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What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Data Breach

Data BreachHere’s what you need to know—and what you need to do—if you have been the victim of a data breach.

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

How Does a Data Breach Affect a Person’s Life?

If you think a data breach is “just” a minor incident, you might be surprised at what a nightmare it can turn into. Some of the potential consequences of a data breach include:

  • Direct financial harm, such as if an identity thief uses your data to drain your bank account
  • A tarnished credit score, which can make it difficult to get financing you actually want and make you appear less responsible to prospective landlords, employers, and insurance companies
  • A criminal record, if the perpetrator of a crime gives your identity as theirs upon getting caught
  • An increased risk of identity theft that can last for years—much longer than any credit monitoring benefit the breached company may offer you
  • The hassle of having to spend your time notifying financial institutions, credit reporting bureaus, health insurance companies, utility companies, and any other organization with a legitimate reason to use your personal data about the breach
  • The stress associated with these risks, losses, and time-consuming steps needed to protect your identity from being made any more vulnerable

If a person uses the breached data to commit identity theft or fraud, the consequences can be serious.

What Happens If You Have a Data Breach?

If you are notified that your data has been accessed as part of a data breach, an unauthorized person or party has seen or captured your sensitive personal information.

Financial gain is the motive for most breaches of organizations’ networks that contain private data.

If you are the victim of a data breach,

you may be eligible for compensation.

How Do Hackers Use Data Breaches?

Whether hackers use the data they capture themselves or sell it to other criminals, the purpose of acquiring the stolen data is usually to commit some type of identity theft or fraud.

Someone with malicious intent could use your personal data to:

  • Withdraw money from your bank accounts
  • Make unauthorized purchases using your credit or debit accounts
  • Take out loans in your name
  • Open new accounts under your name for the purpose of making fraudulent purchases
  • Fraudulently receive medical care, insurance benefits, or government benefits under your name
  • Commit other crimes, identifying themselves as you if they get caught

What Should You Do After a Data Breach?

Most people become aware of a data breach when they receive a data breach notification letter in the mail. Here’s what you should do when you find out that you were the victim of a data breach:

  1. Carefully read the data breach letter in its entirety to learn what sort of data has been compromised.
  2. Keep a copy of the data breach notification letter for your records.
  3. Enroll in any free credit monitoring service offered to you using the information contained in the data breach letter.
  4. Notify all banks and credit card companies of the data breach right away. This allows your bank to stop any pending fraudulent activity, investigate potential fraud, and start the process of issuing you a new account with a new number that hasn’t been compromised.
  5. Update all passwords and security questions to your online accounts. Where possible, enable two-factor authentication. Although tedious and time-consuming, this is the best way to prevent more of your data from slipping into the wrong hands.
  6. Proactively monitor all bank and credit card transactions and statements, as well as your credit report.
  7. Request fraud alerts and credit freezes from the major credit bureaus to make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts using your identity. It doesn’t cost you anything to put these extra layers of protection in place.
  8. Consider speaking to an experienced data breach attorney about your legal rights.

How Much Does a Data Breach Cost?

“More than 1 in 5 victims of identity theft reported losses above $20,000…”
A data breach can cost you—the individual whose personal information was stolen—hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Financial services company Define Financial reported that “most” identity theft victims lose $500 or less. More than one in five victims of identity theft reported losses above $20,000.

Who Is Affected by a Data Breach?

It’s a common misconception that only the super-wealthy need to worry about data and identity theft. An identity thief can withdraw more money from the bank account of a multimillionaire than the average American—but emptying bank accounts isn’t the only way criminals profit from identity theft.

A data breach can affect people of all income levels. Poor and middle-class people present just as much a target for identity theft as the wealthy.

What If My Employer Has a Data Breach?

It isn’t always customers’ data that is stolen in a data breach. Some data security incidents allow a hacker to gain access to the personal information of an organization’s employees.

Your employer maintains detailed records that include:

  • Your full name and contact information
  • Your Social Security number
  • Banking information, if you receive paychecks through direct deposit
  • Health insurance information, if you get your health insurance coverage through your employer.

A cybercriminal or identity thief can do a lot of damage with this data. If you are notified that your employment records were hacked as part of a data breach, take all the same steps you would take if your information was stolen as a customer.

What Should You Check After a Data Breach?

After a data breach, you need to check:

  • Your credit and banking transactions
  • Your bank and credit card statements
  • Your passwords, PINs, and security questions for all online accounts
  • Your settings for enabling multi-factor account authentication
  • Your credit reports
  • Fraud alert and/or credit freeze status on your profiles with the three credit bureaus

What Does It Mean If My Password Was Found in a Data Breach?

No Fee PromiseIf your password was found in a data breach, an unauthorized person may have access to the information this account contains, such as your full name, address, contact information, and birthday. If you have financial account numbers saved in this account to make purchases or pay bills, the unauthorized party may be able to capture this information, too. Your password could be the key hackers use to get the complete personal data they need to steal your identity.

At Console & Associates, P.C., our data breach lawyers will help you to better understand what is at stake after a data breach and what your legal remedies are. 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.

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

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