Victims of the cyberattack on insurance provider Anthem will be able to enroll in free credit monitoring and identity theft protection starting Friday, Anthem Inc. announced on its website dedicated to updates on the data breach, anthemfacts.com.
The company hasn’t yet announced the vendor for these services, but they will be available to customers free of charge for two years, twice the yearlong credit monitoring that has become a standard corporate response to data breaches. Those affected by the breach — potentially 80 million people whose names, birth dates and Social Security numbers were compromised — can check anthemfacts.com for details on how to sign up for the free services.
If you’re in this group of affected consumers, you should consider taking advantage of the free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Keep in mind that your risk of identity theft does not expire when the free services do. You’ll have to pay for credit monitoring once the free subscription expires, of course, and as burdensome as that seems, it goes with the theme of data breaches: They’re unfair. As a consumer, you can’t be sure your sensitive information is safe in the hands of the many companies you trust with it, so you have to live with the constant threat of identity theft.
Beyond whatever will come in this free credit monitoring package, you should check your free annual credit reports and review your credit scores, which you can also get for free through a variety of places. Regularly looking at your credit scores — you can get two credit scores for free on Credit.com every 30 days — and the information on your credit reports will help you spot signs of fraud, like an account you didn’t open or a score that tanked unexpectedly. These are good habits to practice, regardless of whether you were in that Anthem database, because the sooner you find evidence of fraud, the faster you can prevent and recover from related financial damage.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- 3 Dumb Things You Can Do With Email
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?