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What Do You Do with a Data Breach Letter?

When a data breach letter arrives in the mail, it brings with it plenty of questions.

What is a data breach? What should you do after a data breach?

What should you do with the data breach letter now that you have it?

Our data breach lawyers will be able to assist if you’ve recently learned that your personal information was compromised in a data breach. To schedule your free consultation, just call (866) 778-5500 today or fill out our secure contact form.

What to Do with a Data Breach Notification Letter

First, you need to read the letter carefully, all the way to the end. Although it may sound obvious, many of us are so used to skimming through our mail that we may neglect to actually read the full letter.

This letter is important because it provides critical information about the breach, including:

  • When the breach happened
  • What sort of personal information was breached
  • Whether any free credit monitoring or identity protection services are available to you and how to go about enrolling in these services
  • Who may be legally responsible for any losses that arise out of the breach

Now that you have read through the letter in its entirety, you should make a copy of it and file it in a safe place. You should keep this notification in your records indefinitely. There is no time limit on how long an identity thief has to use your data for malicious purposes.

Keep the notification letter close by for reference while you take the steps needed to protect your identity after a data breach. These steps include enrolling in any identity protection services that are available to you as a victim of the data breach, notifying your banks and credit card companies, changing the passwords to all of your online accounts, and placing fraud alerts and credit freezes on your profile with the major credit reporting bureaus.

How Do You Find Out About a Data Breach?

Most of the time, an individual affected by a data breach finds out about the incident from a data breach notification letter that arrives by postal mail or by email. If you receive a data breach notification letter, it is because the company has reason to believe that your data is among the data that has been accessed by an unauthorized party.

Perhaps you haven’t received a data breach notification letter, but you heard about a highly publicized data breach on the news. You might worry about whether this data security incident will affect you.

Some of the actions you can take to check if your data has been breached (if you haven’t gotten a notification letter) include the following:

  • Visit the free, secure website Have I Been Pwned? and enter your email address or phone number to see if this data shows up in any known data security incidents. You can also sign up to be notified if any data breach involving your information occurs.
  • Acquire a copy of your credit report, which should be available to you for free, and carefully review it to make sure that there are no discrepancies.
  • Check the website of the company that was hacked for any additional information about the security incident. Often, companies set up a dedicated phone number or email address for inquiries about the data breach. You can reach out through these channels to ask for more information…
  • BUT use caution. The aftermath of a data security leak can be chaotic, and scammers sometimes take advantage of this chaos. Go directly to the website of the company to find information about the data leak rather than clicking on links contained in emails that purport to be from the breached company. If someone supposedly from the breached company reaches out to you, make sure you can verify that they work for the company, and be wary of giving out any information they don’t already have.

Data breaches are on the rise.

Where Can I Find Breached Data?

If you read the full data breach notification letter, you will typically find included a list of the types of data that may have been accessed in the breach. Examples of the types of breached data often involved in hacking and other data security incidents include:

  • Identifying information, such as your full name and account number
  • Contact information, including phone numbers, street addresses, and physical addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Social Security numbers
  • Passwords and answers to security questions
  • Financial information, including bank account numbers and credit and debit card account numbers, expiration dates, and security codes
  • Medical history and health insurance information

Not every data breach encompasses the unauthorized access of all of these types of information. The notification letter you receive should specify what kind of information has been captured. Some states also have a consumer protection division that publishes the details of data breaches that affect individuals living in that state, including the type of information acquired by unauthorized parties in the breach.

If it’s still not clear what data of yours may have been breached, contact the company for clarification, or consider reaching out to a data breach attorney to launch an investigation as part of the process of filing a lawsuit.

Is There a List of Data Breaches?

There isn’t one definitive list of data breaches, but several resources exist that may be able to help you if you are looking for information about known data breaches.

  • The International Association of Privacy Professionals maintains a list of state government agencies that publish their own data breach lists.
  • org maintains a downloadable database of historical breaches dating back to 2005.
  • Wikipedia maintains a list of highly publicized data breaches that includes current incidents stretching back to 2004.

No Fee PromiseOf course, you can often find out about data breaches from print, broadcast, and digital news sources. Law firms that handle data breach claims may also publish information about specific breaches to help those affected understand their legal rights and how to protect their identities and personal information.

At Console & Associates, P.C., our data breach lawyers help you to 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.

To schedule your free consultation, just call (866) 778-5500 today or fill out our secure contact form.