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Advice to follow after a data breach

The Clarendon Enterprise of Clarendon, Texas

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bob's whittlin'

Hi, gang! Well it looks like someone has gotten a lot of medical insurance information. Anthem Insurance is Latest Corporation to be hacked. I checked, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield is included. I'm not sure at this writing if Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas is included. I did call Blur Cross/Blue Shield of Texas and they advised that they were a different company and were not included. They did suggest not to open any emails or provide any information from all insurance companies without checking with the company first.

Advice on What to Do After a Breach: Tens of millions of Americans 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.

Anthem has set up a separate website with information on the breach, but Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers always go to a company's main website first and follow links from there, (https://www.anthem.com/health-insurance/home/overview) Scammers often take advantage of data breaches and subsequent confusion to set up spoof websites and send phishing emails.

BBB offers the following 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. Go to http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/10/how-to-freeze-out-identity-theft/to learn more about security freezes and fraud alerts, http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/10/how-to-freeze-out-identity-theft/. 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 cain act quickly to repair the damage. Vigilance is key.

Regularly check your credit reports at http://www.bbb.org/bliog/2013/10/how-to-freeze-out-idcntity-theft/for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud. (NOTE: This is the only free credit report option authorized by the Federal Trade Commission.) For more information and complete step-by-step guidance on repairing the damage caused by identity theft, visit the FTC's identity theft resources (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft).

Stay safe and be careful out there.



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Original Publication Date: February 12, 2015



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