A data breach can happen at small and large organizations, and it’s important for companies to understand how to protect their clients. Data breaches can compromise personal and financial information, exposing names, addresses, Social Security numbers, medical information, and other private data.
The increasing number of data breach lawsuits in the recent past has made it necessary for everyone to know basic information regarding the concept of data breach and legal actions to protect from such breaches. A data breach occurs when the sensitive information of individuals, stored or collected by a business or organization, is illegally accessed and stolen. These data breaches can ruin the credit of customers, which, in turn, can prevent them from getting loans for their cars, homes, or businesses in the future. An individual’s identity stolen through a data breach may take a long time to recover. Data breach lawsuits are currently being filed as a way to protect individuals from having their information stolen again in the future and to reimburse those individuals for the harm caused as a result of a data breach.
Generally, stolen information from a data breach is illegally sold on the black market and is then used to buy goods online, which harms the victims of the data breach financially and sometimes emotionally. Victims of data breaches can file a lawsuit to protect the information stolen by someone else illegally. Lawsuits for identity data breach and medical data breach were recently filed against various companies and organizations. Home Depot, Adobe, Sony, Neiman Marcus, Community Health Systems, Target, Living Social, PF Chang’s, TJX (the owner of Marshalls and TJ Maxx), and Staples are some of the companies that have faced data breach lawsuits after their customers were harmed by the data breaches.
RECENT DATA BREACHES
Basic Information about Data Breach
The act of data breach can happen anywhere with any organization, big or small, including universities and offline retail stores where the information of the clients and customers is usually collected and stored. Data breaches typically occur when the passwords of their devices where the information of their clients or customers is stored is hampered by the hackers. Hackers can use the stolen information for illegal gains by selling it on the black market to other criminals who can use it for stealing money from victims’ bank accounts or misusing their identity for other illegal purposes.
Most of the effected individuals and organizations do not know about the breach of their data unless they experience some harm in the process. The data stolen by the hackers may include the names, contact information, addresses, social security numbers, bank account information, email addresses, usernames, and passwords of the customers and clients of the organizations. The data stolen by the hackers is not necessarily used for stealing money from bank accounts or misusing the identity instantly, but the risk of such happenings always remains to the vulnerability of the information. The possibility of misusing the hacked information in the future always exists.
Reasons of Data Breach Incidents
Most of the data breach incidents occur due to negligence of the organization in implementing proper security systems and maintaining them for the protection of the information of their clients from the hackers. The organizations have to face data breach lawsuits when the breach of customers’ information becomes obvious as the organizations dealing in sensitive personal information are supposed to focus on the vulnerability of their security. For instance, Target has to face various types of lawsuits for the breach of data of its customers including for breaking Minnesota law for not alerting its customers as soon as the security issues were detected, as well as for invasion of privacy and negligence along with the data breach lawsuits.
Types of Data Breach Lawsuits
Various types of lawsuits for the breach of personal information may be filed depending upon the nature of the data breach like medical data breach and personal identity data breach. Brief information about various data breach lawsuits provided below can help you in filing a lawsuit if it happens to you.
Medical Data Breach Lawsuits
In order to reduce the effect of lack of public trust the European Union and the US government have made the notification of medical data breach mandatory due to the increasing number of such incidents. They are planning to protect the laws for the protection of the confidentiality and security of the electronically shared medical information of the patients by allowing them to monitor their medical records and receiving the notifications of their breaches. They can file data breach lawsuits against the companies dealing with their personal information along with their server companies for the violation of consumer protection laws together with the rights of patients’ privacy.
Identity Theft Lawsuits
The data breach lawsuit filed by Alexander Furman et al against JPMorgan Chase & Co in 2013 is one of the examples of lawsuits for the theft of identity in which the company was blamed for printing customers’ social security numbers outside the letters posted to them to inform them about the efforts made by the bank to protect their personal information. In the lawsuit, the company was sued on the grounds that the social security numbers cannot be replaced like debit card or credit card so the specific exposure of social security numbers can be especially harmful for victims. The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois stated that by printing the social security numbers of its customers on the mailings, JPMorgan Chase violated the Consumer Fraud Act of Illinois. In order to safeguard the personal information of their citizens several states have passed certain laws due to the revelation of increasing incidents of identity theft.
Reasons for Increase of Data Breach Lawsuits
- According to various experts, the increase in the number of identity theft data breach lawsuits is due to various reasons including:
- Irresponsible practices of the companies, their employees, and third party service providers,
- Millions of people are affected with the increase in financial losses and number of victims due to the impact of increasing crime rate all over the world,
- Action taken on demand of the consumers,
- Increasing attention paid by the state and federal governments and regulators,
- Implementation of consumer protection laws by several states,
- Various agencies have designed and implemented some identity and privacy theft laws including Red Flags, HIPAA and GLBA for the protection of the consumers’ personal information.
If you have been a victim of identity theft or identity fraud due to a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation from the organization responsible for keeping your information safe. Contact Abbott Law Group today for a free case evaluation.