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Your private and personal information is stored in computers around the country. Organizations get it when you apply for a credit card, open a bank account or sign up for insurance.
When you provide this information, the organizations that collect it from you have a responsibility to protect it. This means it needs to be kept secure and confidential.
Access should only be provided to authorized people.
This information may include everything a thief needs to steal your identity, including your:
- Social Security Number
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number
- Health insurance number
- Bank account number
Companies that have data stored digitally must constantly monitor their security requirements in order to keep pace against online electronic theft.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Your data can be stolen by hackers when laptops are lost that contain this sensitive data; because companies lack proper security encryptions for data in the cloud or online; and when information is transferred in a nonsecure manner.
Thieves may use these stolen medical records to steal your identity and open lines of credit in your name.
Credit and Debit Card Fraud Gets Billed to You
Data breaches regarding credit and debit cards are often in the news. When store systems are breached, thieves have access to enough information to start making unauthorized charges to your credit cards.
Home Depot is a recent case in point. Estimates say that the credit card numbers and related information of 56 million people have been stolen. Home Depot has 1,977 stores in the U.S. and 180 in Canada, all of which were affected.
In this case, a security firm became aware of the breach before Home Depot did. Computer hackers had broken into its in-store payment systems. They used a version of malware, just as in the Target data breach that affected 40 million customers.
More disturbingly, Home Depot’s breach began in April of 2014, but it was not made public until months later — in September. And, thieves may have been in Home Depot’s system as late as September 7, five days after the breach was first reported.
Plenty of time for thieves to charge up a storm on your cards. Hackers can also use the data they steal to open new lines of credit without your knowledge.
According to The New York Time, Home Depot was slow to raise its defenses against hackers despite alarms from security experts as far back as 2008.
Not only may this affect you personally, but it also impacts businesses in your area. Community and local banks, who know you and are more likely to work with you on financial and credit needs, may have their funds seriously depleted by reimbursements for fraudulent charges.
Hacking Financial Institutions Costs You Money
Major banks and financial institutions are reporting that they have been hacked by cyber criminals. The hackers can use customer data to withdraw funds from checking and savings accounts, and even empty them completely. Although banks are required by law to let customers know when data has been breached, it often takes weeks for this information to be disclosed.
The only thing you can do to prevent this is to monitor your bank accounts regularly and pay a great detail of attention to any transactions that appear.
Medical Identity Theft Affects Health Care Costs
According to the Ponemon Institute, more than 1.8 million individuals were the victims of medical ID theft in 2013. Medical identity theft occurs when criminals steal your health insurance information and name to visit a doctor, order prescription drugs, or file false insurance claims.
When your medical information has been comprised, the companies are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to notify you.
Stolen medical records can also be used to create new identities, providing access to your credit card and financial information, and allowing thieves to open lines of credit in your name.
In February, 2015, W&L filed a lawsuit against Anthem, Inc., one of the largest healthcare insurers in the U.S. A data breach left the records of 80 million of their customers vulnerable. If you have experienced actual fraud — accounts opened in your name, unauthorized credit card charges, notification that your tax refund was sent but not to you, medical-related charges you didn’t incur — read Anthem Data Breach Sparks Class Action Lawsuit.
You Should Be Compensated If Exposed to Identity Theft
After a security breach, organizations often offer credit monitoring to customers who may have been compromised. This public relations effort has become almost standard. In reality, it does very little to minimize any potential damage done to you.
We believe that you deserve more than that. When your identify is stolen, it often results in direct financial costs, as well as the time and energy it takes for you to deal with a situation that is not your fault.
It can also negatively affect your credit rating, influencing your ability to buy a car or home. Financial institutions that issue credit and debit cards are also injured when they are forced to cover fraudulent charges and assessed penalties for charges that are reversed.
Whether you are an individual or a business that’s been compromised, you deserve compensation.
And to get it, you’ll need a law firm that know how to play in the big leagues, and has before. We have successfully sued and won litigations against major corporations across the U.S.
How Weitz & Luxenberg Can Help
As a nationally recognized personal injury, consumer protection, and class action law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg is committed to helping clients win cases. For more than 25 years, we have dedicated ourselves to holding irresponsible practitioners accountable, and we have won $17 billion for our clients.
We would feel privileged to assist you. For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please call us at 800-476-6070. If you prefer, you can complete our form, and our client relations representative will contact you shortly.