Breaking news yesterday, Anthem Inc. released a statement that hackers were able to break into their database and retrieve personal and confidential information of millions. They are unsure how cyber attackers broke into their system but believe that it was a onetime event that occurred last week.
We do not know the exact number of victims or the full extent of the information retrieved from hackers. However, based off of what is being reported by USA Today and released in a statement by Anthem Inc., we believe that potentially 80 million people’s (current and former customers, as well as employees) data has been breached including the following information: names, email addresses, Social Security Numbers, addresses, birthdays, and possibly medical identification numbers.
Please review these steps if you have ever been, or currently are, a customer or employee of Anthem Inc.:
Step 1: Review your InfoArmor account to ensure your personal information is up to date. Also be sure to take advantage of additional features such as activating CreditArmor and inputting information (including medical ID cards) into WalletArmor.
By updating your account information we can monitor the underground market and continue to watch for fraudulent activity using your information, ensuring that we alert you of any suspicious activity or help you begin the process of recovering from identity theft.
Step 2: Change your password of the email account that was used within Anthem’s records and any profile passwords that are associated with this account (e.g. online banks, social media, etc.).
Your passwords should be at least eight characters long and a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Your passwords should not be shared across more than one account.
Step 3: Place fraud alerts with credit bureaus
Fraud alerts are good for 90 days, free of charge and renewable an infinite amount of times. An individual can place an alert with one of the bureaus and that bureau will notify the other two. To place a fraud alert please visit one of these links:
Step 4: Let your bank and credit card companies know immediately
Bringing your bank and credit card companies to attention of this breach can lock down your account against attacks. Banks and credit card companies will actually excuse you from any financial liability caused by data breaches. When dealing with identity thieves, a few minutes can be the difference between losing a dollar or losing everything in your checking account.
Additionally, if you have reason to believe your information has been used to commit fraud, complete the following steps:
Create an identity theft affidavit with the FTC
While you already have a police report in hand, you’ll also want to contact the Federal Trade Commission to build an identity theft affidavit. This affidavit will help you assemble the facts about your case—when the identity theft happened, which accounts were affected, etc.—and get them dated, signed, and notarized. This provides a credible document that you can show to credit card companies, banks, and any other companies you need to in order the fix the damage caused by a data breach.
File a Police Report
For your protection against excessive financial liability, you need to file a report with your local police department as soon as possible. This makes your status as an identity theft victim official. It also creates an official document for you to show the credit bureaus to lock down any activity around your identity.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our Privacy Advocates at (800) 789-2720. We are available to help you Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific.
You may have tightened up your personal account information, but what about your webcam, wireless printers, and DVR passwords? A Russian website was recently launched that shows live streaming of 73,000 unsecure webcams categorized by country. The United States had 11,043 webcams visible to the public, showing their intimate, personal, and private life without consent or awareness. There is nothing that can be done legally to stop the Russian group from streaming these videos, so it is up to individuals to take measure into their own hands.
These personal videos were obtainable through unsecure default passwords and usernames of products purchased by the individuals. Any product that is hooked up to wireless connection, needs a password reset to a complex password that hackers cannot break. This is especially important since there are websites that also list out companies and products default usernames and passwords for the public, so all the thieves need is an IP address to access an individual’s personal information. Make sure you take precautions and security control into your own hands by tightening up your homes webcams, printers, and DVR to protect against fraud, extortion, and personal information that could be used in robbery.
As the new year begins, make sure you stay on top of the newest trends and tactics that identity thieves steal individuals’ funds and personal information. This year’s newest strategy is related to victim’s reward points they receive as they fly and stay in hotels. Reward points are just as valuable as money, thus when an identity thief obtains a victims reward login information they can personally use the points for themselves or sell the information on the dark internet, an e-commerce site for hackers and fraudsters. Thieves can also access missing profile information by looking at social media profiles (birthdate, address, email address, etc.) if an individual has not taken precautions to limit the publicity of the information.
To prevent a thief from stealing your hard earned points and other personal information that could be found on your rewards points profile follow these tips:
- Never leave your boarding pass behind, tear it up after your flight, it contains your name, loyalty number, and member status
- Monitor your rewards account just like a bank account (once a week)
- Don’t duplicate passwords for accounts
- Report any suspicious activity or usage that you see on your rewards account
Have you noticed an increase in email and telephone scams? We have seen a spike in subscriber complaints about telephone callers and emails with people phishing for information. This may be due to increased activity in the hacker community or even be the aftermath of any one of the big data breaches that have occurred.
If you receive an unexpected call or email asking for any amount of information, be on high alert. We have seen reports of fraudulent calls about banks needing to verify credit card digits, individuals trying to gain access to computers remotely to conduct fraud, thieves trying to get home or car information for fake insurance quotes, and more.
If you have any questions about a call or email that is suspicious, do not provide ANY information. Call the phone number listed on your bank statement or use the email address listed on their official website to verify you are working with the correct company. If you do accidentally provide information to a potential scammer, be sure to take proper precautions to protect your identity. Enroll in InfoArmor’s PrivacyArmor at http://www.myprivacyarmor.com.
Are you looking for a new job? Thieves may be targeting you. Fraudsters will build fake websites and job ads that ask for personal information like name, address, Social Security number, and more. Thieves may even send out email alerts about a job posting or a position that you are qualified for.
Don’t let the desperation of a job search cause you to fall victim to identity fraud. Never give out personal information online. Do not give out your Social Security number until you have been hired at a company and are completing new hire paperwork.
When providing any information online, think logically about if it is “too good to be true” and treat that as your warning sign. A resume is full of your personal information so be careful who you give it to.
Data breaches, and credential theft are so prevalent that it is impossible to say when the next one will happen, or even how many people will be affected. Smartphones have made our lives easier in many ways, but they leave us vulnerable to many forms of fraud. Whether your phone is physically stolen, or the information is skimmed, we need to be more aware of our security.
One of the simplest ways to protect your phone is to have a password on your lock screen. This can usually be achieved through the settings section of the phone. Another safety measure is to make sure you don’t store your passwords for important apps like email or banking. A thief can use those apps just as easily as you and before you know it your savings account is drained. Unfortunately thieves have learned how to hack cell phone carriers as well and can have access to your phone through your service provider. These tips are not meant to intimidate, but to encourage safe smartphone usage.
Shopping online, job applications, school logins, and other online sites can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and credit fraud. Hackers are becoming increasingly nimble at creating fake websites that look like the real ones so that the consumer gives them information, so be diligent in checking the URL of any website that you are giving information.
Some other things to look for when checking to see if a site is secure are, a closed yellow padlock symbol in the bottom of the screen, or next to the URL, and an “s” after the “http” in the URL. The “s” means secure. Also be sure you read the websites’ privacy and security policies to make sure you know who they give your information to and how they use it.
Most importantly, only give out the bare minimum. Make sure the site is secure before providing any information online.