80 million Anthem customers need to follow this advice

There isn’t much the 80 million Anthem customers can do at this point. Their data has already been exposed or compromised in the Anthem breach, and unfortunately most of it is data you can’t just cancel or change: name, address, Social Security number, etc.

I wrote a post with 5 things Anthem customers should do to monitor and protect their identities in the wake of the breach. Most of the tips actually apply to anyone affected by any breach. Actually, most of it is just good advice to follow in general even if you’re not sure your data has been compromised in a breach.

Anthem customers, we feel your pain. The Anthem data breach revealed last week could affect up to 80 million people, and the investigation into the scope of the crime is just starting.

Any breach that exposes data from millions of customers (or even thousands really) is bad, but the Anthem breach is actually worse than retail breaches like Target because of the type of information that was compromised. The fallout and damage from a compromised credit card can be undone. You can’t easily “undo” your name, birthdate, or Social Security number. Now that attackers have your personal information, your identity could be stolen tomorrow, next week, or three years from now.

There’s no way any individual Anthem customer could have protected themselves in this incident, but now that it’s happened, there are some steps you can (and should) take to monitor and protect your identity, in the likelihood that attackers have your information.

1. Visit AnthemFacts

The AnthemFact.com FAQ site is the best source of current information about the data breach.

2. Take advantage of free credit monitoring

Anthem states, “All impacted members will receive notice via mail which will advise them of the protections being offered to them as well as any next steps.”

When you receive that notice, follow the instructions and take advantage of any protection or services Anthem is providing.

Read all of the tips at PCWorld: 5 things all Anthem customers should do after the massive data breach.

3 thoughts on “80 million Anthem customers need to follow this advice”

  1. two years isn’t enough your ssn is for the remainder of your life….anthem should offer protection for the remainder of customers life…or figure out with gov how to change ssn for each person affected

    1. Agreed. Really, I agree with Chester Wisniewski who I spoke to for this article. Companies and govt agencies should immediately stop using the SSN as an identifier at all. Nobody except you and the IRS has any real reason to know your SSN. If they stopped using the SSN and created their own unique identifiers for customers there wouldn’t be any chance of the SSN being compromised, and a new unique identifier could be issued in the case of a breach.

      The sad but fortunate news is that there will most likely be at least one other breach that will affect these 80 million customers in the next two years, and that company will provide more credit and identity monitoring. At the rate data breaches occur it seems like we should all have free credit and identity monitoring in perpetuity.

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