Feb 9, 2015 · 1 minute

Criminals might benefit from Anthem's data breach after all.

Phishers have started contacting Anthem customers with emails and phone-calls purporting to be from the company, within hours of the breach being reported.

Here's what the company says about the phishing attempts on its website:

Members who may have been impacted by the cyber attack against Anthem, should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as "phishing") are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a "click here" link for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem.
The attack is thought to have come from a state-sponsored hacking group from China, which has stolen data from foreign companies and the United States military in the past.

Anthem would be a particularly valuable target for state-sponsored hackers because it has information about much of the military -- and none of it was encrypted prior to this breach.

But phishers don't need to have the information stolen from Anthem to profit off the hack. All they have to do is trick people into offering up personal data and payments information.

The data won't be as valuable as the names, employment information, birthdays, addresses, and social security numbers affected by this breach, but phishers could still profit off of it.

Anthem is the nation's second-largest health insurer. This data breach might have affected around 80 million people, making it the largest hack in the health care industry's history.

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for Pando]