UPDATE: As of March 24, 2015, W&L can only consider your case if you have experienced actual fraud. This would include unauthorized charges on your credit cards or accounts opened in your name. It also includes notification from medical professionals or facilities for treatment you never received, or from the IRS that your tax refund went to someone else posing as you. If any of these situations have occurred, please contact us at (800) 476-6070.
The Anthem Inc. data breach class action lawsuit brought this month by Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. seeks to protect tens of millions of children — and not just adults — affected by the health insurance giant’s massive loss of sensitive confidential records, the New York-based law firm today announced.
Children — whose parents are among the estimated 80 million Anthem customers victimized by the data breach — stand to lose potentially far more than the adults as a result of the mid-December 2014 computer break-in.
“The children of Anthem policy holders may be the most vulnerable victims,” said Robin L. Greenwald, who heads W&L’s Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection Unit.
Time to Act Against Anthem Is Now
Many parents erroneously assume their children are not in harm’s way because of an absence of indications that the youngsters have been targets of identity theft.
However, W&L warned it may be years or decades before it becomes evident that an Anthem policy holder’s child has been financially damaged, possibly severely.
By then it may be too late to exercise legal rights against Anthem through the mechanism of W&L’s class action lawsuit, the firm indicated.
Consequently, “the time for parents to join the class action lawsuit against Anthem to hold that corporation responsible for allowing the data breach to occur and for what may happen in the future as a result is now,” said Greenwald. It is critical to understand the full extent of the breach of all family members’ personal information.
The firm clarified that it is unnecessary for an Anthem policy holder or beneficiary to have yet suffered financial harm from the data breach in order to participate in the class action lawsuit.
As long as someone was or is an Anthem customer, that person may be entitled to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff and exercise legal rights, the firm indicated. Past and current policy holders who are concerned about this violation of their rights are also invited to contact W&L.
Anthem Data Breach Hurts Kids Most
According to information security experts, the Anthem data breach hackers struck gold when they burrowed into the health-insurer’s computer systems and extracted the confidential records of the sons and daughters of policy holders.
“That fact is, parents suffer over and above their own identity theft when their children’s private information is stolen; such information is often said to be more coveted by identify thieves than the information of adults.” Greenwald explained.
The reason has to do with credit histories. “A child likely has no credit history, which makes it very easy for identity thieves to create a false persona to apply for credit cards and loans,” she said.
She said the task of inventing a false identity becomes easier still if the thieves have the child victim’s Social Security number and medical records, all of which the Anthem data breach exposed.
But the real damage accrues when thieves simply pretend to be the victim, she said.
“Criminals can use the child’s stolen information to obtain expensive medical services not covered by insurance, or to gain prescriptions for medications that they then sell on the black market, while the victim’s parents could be stuck with the bill,” Greenwald explained.
“It can take years for any such activity to be discovered by the victim,” she said. “But seeking to hold Anthem accountable for the harm is something all victims can do right now.