Posted On May 3, 2023 Consumer Privacy & Data Breaches
May 3 – Charter Foods, Inc. reported a data breach to the Maine Attorney General on April 7, 2023, after it was the victim of a malicious cyberattack that exposed sensitive consumer data. According to the company’s report, the event led to the disclosure of consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses to a third party. Charter Foods began mailing data breach notification letters to all 109,194 persons affected by the incident after establishing that consumer data was compromised.
It is crucial that you know what is at stake if you get a data breach notification. Console & Associates, P.C.’s data breach lawyers are conducting an investigation into the Charter Foods data breach on behalf of individuals whose personal information was compromised. Anyone who has been affected by this breach and would like to discuss the potential consequences of identity theft, preventative measures they can take, and potential legal recourse they may have against Charter Foods, Inc. can schedule a free consultation with us as part of this investigation.
The prominent fast food restaurants A&W, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Express, and Long John Silver’s are all owned and operated by Charter Foods, Inc., a major franchisee of Yum! Brands. The corporation, with headquarters in Morristown, Tennessee, has branches across the northeast and southern United States. More than 5,000 people are employed by Charter Foods, and the company earns over $110 million annually.
Charter Foods reportedly experienced a cyberattack on or around January 13, 2023, as detailed in a filing with the Attorney General of Maine. As a result, Charter Foods took measures to protect its infrastructure and began an investigation with the help of outside cybersecurity specialists. According to the Charter Foods investigation, the hacker gained access to several files on the company’s system that included sensitive customer data.
Charter Foods has begun reviewing the affected files to establish what information was hacked and how many customers were affected following the discovery that sensitive consumer data was made available to an unauthorized person. Your name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address could have been compromised, albeit the specifics vary by individual.
Charter Foods notified those whose personal information was stolen by mailing them a data breach notification on April 7, 2023.
Any organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit, educational or governmental, can face legal consequences if a data breach occurs on its watch. Millions of Americans are affected by data breaches every year, and many of them become victims of identity theft or other crimes. While identity theft can have far-reaching consequences, victims typically spend hundreds of hours trying to put the pieces back together. This number, though, can skyrocket in more complicated situations.
Obviously, no business wants to suffer a data breach, and naturally, no business is entirely to blame for a breach. Data breaches often occur when thieves aim their attacks at a particular organization. These cybercriminals use complex hoaxes and attacks to get access. However, businesses that stay current on all data privacy issues and implement robust data security systems can prevent the vast majority of breaches and quickly detect the few that slip through.
A data breach can be caused or exacerbated by a company’s negligence in a number of different ways. A firm may be held responsible for a data breach if, for instance, an employee fails to encrypt files containing personal information about customers. The same holds true if an employee falls for a phishing email and provides sensitive information such as login passwords, customer data, or information that allows hackers to compromise the company’s system.
These examples of possible negligence on the part of a business in the lead-up to a data breach are, of course, not exhaustive. The difficulty in deciding if a customer has a claim stems from the fact that it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, for the impacted consumer to identify what led to a data breach. And while it’s too soon to say whether or not Charter Foods was negligent in the lead-up to the leak, lawyers who specialize in data breaches are looking into the incident to see what legal options victims may have.
The consumer privacy lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. help customers affected by data and security breaches pursue legal solutions by offering free consultations. By explaining your rights in clear, concise terms, we help you make an informed decision about your next steps. If you are a victim of the Charter Foods, Inc. data breach, Console & Associates, P.C. will investigate at no charge to you and offer advice on how to proceed. If you decide to pursue a case, rest assured that we don’t get paid unless you do. If your claim is successful, legal fees are either paid out of the funds recovered or by the defendant. If your claim is not successful, you pay nothing.
Below is a portion of the letter sent to affected individuals:
As a current or former employee of Charter Foods, Inc. (the “Company”) we are writing to notify you of a data incident that may have involved your personal information.
The Company was subject to a criminal cybersecurity attack on or around January 13, 2023 (the “Incident”). With assistance from third-party experts, the Company took immediate steps to secure its systems and investigate the nature and scope of the Incident. Through its investigation, the Company discovered that the Incident may have impacted personally identifiable information (“PII”) related to you. We have found no evidence that your information was misused.
What Information Was Involved
The Incident may have resulted in unauthorized access to or acquisition of certain files that may have contained one or more of the following data elements: name, address, date of birth, and/or social security number.
What We Are Doing
Out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with applicable law, we are providing this notice to you so that you can take steps to minimize the risk that your information will be misused. The attached sheet describes steps you can take to protect your identity, credit, and personal information.
As an added precaution, we are also offering complimentary access to identity monitoring, fraud consultation, and identity theft restoration services to help mitigate any potential for harm at no cost to you. Please see below for more information on enrollment in these services.
The Company endeavors to protect the privacy and security of sensitive information. We have worked diligently to determine how this incident happened and are taking appropriate measures to prevent a similar situation in the future. Since the Incident we have implemented a series of cybersecurity enhancements, including installation of additional endpoint detection and response software, installation of new firewalls, implementation of additional threat analysis protocols, and rebuilding affected servers.
As with any data incident, we recommend that you remain vigilant and consider taking steps to avoid identity theft, obtain additional information, and protect your personal information. Common passwords or passwords you may be using on multiple accounts should be updated to new complex passwords for added security.
For More Information
If you have questions or concerns, please call our dedicated assistance line at 1-833-570-2978, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You will need to reference the enrollment code above when calling or enrolling online, so please do not discard this letter.
We sincerely apologize for this situation and any inconvenience it may cause you.