MADIGAN ALERTS CONSUMERS TO PHISHING SCAMS IN WAKE OF ANTHEM DATA BREACH
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned consumers who may be affected by the massive data breach reported by the health insurance company Anthem Inc. to be on the lookout for unsolicited phone calls and emails and begin taking steps to protect themselves against identity theft immediately.
Anthem has reported that phishing email scams targeting its customers have surfaced in the wake of its disclosure that personal information of customers and employees were breached by hackers. As many as 80 million records were potentially compromised in the breach that contain names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, email address and employment data.
Madigan urged Illinois consumers to be extremely cautious if they receive emails or unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from Anthem or claiming they can assist them with the data breach because they could be phishing scams. Anthem has alerted its customers that they are not calling or emailing them directly to discuss the data breach and are not asking for any sensitive personal information from them.
The scam starts by "phishing" for a consumer's personal and financial information by sending phony but official-looking emails that include links designed for the consumer to click on, which triggers malware to be installed on a consumer's computer to steal their information. Phishing scams can also originate over the phone when a caller claiming to represent Anthem seeks to extract personal or financial information from a consumer. The scams can result in identity theft in the form of numerous unauthorized charges on a consumer's account or new accounts opened in their name.
"Consumers who receive an email or phone call claiming to be from Anthem should delete it or hang up right away," Madigan said. "People who may be impacted by this breach should immediately begin monitoring their accounts for unauthorized activity. Identity theft is a serious threat, but incorporating a few commonsense precautions in your daily routine can greatly reduce the threat and any damage done as a result of a data breach."
Madigan also offered these tips for consumers who may have been victims of the breach:
Attorney General Madigan also urged Illinois residents to call her office's Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630 (TTY 1-877-844-5461) for assistance. The Identity Theft Unit has helped reverse over $27 million worth of fraudulent charges on over 37,000 Illinois consumers' accounts.