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400,000 Community Health Plan members information exposed after data breach

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Nearly 400,000 current and former Community Health Plan of Washington members had their personal information exposed in a recent data breach.

But, what makes the breach of Community Health Plan of Washington so troublesome is that it included social security numbers.

“Once the data’s out, it’s out. You can close the door behind it. But that’s that,” said DomainTools Cyber Security Expert Tim Helming.

Even worse, the insurer admits its server was accessed by the hackers in January, which Helming says that time frame is not unusual.

“The amount of time attackers dwell in victim networks is often measures in months. And that’s what you are talking about here,” said Helming.

The idea that bad guys have possibly monetized your personal information, means you must always be ready for a breach to affect you.

“When your social security number is out there and other information about you, that can be used by cyber criminals to create a synthetic identity or to use your identity to then typically apply for credit,” explained Helming.

Here are some tips to help protect your identity at all times:

Change your password

Try to file your taxes early in the year. The identity thieves may try to file taxes in your name.
Sign up for credit monitoring
Set up a credit freeze. That’s when the credit bureaus will only provide a credit report with your permission or a pin number.Helming says it’s the best way to make sure your credit stays safe before a hacker ruins your life.

“And that means somebody fraudulently trying to establish credit, trying to get a loan or something like that, actually can’t pull your file and do that unless you give permission to the credit bureau to unfreeze your account. It’s a hassle but it’s the best way to protect your credit,” explained Helming.

Community Health Plan of Washington Response:
“We are taking this matter very seriously… To further protect members and their information, Community Health Plan of Washington is offering credit and identity monitoring services for 12 months at no cost, a dedicated hotline to answer any questions, and additional information and resources that members can utilize to protect their information.”

If your information has been compromised the Community Health Plan of Washington will mail you a letter. Please find sample letter below.

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