Health insurance company Tufts Health Plans has just disclosed that it was a victim of a data breach through which names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of 8,830 of its customers who had purchased Tufts Medicare Preferred Policies, such as its supplemental Medicare coverage and its prescription drug plan. The data breach is being investigated by federal law enforcement who initially discovered the data breach during the course of another investigation. Tufts did not disclose how the data breach occurred, but is presently saying that it “was not due to an electronic breach, IT system vulnerability or hacking.” However, without further details as to how the data breach was discovered, I must admit that I am skeptical of their firm pronouncement that there was no failure of computer security involved.
Tufts is offering a year of free credit monitoring to those people affected. If you have a Tufts Medicare Preferred Policy I urge you to contact your insurer to see if you were one of the people affected by this data breach. Credit monitoring can be helpful, but it does absolutely nothing to prevent identity theft, it merely enables you to learn that you have become an identity theft victim sooner. A better thing to do is to put a credit freeze on your credit report so that even if someone has your Social Security number and other personal information about you, they cannot access your credit report and get credit in your name. On the right hand side of this page you will find a link to information on credit freezes and how to get one.