Posted On October 15, 2022 Consumer Privacy & Data Breaches
On October 13, 2022, Royal Alliance filed a notice of a data breach with the Montana Attorney General on behalf of Financial Dimensions Group, Inc. (“FDG”) after FDG experienced a data security incident compromising certain clients’ personal information. Based on the company’s official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to consumers’ names, addresses, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, financial account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other information related to their accounts. After confirming that consumer data was leaked, Royal Alliance began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals who were impacted by the recent data security incident.
If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the FDG data breach on behalf of people whose information was exposed. As a part of this investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from Financial Dimensions Group, Inc.
The available information regarding the Financial Dimensions Group breach comes from the Royal Alliance filing with the Montana Attorney General. According to this source, on or around June 1, 2022, Royal Alliance was notified by FDG of a data security incident involving an organizational email account. In response, Royal Alliance secured its email environment and then launched an internal investigation to determine what, if any, client information was leaked as a result of the incident.
The company’s investigation confirmed that an unauthorized party had gained access to an employee’s email account and that emails and attachments within that account contained sensitive client information.
Upon discovering that sensitive consumer data was made available to an unauthorized party, Royal Alliance began to review the affected files to determine what information was compromised and which consumers were impacted. While the breached information varies depending on the individual, it may include your name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, financial account number, Social Security number, and other information related to your account(s).
On October 13, 2022, Royal Alliance sent out data breach letters explaining the incident at Financial Dimensions Group and how it impacted the company’s clients.
Financial Dimensions Group, Inc. is a full-service financial firm based in Arden Hills, Minnesota. The company is not affiliated with Royal Alliance; however, FDG employees are registered with Royal Alliance for the sale of securities and provision of financial advice. FDG offers services related to the following areas: tax management, investment management, retirement strategies, estate conservation, and insurance and annuity products. The company has locations in Little Canada, Maple Grove, New Brighton and Arden Hills, MN. Financial Dimensions Group employs more than 20 financial advisors and generates approximately $20 million in annual revenue.
Last year, data breaches impacted the personal information of over 320 million people. While the methods that hackers use to orchestrate these attacks vary, the end result is the same: sensitive consumer information ends up in the hands of criminals.
Given that data breaches are becoming more and more common and the fact that hackers are becoming more adept at carrying out crimes of fraud against victims, it is essential that you know what to do in the event your information is leaked in a data breach.
Keep in mind, the biggest—but far from the only—risk data breaches pose is that a hacker uses your personal information to steal your identity or sells your information on the dark web to another criminal. What the hacker then does with the information can vary from financial identity theft to healthcare ID theft, depending on the compromised data. While you can’t prevent a data breach from occurring, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft or other fraud after receiving a data breach letter.
After receiving a data breach letter, the first thing to do is to carefully read the letter to determine what information was accessible to potential criminals. Depending on the type of data that was compromised will inform your response, and you may want to take additional steps to protect yourself. So, while the steps below apply to all data breaches, they are not an exhaustive list. This is especially the case if a breach involves highly sensitive information such as your financial account numbers or Social Security number.
Hackers usually try to use any stolen data as soon as they can. This is because they don’t want to give you the chance to close your account. Thus, many people notice fraudulent activity shortly after a breach. However, it may take some time for criminals to obtain other information they need to steal your identity or commit other types of fraud. Thus, it is imperative that you diligently check your online bank and credit card accounts, as well as your credit report. This includes checking accounts that were not compromised in the breach.
Credit monitoring is a fee-based service that helps keep you on notice when anyone tries to access your credit. Typically credit monitoring costs between $20 and $40 per month. However, companies typically offer victims free credit monitoring for a period of time—usually between one to two years. Indeed, Royal Alliance indicates that it is providing victims of the breach with this service. It is always a good idea to sign up for free credit monitoring because it can alert you to potential fraud. Additionally, there is no risk to signing up for free credit monitoring because doing so doesn’t impact your rights to bring a data breach lawsuit against a company that negligently leaked your information.
All three of the major credit bureaus will put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit account at no cost to you. A fraud alert notifies companies that you have reason to believe someone may try to fraudulently open an account in your name, putting them on notice and encouraging them to take additional precautions. A credit freeze takes this protection even further by preventing anyone from pulling your credit without your advance approval.
At Console & Associates, P.C., our consumer privacy lawyers monitor all security and data breaches to help affected consumers pursue their legal remedies. We offer free consultations to 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’ve been affected by the FDG data breach or any other data security incident, Console & Associates, P.C., will investigate your case at no charge and offer you thorough advice about how to most effectively proceed with your case. If you decide to bring a case, we only get paid if you do. If your claim is successful, any legal fees are either paid by the defendant or come out of the funds recovered from the defendant. If your claim doesn’t result in a recovery, you will pay nothing.
To schedule your free consultation, just call (866) 778-5500 today or fill out our secure contact form.
Below is a copy of the initial Royal Alliance data breach letter, Inc. (the actual notice sent to consumers can be found here):
We are writing to notify you that FDG J&N LLC (“FDG”) experienced a security incident that may have involved some of your personal information. FDG is an entity not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (“Royal Alliance”) but whose financial professionals are registered with Royal Alliance for the sale of securities products and provision of financial advice. This letter explains the incident, outlines the measures we have taken, and provides steps you can take in response.
On June 1, 2022, we launched an investigation into suspicious activity originating from an employee’s email account. As soon as we became aware of the activity, we took immediate steps to secure the account and launched an investigation. Our investigation determined that an unauthorized individual accessed an employee’s email account. While we have no evidence that your specific information was accessed or misused, we are notifying you out of an abundance of caution. On a positive note, this incident did not affect Royal Alliance or Advisor Group Inc. computer systems and there is no impact to these associated systems or data. Furthermore, your advisor has experienced no disruptions in servicing your account.
What Information Was Involved?
The account contained an email or attachment that may have included your information, including your name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, financial account number, Social Security number, and other information related to the accounts we service on your behalf.
What We Are Doing.
Your confidence and trust are important to us, and we regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause. To further help protect your information, we have implemented additional measures to enhance our existing security protocols and are re-educating our staff for awareness on these types of incidents. Additionally, we have arranged to provide identity monitoring at no cost to you through Kroll. The identity monitoring services we are making available to you include Credit Monitoring, Fraud Consultation, and Identity Theft Restoration. For more information on identity theft prevention and Kroll Identity Monitoring, including instructions on how to activate your complimentary services, please visit the below website and see the additional information provided with this letter.
Visit [Redacted] to activate and take advantage of your identity monitoring services. You have until [Redacted] to activate your identity monitoring services. Membership Number: [Redacted]
What You Can Do.
We encourage you to remain vigilant by reviewing your account statements and credit reports for any unauthorized activity over the next 12 to 24 months. If you see unauthorized charges or activity, please contact your financial institution immediately. For more information, including some additional steps you can take to help protect your information, please see the pages that follow this letter.
For More Information.
We regret this incident occurred and apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, please call [Redacted], Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Central Time, excluding U.S. Holidays.