As federal authorities continue to investigate a hack of Anthem databases storing identifying details including names, addresses and Social Security numbers of about 80 million customers, the office of Attorney General Greg Zoeller released the following consumer question-and-answer for affected Hoosiers.
Q. What should Anthem consumers or employees whose personal data might have been breached do to deter identity theft or fraud?
A. Affected Hoosiers are encouraged to visit the AG’s office’s web site and scroll down to “Identity Theft and Security Breaches” in order to sign up for a free credit freeze with each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Registering for a credit freeze will prevent a fraudster from taking out a line of credit in your name without your permission; and you can easily lift the credit freeze at any time if you do wish to apply for new credit or a loan. The sign-up page is directly accessible at http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2891.htm.
Q. What warning signs or red flags should current or former Anthem/WellPoint policyholders look for that might indicate their identities have been stolen?
A. If consumers receive a debt collection letter for an unfamiliar debt, or have a credit application rejected when they have a strong credit rating, or receive a credit or charge card that they did not apply for, there is a strong possibility that a consumer has been the victim of identity theft. If identity theft occurs, consumers should file an ID theft complaint with the AG’s office at www.indianaconsumer.com or https://indianaattorneygeneral.secure.force.com/IDTheftComplaintForm. Consumers who suffer identity theft also should make a police report to their local police department or sheriff’s department.
Q. Has the attorney general’s office received any consumer complaints of possible identity theft or fraud that appear connected to this data breach?
A. As of Feb. 5, the Consumer Protection Division has not received any identity theft complaints specifically related to the Anthem data breach. The office is continuing to monitor the situation.
Q. Is there any need for Anthem policyholders to contact the attorney general’s office as a preventive measure if they do not already have indications of identity theft?
A. No, other than to apply for the free credit freeze previously mentioned.
Q. There have been several large data breaches in recent years at retailers and other large companies. Is the attorney general’s office pursuing any changes going forward?
A. Yes. In recent years, the attorney general has recommended — and the Legislature has passed — updates to Indiana’s laws involving identity theft, data security and customer notification to better protect consumers. In the current session of the Legislature, Zoeller has recommended that legislators pass Senate Bill 413. Among other things, SB 413 would require online operators to store consumer or financial data securely, delete or not retain data beyond what is necessary for business purposes, and share or sell data only when authorized by law or when consumers are informed in advance. The bill also would require more prompt and informative notification of affected consumers so they can take action to protect themselves in case of a data breach. SB 413 is scheduled to be heard at 9 a.m. Feb. 10 by the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee in Room 233 of the Statehouse.