Last week, when we reported how hackers had breached a database containing the records of 80 million current or former Anthem insurance customers, we also included a “pre-emptive scam warning” alerting you to the fake emails or text messages which scammers were certain to start sending out in Anthem's name.
Sure enough, the scam artists of the world immediate started producing so much Anthem-themed malware and phishing bait that the Better Business Bureau and Anthem itself have both posted warnings about it.
To clarify: Anthem has not emailed anybody about the hacking, and it hasn't called anybody either. Therefore, if you get any email supposedly from Anthem about the hacking, you should delete it at once. And if you get a phone call from someone purporting to be an Anthem representative wanting to discuss hacking-security matters with you, hang up. That wasn't a genuine Anthem representative reaching out to you; that was a scammer.
Anthem posted a scam alert on its “Investor relations” website:
“Individuals who may have been impacted by the cyber attack against Anthem, should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem.”
The scam alert went on to say that “Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.”
When Anthem starts contacting certain customers about the hacking, these communications will be done through the old-fashioned U.S. Postal Service – no electronic communication at all. Nor will Anthem ask thse customers for any personal information. Indeed, Anthem's online scam-email warning includes this bold-print statement:
Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.