AG HEALEY URGES MASSACHUSETTS CONSUMERS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED BY ANTHEM DATA BREACH TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THEIR CREDIT, IDENTITY

 
AG HEALEY URGES MASSACHUSETTS CONSUMERS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED BY ANTHEM DATA BREACH TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THEIR CREDIT, IDENTITY
Anthem Reports Nearly One Million People with Massachusetts Ties at Risk; AG Announced Investigation of Breach Earlier this Month
 
BOSTON – After health insurer Anthem, Inc. announced that the recent data breach at Anthem could potentially affect the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of nearly one million people with Massachusetts ties, Attorney General Maura Healey is offering advice on how consumers can protect their personal information against identity theft. Earlier this month, AG Healey announced that her office is investigating the matter.
 
“Our office is very concerned that this significant data breach may have put the personal information of Massachusetts consumers at risk,” AG Healey said. “We have been in contact with Anthem to review the circumstances and will continue to investigate this matter with Attorneys General across the country. In the meantime, we urge people to take immediate steps to protect themselves and their family members from identity theft and to protect their personal information moving forward.”
 
According to Anthem, 967,000 people with ties to Massachusetts may be affected.
 
 The company reports that affected consumers include current or former members of an affected Anthem plan dating back to 2004. According to Anthem, this includes customers of Anthem, Inc. companies Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore, and Unicare. Additionally, customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies who used their Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance in one of fourteen states where Anthem, Inc. operates may be impacted (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin). 
 
The information that may have been compromised includes names, birthdays, medical IDs/Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Anthem reports that there is no evidence at this time that credit card or medical information (such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes) were compromised.
 
Anthem is offering two years of free credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and other services, and plans to send notice to all affected consumers about the breach. The company has posted information for customers about the breach here.
 
The AG’s Office offers consumers the following information on how to guard themselves from potential identity theft:
(1)   Sign-up for the two years of free credit monitoring offered by Anthem for you and your family members, including minor dependents.    
·         Credit monitoring services are meant to detect whether someone is trying to open new lines of credit in your name. You can find more information about the services being offered by Anthem atwww.anthemfacts.com/, https://anthem.allclearid.com/, or by calling 877-263-7995.
(2) Order a copy of your credit report and Explanation of Benefits Statements, and look for unauthorized activity.
·         Look carefully for unexplained activity on your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, which can be obtained throughhttps://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. Staggering the reports every four months (one free annual report per each of the three major credit bureaus) is a good way to monitor your credit throughout the year. 
·         Also, check your and your family’s Explanation of Benefits (“EOB”s) from your health insurance company to confirm that all information is accurate.
(3) Call one of the three major credit bureaus and place a one-call fraud alert on your credit report:
·         You only need to call one of the three credit bureaus; the one you contact is required by law to contact the other two credit bureaus.
§  Equifax: Call (800) 525-6285, and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
§  Experian: Call (888) 397-3742, and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013.
§  TransUnion: Call (800) 680-7289, and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.
·         This one-call fraud alert will remain in your credit file for at least 90 days. The fraud alert requires creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or increasing credit limits on your existing accounts. When you place a fraud alert on your credit report, all three credit bureaus are required to send you a credit report free of charge.
·         If after reviewing your credit report you believe there is unexplained activity, you may want to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. In order to do this, you need to file a police report with your local police department, keep a copy for yourself, and provide a copy to one of the three major credit bureaus. An extended fraud alert can be placed on your file for a 7 year period.
(4) Consider placing a “security freeze” on your credit report.
·         Consider placing a “security freeze” on your credit report by written request to each of the three credit bureaus to prohibit the release of any information from your report without your written authorization. A security freeze differs from credit monitoring in that it prevents new lines of credit from being opened without your authorization.
(5) If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft.  There are many steps you will need to take to protect your identity. For further steps to protect themselves, consumers may contact the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400, review identity theft protection tips at the AG’s website or view the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft resource, available at www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
 

Citizens Bank and necn now accepting applications for Champions in Action program

Citizens Bank and necn now accepting applications

for Champions in Action program

Nonprofit will receive $35,000 and media exposure in 2015

BOSTON – Citizens Bank and necn are now accepting applications for the second 2015 Champion in Action in the Veterans Services category. The Champions in Action® program provides financial, volunteer and public relations support to local nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations focused on Veterans Services are invited to apply for the Champions award to be announced in July. Applications can be completed online atwww.citizensbank.com/community/champions and must be submitted by Friday, February 27 at 5 p.m.

Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for small nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout Massachusetts. To date, the program has given 42 nonprofits more than $1 million in grants and promotional support in Massachusetts.

The selected Champion in Action will receive:

  • A $35,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from Citizens Bank;
  • Media coverage from necn including public service announcements and television profiles over the course of six months;
  • Volunteer support from Citizens’ and necn’s colleagues;
  • The opportunity for the organization’s executive director to participate in a “President-to-President” mentorship with Citizens Bank’s Jerry Sargent;
  • Extensive public relations support;
  • Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action on all Citizens Bank branch DCN screens and on its ATMs;
  • Exposure on both Citizens Bank and necn websites.

To be eligible for consideration, an organization must:

  • Be a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that serves Massachusetts and addresses the designated social concern;
  • Provide verification of tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • Have a total operating budget of $5 million or less.

For more information about the Champions in Action program, visit www.citizensbank.com/community.

Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank’s community initiatives online.

AG HEALEY ALERTS CONSUMERS TO BEWARE OF IDENTITY THEFT DURING TAX SEASON

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February 2, 

            BOSTON – With tax season underway, Attorney General Maura Healey is offering helpful information for consumers on how to protect their information against identity theft and avoid scams.

“We urge consumers to pay extra attention this tax season as identity thieves are finding more ways to compromise personal and financial information,” AG Healey said. “Our office will continue to be a source of education and assistance for consumers on how to prevent identity theft, including steps they can take to recover if they become a victim.”

Tax identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information – like your Social Security Number – to get a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It also can happen when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on a tax return. Tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past five years. The IRS also reports receiving thousands of complaints about IRS imposters who contact people and claim they owe unpaid taxes and will be arrested if they do not pay up.

Consumers may find out something is wrong after they file their tax return, or if they receive a letter from the IRS saying that more than one tax return was filed in their name, or if IRS records show wages from an employer that they do not know.

Tax identity thieves get your personal information in a number of ways, including going through your trash, stealing mail from your home, or sending phony “phishing” emails that look like they are from the IRS and ask for personal information. Consumers should also be particularly aware of employees at hospitals, nursing homes, banks, and other businesses that have regular access to personal information and opportunity to steal such information, along with phony or dishonest tax preparers that may misuse clients’ information for their own benefit or pass it along to identity thieves.

Keeping vigilant is the best defense against these fraudulent practices. The AG’s Office offers consumers the following suggestions to help them protect against potential identity theft:

  • File your tax return early in the tax season;
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically. Avoid the use of public computers whenever possible;
  • Mail your tax return directly from the post office;
  • Shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you no longer need;
  • Regularly shred mail or other correspondence containing personal account numbers, such as mortgage statements or insurance information.
  • If you do not have a safe place to receive mail, consider getting a P.O. Box at the post office.
  • Know that the IRS and most banking institutions will not contact you by email, text, or social media asking for personal information. If the IRS needs information, it will first contact you by mail;
  • Do not give out your Social Security Number (SSN) or Medicare number unless necessary. Never give this information out over the phone following an unsolicited phone call, no matter who the person calling claims to be;
  • Research tax preparers thoroughly and get recommendations where possible before handing over your personal information; and
  • Check your credit report for free at least once a year, at each of the three major reporting agencies, by visiting annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.

 

If you have reason to believe your personal information may have been compromised, consider contacting the credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file.  For information regarding the process to place these types of alerts, and the attendant costs and consequences of doing so, contact any one of the following agencies:  Equifax, (800) 525-6285, www.equifax.com; Experian, (888) 397-3742, www.experian.com; or TransUnion, (800) 680-7289, www.transunion.com.

If your SSN has been compromised, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490. More information about tax identity theft is available on the AG’s website, or from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft. If you have a question about your taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or go to irs.gov. You can report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration online or at (800) 366-4484, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Nantucket Energy Audits Available Now

Energy audits available now

Island residents are encouraged  to take advantage of a free, Mass Save energy assessment and receive free, unlimited LEDs, smart powerstrips,  75 percent off insulation  work, and a customized list of recommendations  to reduce their home’s energy this winter, and save all year long. New incentives for 2015 include: no-cost wifi thermostats, dehumidifiers  and heat pump water heaters.

For more information on the requirements or to signup  for a free home energy assessment,  visit: www. ackenergy.org or call (800) 632-8300. For more information,  contact Lauren Sinatra, energy coordinator, at lsinatra@  nantucket-ma.gov.

First Public Informational Meeting for the Cape Cod Canal Area Transportation Study

The First Public Informational Meeting for the Cape Cod Canal Area Transportation Study has been scheduled for Thursday, January 15th 2015, starting at 7:00 PM in Admirals Hall on the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Campus. Please note, the campus is located at 101 Academy Drive in Bourne, and directional signs will also be posted on site.
The purpose of the meeting will be to introduce the conceptual planning study, and to solicit input from the general public. The information presented at this meeting will be similar to what was presented at the first Working Group meeting on October 29th 2014. This will include the study background and purpose, and a presentation of the study’s framework elements.

Citizens Bank invites public to set #AnExtraPlate this holiday season to help feed 100,000 neighbors in need

EMBARGOED UNTIL: December 2, 2014 More information: Lauren DiGeronimo
781.471.1454
Lauren.DiGeronimo@citizensbank.com

Citizens Bank invites public to set #AnExtraPlate this holiday season to help feed
100,000 neighbors in need

Bank kicks off #GivingTuesday global giving event with social media program that empowers others

Providence, R.I. – To help some of the more than 49 million Americans who are food insecure, Citizens Bank is kicking off #GivingTuesday – December 2 through the Holiday Season– with #AnExtraPlate, a social media campaign that will provide 100,000 meals to Americans who struggle to put food on their tables.

Simply set a plate, snap a photo of it, and tweet it out with #AnExtraPlate to @CitizensBank throughout the holiday season. Or on Facebook, share a photo to your timeline with #AnExtraPlate, tag Citizens Bank, and set the post as public. For every plate shared with the bank online, Citizens Bank will donate a meal to a local food bank, up to 100,000 meals.

“The holidays are a time of gathering together with family and friends, often enjoying a meal, but sadly, many aren’t able to participate in this time honored tradition,” said Jerry Sargent, Citizens Bank Massachusetts president. “You may not be able to invite all those who are hungry to your holiday table, but you can help by setting an extra plate for them, and feeding them virtually by participating in #AnExtraPlate.”

Food insecurity is a problem in even this country’s wealthiest cities. For example, over 520,000 children and adults go without meals in eastern Massachusetts. There are nearly 83,000 food insecure citizens in central Massachusetts, and over 95,000 in western Massachusetts. Citizens Bank has made a commitment to help those who struggle to put food on their tables in the communities where it does business. Through Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, Citizens Bank has provided more than 2.2 million meals in 2014 alone.

Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

For more information about #AnExtraPlate, visit the bank’s YouTube channel.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $131.3 billion in assets as of September 30, 2014. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, the company offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Consumer Banking helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank and Charter One branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in selective markets nationwide. Citizens Commercial Banking offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance.
Citizens operates via subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at www.citizensbank.com.

Morse Pond gets haul from small change

Morse Pond gets haul from small change 

Students at the Morse Pond School of Falmouth were among more than 62,500 students throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine to pool together their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to raise more than $197,900 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Olive Garden’s “Pasta for Pennies” drive.The Morse Pond students raised $7,800.85 to become one of the three top fundraising schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.


In these three states, students at 128 elementary, middle and high schools filled collection jars and boxes in their classrooms with spare change over a three-week period. The top fundraising class at each participating school received a pasta party from their local Olive Garden restaurant.


Thanks to the efforts of students nationwide, $10.1 million was raised through “Pasta for Pennies” during the 2013-14 school year. Spare change raised through “Pasta for Pennies” helps fund blood cancer research and provides needed services and support to leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma patients and their families.
 

Thank you to all the Morse Pond School students and staff, Congratulations!!