CONYERS — Another scam may be emerging as a result of the computer breach that affected Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance customers.
Residents and county employees in Rockdale and Newton counties who received notices from Anthem in reference to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield cyberattack that may have compromised their personal identifying information have reported recently that they have received reloadable Green Dot prepaid debit cards in the mail.
“This is something a lot of people are getting,” said Newton County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeff Alexander. “The best advice is that if you didn’t ask for this card, don’t use it. It’s better to shred it and get rid of it. I would encourage anyone who receives one of these cards to call Blue Cross/Blue Shield or Anthem and make sure everything is under control on their end and then keep track of your credit report.”
According to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, these cards have been created using a person’s personal information and are being used during the tax season to intercept tax refunds from legitimate taxpayers.
It is believed that this scam could be connected to a large tax fraud where personal information is used to fraudulently file federal and state taxes and have the tax return directly deposited into the Green Dot card account, the Sheriff’s Office stated. The money is then spent or transferred before the identity theft victim is aware.
“Any person who has received a letter from Anthem is encouraged to read the letter carefully and strongly consider any offer being providing from AllClear ID,” the RCSO stated in a press release.
If a person who did not apply for a Green Dot card receives one in the mail, call 1-866-795-7597 and ask the following questions:
• Was the card applied for/created online by an individual, or was it sent to you as a promotion?
• Is there a phone number associated with the account?
• Is there an email address associated with the account?
If the person does not want to have the account, they should the Green Dot representative is very clear the person calling did not create it/apply for it, and ensure no transactions, whether into or out of, can occur to the account. Callers also should make sure their personal information cannot be used to create another separate account.
In the event a person becomes the victim of any identity theft and/or fraud the following steps should be followed and are listed on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft:
Steps to Take if You Become a Victim
• File a report with law enforcement;
• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261;
• Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records;
• Contact your financial institutions, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with;
• Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually. You can create an account online at www.ssa.gov.
In the event a person’s Social Security number is compromised and it is known or suspected the person is a victim of tax-related identity theft, the following additional steps should be taken:
• Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided;
• Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then mail or fax according to instructions; and
• Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.