. They could do it today, they could do it a year from now, they could do it 6 years from now,” said Sancenito.
Experts suggest keeping an eye on your credit report and reporting anything suspicious immediately.
“A lot of the credit card companies have time restrictions in which you must report or claim that charges are fraudulent, so as soon as you discover them the most important thing is to immediately notify them in writing that was not you and that you are disputing the claims,” said Sancenito.
Anthem is providing free credit monitoring and identity protection services to those who were potentially affected. Concerned members can call 1-877-263-7995.