By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s being called a very sophisticated cyber-attack. Anthem, the nations-second largest health insurer says hackers breached a database containing customer and employee information. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has advice to protect yourself.READ MORE: Large Flames Shoot Through Roof Of Princeton University's Theological Seminary Library
Anthem runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in more than a dozen states. While credit card and medical information doesn’t appear to be compromised, hackers were able to access and likely steal tens of millions of Anthem records. Personal information including Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of up to 80 million customers and employees.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) says, “It is not only breathtaking but mind bending in its extent and impact and potentially heartbreaking for consumers that may be affected.”
With the move to electronic health records, the healthcare sector has increasingly found itself targeted by hackers. Dr. Robert Wah of the American Medical Association says, “There is an arms race going on between cyber criminals and those of us in health care trying to protect the integrity of our information.”READ MORE: Pennsylvania Lottery Generates $1.3 Billion In Sales To Benefit Seniors
Anthem, which recently changed its name from WellPoint, paid $1.7 million in 2013 to resolve government allegations that it had inadequate data safeguards in place.
Anthem has set up a special website where customer can go for information about the hacking, http://www.anthemfacts.com.
Current and former customers will be notified if their data has been stolen and free credit monitoring and identity protection services will be offered to those affected.
Even though Anthem doesn’t have many customers in our region, this is yet another example of why all of us have to keep a close eye on our personal information. That includes checking your credit report on a regular basis for errors or bogus accounts. You can do that for free at www.annualcreditreport.comMORE NEWS: EXCLUSIVE: Casey Johnston's Parents Speaks Out After Missing Daughter's Body Found
To learn how to freeze your credit report, visit: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs