Scam Alert Due to Anthem Blue Cross Insurance Hacking: Security Compromised for Cellular Telephone Account Access

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Scam Alert Due to Anthem Blue Cross Insurance Hacking: Security Compromised for Cellular Telephone Account Access

Anthem Blue Cross was hacked earlier this year, and 80 million current and past Anthem members, plus others with insurances associated with Anthem, lost personal data:  Names, along with the associated addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, birthdates and medical insurance membership numbers.  Consumers have been cautioned to watch for fraudulent “phishing” emails and false medical charges on their records (http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/anthem-hack-credit-monitoring-wont-catch-medical-identity-theft-n300836). 

However, a local senior recently found out a new way to use the information, when an iPhone was ordered on the senior’s Verizon account without permission.  The thief used the name, number and last 4 of the social security number to gain access to the account by phone.  Verizon allows the use of the last 4 of the social security number for account access when the user cannot remember the telephone access code.  The Verizon Fraud Unit notified the account holder the same day, luckily alerted by the fact that the Verizon customer had just updated the phone the prior month. The data was highly likely to be from the Anthem data breach because no other recent hacking had involved the senior, and the Anthem data lost fit the profile of what the hackers used to obtain access to the Verizon account.  The senior has now alerted Verizon of the security loophole created in their telephone access system because of the Anthem data breach.  Until Verizon changes the telephone access security system in use, consumers are advised to call their cellular provider and specifically block the use of their social security number for account access of any sort.  If not for updating the phone recently, the senior would not normally have been notified of the purchase in time, before the phone had shipped, resulting in the loss of several hundred dollars to the consumer or the cellular provider, and the associated hassles of straightening out the mess.