Cartoon by Gary Varvel
So since the Anthem data breach occurred, several people who either currently have or have had Anthem coverage have asked me what they should do. To the best of my knowledge, Anthem has not yet sent out any notification letters informing individuals that their specific information was breached. But, Anthem seems to know the universe of individuals whose information may have been compromised, and this is what they are using to notify the general public about the scope of the breach that has occurred. Anthem has set up a website to provide information about what happened and what data may have been compromised. For the time being, they are saying that if you are or have been a client of Anthem’s affiliated health plans and/or a member of other independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in the last 10 years (essentially since 2004), you may be impacted. Many companies who offer insurance through Anthem have posted links or emailed their employees about the fact that the breach occurred. For my colleagues here at UConn, you may have seen that Kevin Lembo, the Comptroller for the State of Connecticut, has posted a notification to State Employees about the breach on the Office of the State Comptroller’s website.
So back to my post from yesterday: I have just learned that my information may have been compromised in the Anthem Breach; what do I do? Well, first I would start with Anthem’s informational website they created about the breach. Anthem is offering an option for individuals who may have been impacted by the breach to protect themselves for the next 24 months (and some of the services carry over beyond 24 months depending on what you choose to do).
More information about what Anthem is offering through AllClear ID can be found here. But to get you started, AllClear ID is offering a couple of different options to those impacted by the Anthem breach: AllClear Secure and AllClear PRO. The services are very different.
So should you consider the services offered through AllClear ID? Is AllClear ID reputable? Is taking a wait-and-see approach and using AllClear Secure if you find your identity has been harmed later the right approach? What about the fact that you would have to give AllClear ID your social security number to enroll in AllClear PRO?
Enrolling in services such as those provided by AllClear ID is a personal choice. If you are not opening up new credit any time soon (i.e., buying a car, opening a credit card, buying a home), you may be comfortable waiting or monitoring your credit on your own. If you are going to be opening up new credit, or do not want to monitor your credit on your own, you may want to consider AllClear PRO as an option.
Yes, AllClear ID is a known entity. They have handled numerous of the large breaches. In full disclosure, they are the vendor that UConn has used when we have had data breaches in the past. There are certainly other reputable companies in the marketplace that offer credit monitoring and/or identity repair services. Your bank and credit card companies likely offer services as well. Again, how you personally monitor your credit and your own sensitive information is a personal choice.
BUT, be aware that there are also scam artists out there looking to further take advantage of the vulnerability you are now feeling.
So here are my suggestions:
- Read the notifications you receive from your employer, on Anthem’s general breach information websites and should you receive one, direct notification to you from Anthem.
- Read the options that Anthem is offering through AllClear ID. Call AllClear ID at 877-263-7995 and ask questions of their advisors if you feel you need more information about the services available.
- Think about your own personal situation. Decide what (if any) sort of credit monitoring, protection, insurance and/or assistance might be useful for you.
- And again, going back to my blog post from yesterday, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) identity theft information page, the Better Business Bureau, your State’s Attorney General (here is Connecticut’s) or Consumer Protection agencies, and the credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, Equifax) for more information and other options to assist you.