Yesterday, Anthem Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurance company, announced that hackers had accessed tens of millions of its records concerning approximately 80 million of its customers and employees. The information included names and SSNs, among other things, and is just the sort of material that a criminal needs to steal a person’s identity. If you are an Anthem customer, you should consider taking the following steps now.

  1. Monitor Your Credit. Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. See http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Set Up a Fraud Alert and/or Security Freeze. Contact one of the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) and set up a fraud alert or security freeze. The alert will inform creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report and request that the creditor contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. (Note: there may be a fee.) The freeze will prevent new credit from being opened in your name without the use of a specific PIN that will be created when you place the freeze.
  3. Watch for Signs of Identity Theft. Start looking for the following: unexplained withdrawals from your bank accounts; missing bills or other mail; bills from medical providers bill for services you didn’t use; rejection of your health insurance claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit or show a condition you don't have; notification from the IRS that more than one tax return was filed in your name or that you have income from an employer that you do not work for.
  4. Look for Communications from Anthem.  Companies that have data breaches involving personal information are required to notify affected individuals.  If you were affected, Anthem will contact you, most likely by letter.  See what services they may offer to help protect you from identify theft, and be sure to take advantage of those services.