Reuters is reporting that 10 states, led by Connecticut, have sent a letter to Anthem complaining that the company is moving too slowly in notifying consumers of the data breach that affected up to 80 million customers and employees (see article). The states are assuming that Anthem know precisely who’s data was taken and they may not know that yet.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but this breach is really quite different than having your credit card stolen in the Target breach.
In the Target case, under federal law, your maximum liability for fraudulent charges is $50 and many credit cards waive even that.
It is a bit of a pain, you call the credit card company, maybe you sign a form, they close the card, issue you a new one, remove the charge and you are done.
One advantage of using credit cards over debit cards if you can is that in the case of a credit card, you are arguing over a bill. In the case of a debit card, the money is no longer in your bank account.
However, in the case of Anthem, you may have a right to sue Anthem if that data is used to say open a fake account in your name, but you would have to prove that you were damaged and prove that it was Anthem’s fault. Even if you are successful, it could take years to go through the courts.
The states are saying that Anthem must commit to reimbursing people for any losses associated with the breach between the time of the breach and the time that the company provides access to credit monitoring services.
Ignoring that those services are far from bullet proof and ignoring the fact that there is a delay between when they make that service available to you and when you actually sign up for it and it becomes active, the states are not saying that Anthem should assume responsibility for what happens to you after you sign up for credit monitoring services.
And, as I said before, since the effects of this kind of fraud can last for years, unlike credit card fraud which can be shut off by issuing a new card, people will be dealing with this for years.
And, apparently, legally, Anthem may have to pay a fine, but if you are damaged, you are going to have to sue them to try and be made whole.
That means, if you are a current or former Anthem customer or employee, that you should be checking your credit report frequently for any bogus accounts that might be set up