I first reported to you about the huge data breach at Anthem, a major health care company in February of 2015 when it was initially discovered. The data breach affected 78.8 million patients and employees. The data stolen included birth dates, Social Security numbers and other information putting the victims in extreme danger of identity theft. In response to the data breach Anthem offered free identity theft repair and credit monitoring services to current or former members of Anthem plans going back to 2004.
A class action filed by people affected by the data breach has recently been settled with the settlement now awaiting approval by a federal judge in California overseeing the case. A final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for February, 1, 2018.
Here is a link to the settlement.
Approval is expected. Under the terms of the settlement, Anthem will offer two more years of identity theft repair and credit monitoring services to those affected and will pay up to fifteen million dollars toward out of pocket costs incurred by victims of the data breach. Anthem also agreed to make substantial changes to its cybersecurity systems. The total amount to be paid to settle the class action is 115 million dollars which is more than five times what Target and Home Depot spent to settle similar charges. The primary reason for this is that in the Target and Home Depot data breaches all that was lost was credit card information while in the Anthem breach, personal information that can lead to significant identity theft was stolen. Hopefully, this will serve as a wake up call to companies to upgrade their cybersecurity. It is important to also note that, as with so many data breaches, this was started when an employee clicked on a link in a simple phishing email.
Notices to class members will start going out this month informing them that they will have 90 days to file a claim or opt out of the class action and file their own private lawsuit. I will notify you when the settlement is approved and let you know how to make a claim and apply for the additional credit monitoring and identity theft protection as well as apply for out of pocket expense reimbursement.
Neither Anthem nor AllClear ID, the company Anthem is using to provide credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to victims of the data breach assists with credit freezes although it would be advisable to put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian if you were a victim of this or any other data breach. You can find out how to put a credit freeze on your credit report by putting in the key words “credit freeze” in the Search the Website section of Scamicide at the top right hand corner of this page.