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5 things all Anthem customers should do after the massive data breach

Tony Bradley | Feb. 11, 2015
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.

In any case, you have everything to gain by checking regularly to make sure no credit history has been created using your child's Social Security number.

5. Be alert as you file your income taxes 

Armed with personal information like your name, address, and Social Security number, attackers could file a fraudulent income tax return in your name. The IRS and state tax authorities aren't really equipped to determine whether the person filing is legitimate. The variety of methods for receiving and cashing a tax refund make it possible for someone to file in your name and have the money spent before the fraud is discovered. At that point, you'll have to jump through some hoops to prove the initial return was fraudulent so you can file a valid tax return.

Anthem won't be the last

You don't have to be an Anthem customer to take lessons from this incident. Your own insurer could be the next victim. "A sad fact is that the healthcare industry by and large has never been seen as a leading edge security consumer because the historical threat has been more focused on financial services," said Mark Kraynak, Chief Product Officer for Imperva. "This is a broad generalization but healthcare targets are probably a little bit softer targets than financial targets."

Jeremiah Grossman, CEO of WhiteHat Security, cautions that there's a good chance other health insurance organizations are already compromised and just don't know it yet. "As these things happen, it would not be surprising if other healthcare institutions reveal that they've been compromised. Often enough, cyber-criminals work in coordinated teams and target market segments, and not just a single entity."

Staying vigilant to identity theft around a data breach is a bit like trying to prevent a house fire by spraying it with a squirt gun after it's already burning, but if you follow these steps you can at least minimize the potential damage.

 

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