When several data breaches happened a few years back, people hoped that was the end of it. Since that time, this has unfortunately become an all-too-common occurrence. Most recently, data breaches impacting Equifax, one of the three primary credit reporting agencies, and the social media giant Facebook have millions of people asking about their legal rights.
Data breaches include the theft or use of unauthorized information, such as names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and other vital details. If anything ends up in the wrong hands, it could wreak havoc on a person’s life. If you suspect or confirmed a breach of your personal or business data, it is essential that you take the appropriate steps.
Banking Information and Credit Cards
– Contact your bank or credit union, as well as the issuers of any credit cards, right away, notifying them of a potential or confirmed data breach. Those organizations will immediately take all the necessary steps to protect your accounts and identity. While you might need to open new accounts, it is worth it to prevent loss of money and identity theft.
– For precautionary purposes and following a suspected or confirmed data breach, order a copy of your credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. With that, you can identify any unusual activity. Also, this allows you to take quick action that will protect your FICO score. Considering that Equifax was one of the more recent companies hit with a data breach, you need to go over every line item in your report. Under three acts, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), you have the right to legally dispute any inaccuracies found on your report in connection with the data breach.
Harassing Phone Calls
– If you start receiving phone calls from unknown companies after a data breach with them claiming you either owe them money or have an account, you want to file a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), or both. While that should stop the calls, if they persist, you could receive compensation of $500 for every call received after filing a complaint.
– Due to the complexities of a data breach, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney who specializes in this area of the law. Your lawyer will advise you as to the appropriate steps to take and, if necessary, file a claim or sue a company or individual on your behalf.
Without question, data breaches create messy situations. However, instead of becoming the victim, you can be the victor by following the recommended steps. Most importantly, make sure you have a qualified attorney working in your corner. Sometimes, recovering from a data breach is relatively straightforward, but usually, this scenario requires legal intervention.
Your attorney’s goal is to help you clean up the residual effects of a data breach and protect you should something else happen in the future.