5 On Your Side

NC residents likely affected by Anthem insurance data breach

Posted February 6, 2015

— A "very sophisticated" cyberattack on the nation's second largest  U.S. health insurers likely means some consumers in North Carolina have had their personal information compromised, the state's top prosecutor said Friday.

"We don’t know how many, but we believe there are North Carolina customers who could be affected," Attorney General Roy Cooper said of the data breach involving Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer Anthem.

The company reported Thursday that hackers have accessed some customers' medical information, including birthdays, Social Security numbers and income data – all information that Cooper says could lead to identity theft.

Computer security experts say the Anthem breach is different than other breaches, such as the one that affected thousands of Target customers last year.

That case and several others revolved around retail information.

"With credit cards, you have an idea that someone is going to use that credit card and try to buy something with it," Emerson Murphy-Hill, a computer science professor at North Carolina State University, said. "With medical information, it's a little different. One thing they can do is pretend to be you and get free health care."

Researchers estimate that more than 2 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft. A study set to be released this month says the number of cases grew by nearly 22 percent last year.

"This is a crime that is very hard to track down, and it's a hard crime to know if you are a victim. That's why it's on the rise," said Pam Dixon, executive director of The World Privacy Forum.

Cooper advises customers to monitor their credit reports and bank statements for unusual activity.

It's one piece of advice posted on the North Carolina Department of Justice's website to help consumers protect themselves against financial theft as well as medical identity theft.

Another piece of advice: place a security freeze on your credit to keep anyone from opening a new account without special approval.

"It is a little more complicated for a consumer to do, but we believe that is the very best way to protect yourself," Cooper said.

Since 2005, about 6.2 million North Carolina residents have been effected by data breaches, Cooper says, and he expects that number to keep rising.

"Criminals are going to continue to use technology to try to rob us of our money and, sometimes, of our good name," he said. "So, we are going to have to stay vigilant.

In a statement released Friday, Blue Cross Blue Shield said they are aware of the data breach and are in close communication with Anthem. 


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  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 9, 2015

    [quote=14432670]Post by Walkin Man

    The non profit BCBSNC is not affiliated with Anthem Blue Cross what ever that means. But Anthem Blue Cross definitely operates here as they were our provider as recently as January 2014.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 9, 2015

    View quoted thread

    I had a much different experience as I had to fight to them to pay. It took more than 6 months. They eventually paid three quarters of what they were supposed to at that point I gave up and just paid the rest. That's what crooked insurers do, they wear you down until you give up and pay it yourself.

  • Donald Holder Feb 8, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    My company has Anthem BCBS and I love it. I've never had any problems with them. They have always paid my providers promptly.

  • 50s Child Feb 8, 2015

    Perhaps the best aspect of 0bamacare is that all our records will be online in a crummy website built by his wife's crony. Won't that be fun?

  • Walkin Man Feb 8, 2015

    If you visit BCBSNC's website, they indicate that they are NOT affiliated with Anthem as they are a private company. Anthem doesn't operate in NC. However, if you once lived in one of the states affected and moved to NC that could be a problem.

    Here is the link

  • rushbot Feb 7, 2015

    i read an indiana lawyer is filing a class action lawsuit against anthem...i am not sure if they are also going after the employer's who chose anthem...

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Feb 7, 2015

    I put a security freeze on my file about 10 years ago and it has been a big hassle for ME! First time I went to get a credit check, this time it was for Suncom cell phone company, they could not approve me because of the security lock. I suggest lifelock or a private co

  • hp277 Feb 7, 2015

    Anthem is an affiliate of Blue Cross but is unrelated to BCBSNC. If you are covered by Anthem now or were in the past, the hackers may have your ID info.

    If you are covered by BCBSNC, your info was not hacked. This reporting is a bit sloppy.

  • Paul Donovan Feb 7, 2015
    user avatar

    This article says that medical info was breached which is not the case as reported on Anthem's website as well as in many media outlets. Sloppy reporting.

  • NotLiberal Feb 7, 2015

    Another shameless, free, political ad for Roy Cooper, WRAL's liberal hero.