Following the Anthem hack attack that potentially exposed the personal information of some 80 million customers, another danger has arisen: "Phishing" emails attempting to scam those same customers of even more personal information.
Ars Technica reports that scammers are using the hacked information to email Anthem customers in the hopes of gaining access to customers' personal data. The extent of this phishing campaign is unknown at this time, but Anthem's press release regarding the scam asserts, "There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers."
How the Scam Works
Internet scam artists are sending emails designed to look like they are from Anthem and offer recipients free credit monitoring services. Once a recipient clicks on the links embedded in the email, they are prompted to provide personal information to enroll in the service.
These email scams are known as "phishing," and once scammers have access to a person's identifying information, they can use that data to apply for lines of credit, open fraudulent bank accounts, or even steal a person's identity.
How to Protect Yourself
There are some general rules to avoid phishing scams, like keeping an eye out for suspicious email addresses, being cautious regarding embedded links in emails, and confirming with the sender that the email you received is legit.
In this particular instance, Anthem is advising customers that it is not sending emails regarding this credit monitoring service. Anthem is also "not calling members regarding the cyber attack and is not asking for credit card information or Social Security numbers over the phone." Instead, the company warned customers not to click on any links in these emails, supply any information on the website in the email, or reply to the email in any way.
Anthem will, however, be reaching out via U.S. mail and offering customers affected by the hack its own free credit monitoring and identification protections services.
You can learn more about phishing and online safety by visiting FindLaw's section on Online Scams.