Unlike the previous Home Depot and Target data breaches, the most recent attack on insurance carrier Anthem Inc. could have a bigger impact on advisors. Jamie Cox of Harris Financial Group said Wednesday his office received a phony call from someone claiming to be with Anthem.
Just had our first Anthem hack call today. If you get a call from Anthem, it's fake. Be very watchful over this hack-it's for real.— Jamie Cox (@jamesacoxiii) February 11, 2015
Anthem, which acts as Harris Financial’s group health benefits provider, disclosed it was breached last Wednesday. The company said personal information from its 80 million members has been exposed to hackers over a period of six weeks. Since then, the insurance company has been warning its customers of potential phishing scams using the cyber attack as a pretense. Anthem has told customers it will only be directly communicating via letters to affected customers, not by email or telephone.
“We were already on watch and then we receive a call asking for one of the members of our small group,” Cox says, adding that on all the applications for Anthem, the firm’s staff has the office number listed as the primary contact number.
“This particular person basically did exactly what Anthem said—they called referencing a letter that was sent out,” he says. “They were very professional, but the number was untraceable and the associate who took the call was immediately suspicious.” Cox says the phony caller didn't get far and that the firm's staff did not give out any information before deciding to end the call.
Additionally, Harris Financial was watching the issue because the firm works with a number of Verizon employees and Anthem manages the benefits administration for Verizon. Cox says they’ve already received a number of calls from their clients asking about what they needed to do around identify theft protection and credit monitoring. The firm has been telling clients to stay calm and not take any drastic actions, especially as no one yet knows the full extent of the breach.
“I think this type of hack affects a lot more than somebody who shops at Home Depot, that’s a small segment of the population. But this is massive numbers of people, so we all need to be super vigilant,” Cox says. "This is not just the clients' problem, it affects the advisors too, it's all of us."