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Unfortunately, data breaches are far too common. With millions of consumers impacted every year, these can have a significant impact on the credit and finances of hundreds of thousands of people in America and around the globe. As such, understanding how these breaches occur and what you can do to protect your information is critical. Additionally, if you suffer damages, knowing how a San Diego County identity theft lawyer can assist you during these times is vital. Keep reading to learn more about this process.

How Does a Data Breach Happen?

A data breach occurs when an unauthorized user gains access to the information of consumers. These attacks can target financial institutions, online services, government agencies, healthcare offices, and retailers. Most commonly, this is sensitive information, like names, email addresses, financial details, and even Social Security numbers.

In many instances, a disgruntled employee who may feel slighted by their company is the culprit. They may access this information as revenge against their employer, as a means of blackmailing or extorting their employer for financial gain.

However, other instances can occur where a sophisticated hacker or group infiltrates a company’s security measures to access this information. In many instances, they may take the details of consumers and sell it on the dark web for others to buy and use for identity theft. In other cases, they can take the financial information and drain funds directly from the bank accounts of victims.

What Steps Should I Take if My Information Is Involved?

When you discover your information was involved in a data breach or was otherwise compromised, ensuring you take immediate action is critical. Though you should not panic, you do not want to delay taking the appropriate steps. The most important thing you should do is immediately change your passwords to your financial and personal accounts. Next, if you have not done so already, you should turn on two-factor authentication. This can help ensure you are the only person accessing your accounts.

If you can, you should freeze your credit. This helps ensure creditors cannot access your credit history and will not open accounts in your name. However, this may not be possible for those applying for lines of credit when they discover the breach. In this case, you can place a fraud alert on your account, which requires all creditors to verify your identity before opening accounts or credit lines in your name.

If I Suffer Damages as a Result, What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, despite taking the necessary steps to protect yourself, a thief may have had access to your information before you even knew the breach occurred. However, you shouldn’t be liable for the negligence of another party. As such, you may be entitled to damages.

In a perfect world, the hacker responsible would face liability for the damages they’ve inflicted. However, as many are sophisticated, their identity may not be discovered. As such, the company at the center of the attack can face liability. This is because they have an obligation to consumers to ensure their information is protected and secure.

When you are the victim of a data breach, this can cause significant stress. As such, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney from Barthel Legal to discuss your legal options. Our team will do everything possible to help you recover the justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.