You are probably already well aware of the recent hacking on health insurer Anthem, especially if you are a former or current member. Hackers were able to steal valuable personal information, including names, birthdays, addresses, Social Security Numbers, email and employment information of about 80 million former and current employees and members.
If you feel that you may be at risk, it is necessary to take some preventive measures to make sure that you are protected. We’ve listed down ways on how you can protect yourself.
Stay updated and expect notification from Anthem.
Anthem created a site, Anthemfacts.com, dedicated specifically to provide updated information about the hacking. In this site, the company issued a statement saying that everyone whose information has been hacked will be notified individually. So expect this at any time within the weeks to come.
Change your usernames and passwords.
Gregory S. McNeal, in an article for Forbes.com, suggests changing all your passwords and avoid recycling them, as well as your user IDs, across all your accounts. He recommends the use of a password manager, which “provides you with strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts, and keeps them in a secure encrypted vault on your device.”
Use two-step notification.
Julie Fergerson, chairwoman of the Identity Theft Resource Center, recommends using a second layer of security to your accounts. Some sites provide a two-step notification system, wherein after you log in with your username and password, a code will be sent to your phone via SMS, voice call or mobile app. Access to the account will only be granted once the correct code is used for verification.
Avail of the free credit monitoring from Anthem.
In an article for USAToday.com, James P. Nehf, professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, advises taking up Anthem’s offer for free credit monitoring, which is available for up to one year. Nehf says that doing so will “make you aware if someone tries to get a credit card or open a bank account in your name.”
Monitor your bank account and credit card statements.
Nehf likewise advises people at risk to monitor their bank and credit card statements more closely than before even though bank records were not part of the stolen information. He says that “it is still worth keeping an eye on because it’s hard to predict how your personal information could be used.”
Check your credit reports and consider getting a security freeze.
McNeal further suggests checking your credit reports every few months. This can be done for free from all three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, through Annualcreditreport.com. He goes on to say that getting a security freeze on your accounts should also be considered. This will prevent criminals from creating new accounts under your name.
Monitor your children’s credit.
Remember that you might not be the only one who can also be affected. In an article for Kiplinger.com, Cameron Huddleston said that your children may be at risk too if they are also covered under your Anthem policy. Hackers can also use your children’s credit and it may only be discovered years after especially if the children are still young. So, aside from monitoring your own credit, monitor your children’s as well.
While investigations on the incident are still under way, it doesn’t mean that one should just wait and do nothing. Especially in this case, it would be best to act now in order to protect yourself and your family.