Medical ID Theft a Threat for Anthem Breach Victims, Key Tips

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Key Consumer Tips for Anthem Breach Victims: Be alert for the key areas of attack post-breach, including Medical ID theft

Victims of the Anthem data breach should be aware of three potential areas for risk after the breach:

  • Medical identity theft

  • Financial forms of identity theft

  • Spear phishing and phishing

Medical ID theft is a form of identity theft we discovered and wrote about in 2006. Medical ID theft is when a person uses your identity information to acquire medical goods or services in your name, or to falsely bill for those services or goods. In the past ten years, we have learned a great deal about the crime. Regrettably, the information that was breached in the Anthem attack, such as names and Social Security Numbers, is enough for thieves to commit medical identity theft.

Spear phishing and phishing is when a thief uses information they already have about you to lure you into giving them additional information. Often, this lure will encourage you to give bank account or credit card information through email.

Our tips for consumers are as follows:

  • Take advantage of any free credit monitoring Anthem offers. Credit monitoring will help you keep tabs on the financial forms of identity theft.

  • Be on the alert for emails and perhaps even phone calls from your bank, credit card company, or other companies asking you to “update your account information” or “complete your profile.” Banks and financial institutions no longer send out these kinds of emails. If you see an email like this, delete it and don’t respond to it.

  • Medical identity theft can take place one or even two years after a breach. Watch closely for any medical additions that are not yours to your health records, unusual activities coming through in your benefit statements, or any medical collections for unpaid bills that are not yours.

  • Be aware that medical identity theft is a complex crime, and hard to detect and cure. The best preventive action you can take right now is to get a copy of your medical records in the next week. You will want this to create a clean baseline record that you keep.

  • We have many additional and time-tested tips for victims of medical forms of identity theft. See our links below to peruse these tips.

Key Resources for Victims:

WPF has the most extensive Medical ID Theft and Patient Help resources online. Here are the best places to start:

FAQ for Medical ID theft: How to recover if you are a victim ( Detailed step-by-step with sample letters)

Consumer Tips for Victims of Medical ID Theft (or if you are worried about it)

The WPF Medical ID Theft Information Page (Many resources on this page, including a detailed report on medical identity theft)

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA (An extensive guide to navigating HIPAA and health privacy, written for patients in non-legalese)