Over the past few years, strings of high-profile data breaches have been reported in the news, bringing to the foreground the serious nature of these incidents and how the general public is put in great peril by the exposure of their private and personal information. Not that the gravity of the situation was unacknowledged, then the big one happened. In September of 2017, Equifax announced a massive data breach affecting personal identifying information of 143 million people —more than half the country’s adult population. It is just as galling that Equifax discovered the breach on July 29, but disclosure to the public did not come until over a month later. Indeed, Equifax officials are reportedly being investigated by the US Department of Justice for alleged insider trading of stocks prior to the public disclosure of the breach.
Lawsuits and investigations against Equifax are mounting, brought not only by consumers, but cities, states and federal authorities. While the fallout remains to be seen, this security breach is far from unprecedented. Anthem Inc. paid $115 million to resolve claims resulting from a 2015 criminal hack of similar sensitive information. Just last year, Home Depot Inc. agreed to settle with consumers for $19.5 million over a hack that exposed payment information. A year earlier, Target Corp. settled with consumers over its data breach for $17 million. In most cases, these businesses end up having to pay financial institutions even more because these institutions also have to deal with the fallout of fraudulent accounts and identity thefts resulting from the breaches. These are just examples of the higher profile cases, but in no way discounts the devastating personal wreckage arising from breaches of lesser known businesses and institutions.
Now more than ever, with existing laws available to protect consumers, the American public needs competent legal representation to advocate for them and protect their interests in the face of tech-driven mischief which is evolving and becoming more sophisticated.
If you believe your information was compromised in a data breach or you have received notification of a data breach, call the attorneys at CounselOne today for a free consultation at (310) 789-2145 or complete the form above to see whether you have a legal claim.