Health Care

DeWine, Chamber CEO Respond to Anthem Data Breach

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Following the disclosure of a data breach affecting up to 80 million current and former customers and employees of Anthem Inc., Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine encourages consumers to take steps to protect their personal information and watch for signs of identity theft.

“Even if your information has been compromised, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the victim of identity theft, but it is important to monitor your accounts and check your mail,” he warns. “The sooner you detect a problem, the easier it will be to correct.”

DeWine issued his advisory this afternoon. The data breach was reported late Wednesday and employers were notified via email of the situation (READ STORY)

Anthem is a preferred provider for members of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber. Questioned at a chamber event this mormming, Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the organization, reported he, too, learned about the data breach early this morning.

“It concerns us and we’ll be doing a follow up to see exactly what that entailed and what information we might need to share with our members and customers,” Humphries told The Business Journal.

In his advisory, DeWine offered the following tips for consumers affected by a data breach:

  • Check mail. Consumers should open any letters received and look for notifications regarding a security breach.
  • Monitor bank accounts for suspicious activity, and if any errors are discovered consumers should immediately notify their bank, or credit or debit card provider.
  • Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Consumers should contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion — to place an initial fraud alert, which will stay on their credit report for 90 days. The alert is free of charge and will make it more difficult for someone to open credit unauthorized in an individual’s name.
  • Consider placing a security freeze on credit reports. A security freeze essentially puts a lock on someone’s credit so that most third parties can’t access their report, helping prevent unauthorized accounts from being opened in someone’s name. In Ohio, security freezes are permanent until the individual lift them. Consumers can be charged a $5 fee per credit reporting agency to place or remove a freeze. Contact each credit-reporting agency separately to place a freeze.
  • Check credit reports here. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. The reports can be pulled all three at once, or staggered throughout the year.
  • Beware of scams related to the breach. For example, con artists may pose as a person from the organization that was breached to try to obtain personal information. Calls claiming to provide information about the breach may be scams.

Consumers also should look for signs of possible identity theft, which may include:

  • Unexpected mail, such as a bill for a credit card not signed up for or a member agreement for a bank the consumer isn’t associated with.
  • Unexplained credit card charges.
  • Unexpected collection calls.
  • Another person’s name showing up in a background check.
  • Credit reporting errors or a lower-than-expected credit score.

Victims of identity theft should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit by calling 800-282-0515. The Identity Theft Unit helps victims correct the effects of identity theft.

More information is available at the Ohio Attorney General’s website .

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.