INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2015)-- Indiana-based Anthem is releasing more specific numbers about who was targeted in a massive data breach. The company now says millions of non-Anthem customers with other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in other states are affected, too.
It's a cyber crime Anthem called very sophisticated, first publicly acknowledging the information theft on February 4. Anthem said hackers got in and swiped personal information, including social security numbers but no medical or credit card information. The company said the attack happened over several weeks in December 2014 and also said there would be impact on non-Anthem customers.
New numbers show what that impact is. Of the 78.8 million affected, Anthem said between 60 and 70 million were actual customers. The rest were not.
This happens because Anthem insures people in 14 states, including Indiana. Anthem has reciprocal agreements that allow people with Blue Cross Blue Shield plans from other states to receive coverage in states where Anthem offers BCBS coverage.
A hypothetical scenario would involve a patient who has Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and travels on a trip to Indiana and receives hospital care, where Anthem offers coverage. Because of that reciprocal agreement, Anthem would receive that patient's information.
Anthem told FOX59 on Wednesday they are contacting all affected, including customers and non-customers through email. A spokesperson said hard copy letters will begin going out Monday and be staggered over the next several weeks.
But with tax season here, fraud's already reported across the country and in Indiana.
"With all the data breaches going on, some of the data that's being stolen and social security numbers, dates of birth, what we call identifying information, when you've got that kind of stuff, you can take out new lines of credit, and in this case, filing taxes and claiming refunds in their name," said Pete the Planner.
Financial experts recommend that if you are affected, you can freeze your credit.
Anthem said all affected will receive two years of free credit monitoring.