You just received a letter in the mail explaining that your personal information was compromised and accessed by an unauthorized third party in a recent data breach.
You may be wondering—which of your information was accessed? What can they do with this information? What can you do to protect yourself? What company allowed a third party to access your private information? Will your credit be impacted? Is there anything you can do to hold a company legally responsible for leaking your information?
These are all good questions—and important ones.
If you’ve recently learned that your personal and private information was compromised in a data breach, you must take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Hackers and other bad actors target email addresses, social media login information, credit card numbers, social security numbers and many other types of information.
The theft of personal information presents serious risks, most notably identity theft. In some cases, criminals may take out loans in your name or even provide your personal information to the police if they are arrested, meaning you could end up with a criminal record despite never having committed a crime.
When you provide your information to a company, you trust that the company will protect your information. And, in most cases, businesses do a good job taking the necessary precautions to protect consumers’ private data. However, in recent years, data breaches have become incredibly common.
With hundreds of thousands of people laid off, looking for work or other ways to make money, hackers knew that their victims were becoming increasingly desperate and took advantage. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were more than 1,290 data breaches in the first half of 2021. This represents the largest amount of data breaches in any six-month period in history.
Data breaches are a serious concern for several reasons. Aside from the uneasy feeling of knowing that your personal information is in the hands of a stranger, there are also financial and quality-of-life concerns when your information becomes compromised. Hackers will often sell your information to the highest bidder, who will then use the purchased information to engage in a host of potentially life-altering crimes.
At Console & Associates, P.C., we help consumers whose personal and private information was leaked by the corporations they trusted. While lawmakers understand the concerns surrounding data breaches, it often takes years for laws to pass. By holding companies accountable for the mishandling of consumers’ information, together we can encourage these companies to take consumer privacy more seriously.
To learn more, give us a call to discuss your situation. If you decide to bring a case with Console & Associates, P.C., you won’t pay for our legal representation unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. That’s part of the No Fee Promise we make to each one of our clients.
Call us today at (866) 778-5500.
Companies that you trust with your information have a duty to protect it.
Every time you make a purchase, apply for a loan, credit card, or bank account, or even open up a social media account, you provide your personal information. While the information you provide varies depending on the type of account or transaction, at a minimum, it will include your name and email address.
It is easy to lose track of all the information you’ve given to companies over time. The result is that a huge amount of information about you is available online and in company databases.
Some of the types of personal information companies retain include your:
This information, either on its own or in conjunction with other personal information such as your gender, race or age, can be used by criminals for a variety of purposes, all of which put you at risk.
If a third party accesses your information, what’s the big deal? As long as you report fraud on your financial accounts, aren’t you protected? And don’t government agencies and credit agencies understand that identity theft is not your fault? The company that mishandled your data even offered to pay for enhanced credit monitoring services to provide you with additional protection, so why should you be worried about consumer privacy?
The fact is that a data breach can have a tremendous impact on your life. For example, below are just a few of the horrors that you may encounter in the wake of a data breach:
That’s right, criminals who steal another’s identity will often give someone else’s information to the police if they are pulled over or arrested. By doing so, they hope to take advantage of your lack of a criminal record. However, if the police still end up arresting them, it will be under your name.
The truth is, over time, there are mechanisms in place to reverse much of the damage caused by identity theft. However, it can take months or even years to uncover the full extent of the damage caused. And even once you discover the impact, it isn’t as easy as calling up a business and explaining you were the victim of a data breach. The result is that victims of a data breach are often consumed by reversing the effects of the breach. This is a burden you shouldn’t have to take on.
People who capture black-market data have various tools at their disposal. For example, below are a few of the ways that criminals can obtain your information:
Hacking is defined as obtaining unauthorized access to information through the use of a computer. Hackers can tap into an online database to access the personal information of anyone included in the database. Hackers possess advanced knowledge of computers, information technology, and security systems, which they use to breach databases.
Hackers will often share information with one another. Thus, once an online security system is around long enough, hackers will invariably find a way around it. Companies understand this and must routinely update their online security systems to protect consumers’ data. However, this is costly and time-consuming, and not every company immediately conducts the necessary updates. The result is that many companies rely on outdated security systems, a reality that puts consumers at risk.
Malware is short for “malicious software.” Malware users will install the software over a network onto the victim’s device. From there, the program can wreak havoc, including scouring the device for any personal information.
Ransomware is a type of malware that typically blocks access to a person’s device unless they pay a ransom to the party controlling the program. Often, ransomware is delivered through the use of a “trojan,” which is a seemingly harmless file that installs the software when the user opens the program.
When companies update their computers, network devices, and other information technology assets, the old assets, by default, will still contain sensitive information. Thus, companies must take special care when decommissioning old I.T. assets; otherwise, a bad actor could obtain the old assets and access the information contained on them.
While federal regulation of consumer privacy is still quite weak, many states have passed laws requiring companies to inform consumers about how their information will be handled. In many cases, large and trusted businesses generate huge profits from selling customers’ data to third parties. The third party can then do what they wish with the information obtained.
These are just a few of the most common causes of data breaches; there are many others. At Console & Associates, P.C., our respected data breach and consumer privacy lawyers stay on top of all recent scams and attacks to ensure our clients’ interests are protected.
If a hacker or other criminal targets a company and a customer’s information is compromised, the company can be held liable in certain situations. However, companies are not generally strictly liable for a data breach. This means that to successfully bring a data breach lawsuit, you must prove that the company that owned or possessed your data acted negligently. A few of the ways in which a company can be held liable for a data breach include:
Thus, even though a company may technically be a “victim” of a data breach, so is the consumer. And, ultimately, companies have a duty to protect against third-party attacks, so they can be held accountable for the incident when they fail to adequately protect consumer data.
If you recently received a letter from a company you trusted indicating that your information was targeted in a data breach, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will become a victim; however, it does mean that you’ve been put at risk. You may be wondering what you should do if you receive a data breach notification. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself.
At Console & Associates, P.C., our lawyers monitor all data breaches and help affected consumers pursue their legal remedies. We offer free consultations to all victims of data breaches and can explain your rights in clear, understandable terms so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case.
If you recently received a letter indicating that your information was compromised through a data breach, it is crucial that you take the steps necessary to protect yourself. At Console & Associates, P.C., we help you better understand what is at stake after a data breach and what your legal remedies are. We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources and expertise possible to help ensure that your case is successful.
At Console & Associates, P.C., we also offer all clients a No Fee Promise, which means that we do not accept payment from you unless we can successfully resolve your case, either through a data breach settlement or a favorable jury verdict.