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What Is a Data Breach?

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A data breach occurs when an unauthorized user is able to access information on a computer network. These breaches are a serious risk for everyone because of the kinds of data companies often hold. If a breach compromises your personal data, it could lead to identity theft and financial harm.

Our data breach lawyers are ready to help you navigate the difficult circumstances surrounding the loss of your personal information. Contact us to learn if you were the victim of a data breach.  

 

The Danger of Cyber Attacks

Data breaches can be a critical threat to businesses and individuals. According to recent studies, an average American business can spend close to $10 million countering the damage of a data breach. Most organizations store contact and personal information relating to their customers, such as names, phone numbers, and even your address. But that's only the beginning of the information that could be at risk. Depending on the type of organization, it could store your information including:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit and debit card numbers
  • Bank account numbers
  • Login credentials for sensitive information 
  • Private medical, health, and insurance information

Making a purchase or signing up for rewards programs often entails giving companies all of the above data, and more. An unauthorized actor gaining access to it could quickly result in malicious actors targeting you for fraud.

 

The Consequences of Data Theft 

There are many ways that hackers can use the different kinds of information they gain to target you. Obtaining your personal identifiable information can let them put you on mailing and calling lists for scams. Medical information theft often results in fraudulent attempts to use your health insurance. A hacker who obtains your payment information can make fraudulent purchases on your card.

However, the worst case scenario for a data breach is when a hacker obtains a matching pair of your name and Social Security number. A hacker can use this to take out lines of credit, open bank accounts, and otherwise steal your financial identity. To make matters worse, this is a lifelong risk since SSNs never change.

If a data breach results in the theft of your personal data, you should receive a data breach notification letter from the company. This will tell you when and how the breach occurred, as well as what information you lost. It may also include an offer of free identity protection services, which you should always opt into. It will help you preserve your identity and won't compromise your right to pursue a data breach lawsuit. 

 

What Is a Data Breach Lawsuit?

A data breach lawsuit may seem like a long shot, due to the difficulty of tracking down a hacker and holding them accountable. Criminals behind data breaches often get away with it. However, you can still pursue justice and financial compensation through a data breach class action lawsuit. 

 

Who Bears Responsibility in a Data Breach Lawsuit?

Data breach class action lawsuits are not criminal proceedings against the perpetrator but civil proceedings against the organization that experienced the breach. They have responsibilities to hold your data securely, and there are data protection best practices that companies should maintain. For instance, companies need to train their personnel on how to avoid falling for phishing scams and need to set up institutional security measures. 

While companies are not automatically liable for data breaches, neglect can make them liable. The law also holds that companies must inform those affected of the breach in a timely manner. Failing to inform victims in line with regulations can give victims a basis for a lawsuit. 

 

What is a Data Breach Lawsuit's Damages?

A data breach lawsuit can produce several types of damages under the umbrella of economic and non-economic damages:

  • Economic damages: Compensation for your losses from fraud and the value of the time you spend dealing with fraud risks

  • Non-economic damages: Compensation for the stress and emotional consequences related to becoming a data theft victim 

You can't do this alone.  You will need the help of skilled data breach class action lawyers to win your case.

Contact our data breach lawyers to learn more about your legal options.

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