One of the largest health insurers in the country, Anthem, said Wednesday that more than 80 million of its customer and employee records were compromised by hackers late last month.
Anthem says the stolen information includes social security numbers, names, emails, home addresses and employment information, but not medical records or credit card numbers.
"Once someone has your Social Security number you have to keep looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life because that number will not be changed by the S.S. agency."
Anthem is just the latest in a string of companies to be hacked.
With the threat of cyber attacks rising, Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks to Adam Levin, chairman and founder of Identity Theft 911, and former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, about why so many companies and agencies require people to give their Social Security numbers, and how we can better protect ourselves.
Levin's Top Five Tips On How To Protect Your Identity
1. Set up a credit monitoring service with a bank, credit union, credit card company or even a third-party vendor that can notify you every time any activity occurs in your accounts.
2. Fill in fake answers to security questions. With the wide use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other social networking sites everyone can become a celebrity — at least when it comes to simple factoids like mother's maiden name or place of birth.
3. Create an email address difficult to hack into. If you have an email using your first or last name or date of birth, an outside party could easily use email to break into your accounts, including financial ones.
4. Make a separate email account that you only use for your most sensitive accounts. But make sure to make that email address a complex one that isn't easy to hack.
5. Make sure your password is complex that is at least 10 characters long with numbers as well as other symbols and a combination of lower-and-uppercase letters.
This segment aired on February 5, 2015.