Posted On November 10, 2022 Consumer Privacy & Data Breaches
On November 2, 2022, Petersen International Underwriters filed notice of a data breach with the Attorney General of Massachusetts after the company experienced a data security incident that resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to sensitive consumer information. Based on the company’s official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, account numbers, credit & debit card numbers and driver’s license numbers. After confirming that consumer data was leaked, PIU 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 PIU 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 Petersen International Underwriters.
The available information regarding the Petersen International Underwriters breach comes from the company’s filing with the Attorney General of Massachusetts. According to this source, on December 20, 2021, Petersen International Underwriters detected a network security issue when portions of the company’s computer network unexpectedly became inaccessible. In response, PIU took the affected systems offline, secured its network, and then launched an investigation into the incident with the assistance of third-party data security specialists.
The company’s investigation confirmed that an unauthorized party was able to gain access to certain files contained on its network. The investigation also revealed that some of these files contained sensitive information belonging to individuals who sought an insurance quote or obtained an insurance policy through the company.
Upon discovering that sensitive consumer data was made available to an unauthorized party, Petersen International Underwriters 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, Social Security number, account number, credit & debit card number and driver’s license number.
On November 2, 2022, Petersen International Underwriters sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
Petersen International Underwriters is an insurance underwriter based in Valencia, California. The company provides insurance solutions for disability, life, medical and contingency risks, all of which are sold through licensed insurance professionals. Petersen International Underwriters is licensed to do business in all 50 states and other countries across the world. Petersen International Underwriters employs more than 40 people and generates approximately $45 million in annual revenue.
Data breaches involve an unauthorized party—usually a criminal—accessing your personal information with the intent of using your stolen data for their own benefit. One important thing to realize when thinking about how to reduce the risk of identity theft in the wake of a data breach is that, by the time you get a data breach letter, it’s often been months since hackers first obtained your information. Thus, they have a significant head start. However, this doesn’t mean that there are not things you can do to limit these risks.
Below is a list of things that all data breach victims should consider doing as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, that this is not an exhaustive list, and you may want to take additional steps, especially if your Social Security number or financial account numbers were leaked.
After a data breach, companies must report the incident to those who were affected as well as to any state where victims of the breach live. The first thing to do after receiving a data breach letter is to carefully review the document to determine whether your information was leaked and, if so, what data was compromised. Data breach letters also contain important information about how the unauthorized party accessed your information, what the company has done since then, and whether there have been any reports of identity theft or fraud from other victims.
Hackers usually try to use any stolen information as quickly as possible to avoid giving a victim time to close their accounts or otherwise limit hackers’ access to their credit. However, hackers might not always be able to immediately carry out their crimes if a breach only contains limited amounts of information. In these cases, hackers need additional information to orchestrate their schemes, which can take time to acquire. Because of this, it may not be until weeks or months after a breach that hackers can use the stolen information. Therefore, it is imperative that you frequently check all your online accounts to monitor for any suspicious activity.
Credit monitoring is a service that alerts you to any suspicious activity related to your credit account. On average, credit monitoring costs about $20 to $40 per month. However, companies almost always offer victims of a data breach free credit monitoring for a period of time—usually between one to two years. Indeed, TransUnion indicates that it will be providing victims of the breach with this service. Signing up for credit monitoring is free and provides you with an easy way to keep an eye on your credit profile. Moreover, signing up for free credit monitoring doesn’t impact your rights to bring a data breach lawsuit against the company that leaked your information if the company was negligent leading up to the breach.
Fraud alerts and credit freezes are free services offered by the major credit bureaus (one of which is TransUnion). A fraud alert puts companies that pull your credit on notice that there is reason to believe that someone may be fraudulently using your information. A credit freeze offers additional protection by preventing any company from pulling your credit without your advance approval. The Identity Theft Resource Center has repeatedly explained that placing a credit freeze on your credit account is the single best way to prevent fraud after a data breach.
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 PIU 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.
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