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Data Breach

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Data Breach

Privacy and Security Law Violations

What is it?
Data breach happens when personal information is collected or stored by a company and that information is made available for or put to illegal use. This can result in identity theft and fraud, a crime in which someone wrongfully uses another’s personal data in a way that involves deception.  A study published by USA Today showed that 43% of companies suffered data breaches in 2014. User names, addresses, passwords, social security numbers, private health information, email addresses, income data, employment information, phone numbers, bank account and credit card numbers can be stolen, used, or sold on the black market.

Some of the more notable breaches are:

  • ​Target- November to December of 2013.  40 Million credit and debit card numbers ​ ​were stolen along with 70 million email addresses.
  • ​Home Depot- April to September 2014. $3 billion in fraudulent charges from 80 million ​customers and employees
  • ​Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield- February 2015. Total losses have not yet been ​calculated for the second largest health insurance provider in the U.S.

What Did They Do?
Retailers and other companies are required to ensure their customers information is kept safe by exercising reasonable care and may be liable for any resulting damages for failure to do so.  Companies must also notify authorities and customers in a timely manner when a breach occurs. When they are negligent in safeguarding their customers data this is when a breach happens. Companies must defend themselves with appropriate security measures that are kept up to date and conduct regular analysis of data systems. Industry and accepted IT security standards must be followed and monitored so that when attackers strike, massive breaches such as these do not happen. Often warning signs are ignored or outdated software is used because upgrades are expensive.  These companies accepted money from their customers and stored their personal information with the understanding that the company would protect them from theft.

How Does This Affect Me?
When you are a victim of identity theft or fraud you may have not only financial damage, but also increased risk of future harm.  You have to deal with the hassle and lost time of dealing with the breach of information including replacing credit and debit cards, obtaining credit reports and new insurance, opening and closing bank accounts, inability to pay other bills, and late charges. There may be expenses associated with correcting information as well.  Fraudsters use the stolen information to make purchases, apply for loans and credit cards in your name. 

Contact
If you believe your personal information has been compromised and have had unauthorized charges on your account, or have been otherwise harmed by access to your personal information due to the reckless practices of another you may have a claim for reimbursement.

Call the Hershewe Law Firm at 877-782-3790 or contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

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