By Chuck Bentley
Anthem, a major health insurance company, warned consumers recently to be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former customers of the company. The emails encourage recipients to click a link for credit monitoring services. “These emails are NOT from Anthem,” the insurance company said in the statement.
Here is why this scam is so dangerous. The insurance company announced that its database had been hacked, exposing personal data on as many as 80 million records for current and former customers and employees. The information accessed includes names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses, and employment information, including income data, according to the company. The fraudsters can communicate with you as if they are legitimate.
Advice for recipients is simple: Don’t click on any links, open attachments, or respond to the email sender’s calls to action in any way. Anthem says it will be contacting affected individuals by regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service with specific information regarding how to sign up for credit monitoring. The company has also set up AnthemFacts.com with details about the hack.
My advice is to be very skeptical about emails, phone calls, and even official looking letters no matter how valid or safe they may appear. Check and double check to verify the source before replying to any actions you are being requested to take. First, go the company website. Check the physical address. Go to the About Us section and find members of the staff that can be contacted. Or use the Contact Us section. Call or email the company and ask to speak to an employee or supervisor whose identity can be verified. Ask them about the communication before taking any action.
Originally posted 2/26/2015.