Thursday, September 21, 2006

Identity Theft: The Next Corporate Liability Wave?

Tobacco Lawsuits, Asbestos Lawsuits,...

Data Breach Lawsuits?

With thousands of new Identity Theft cases being reported every single day and thieves wreaking havoc in people's lives, victims are looking for someone to compensate them for the major disruption of their lives.

According to the Gartner Group, fewer than 1 in 700 identity theft cases ever lead to a conviction. The problem has become overwhelming to law enforcement. Agencies are short staffed and overworked. Plus, when someone steals your personal information in your city and uses it in other cities across the country, jurisdiction issues come into play. What law enforcement agency is responsible for building a case and prosecuting it?

With all of these variables, victims are extremely disappointed when they don't get the help they expect and realize that justice isn't being served. They are looking for someone to hold accountable for what has happened to them. They want someone to pay for the crime against them.

Where do they turn their attention? They are now focusing on the companies and organizations that have not taken the proper steps to protect their personal information. They focus on the organizations with the deep pockets. With increasingly more state and federal laws being passed, they have the right to do so.

Identity Theft not only costs the individual victim, but now the companies that employ the victim or have done business with the victim are losing out.

Companies and organizations must take proactive steps to mitigate this risk.

Contact us for more information on the ways we can help your organization comply with the state and federal laws and mitigate the risk at no cost to your company.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

University of Texas Data Breach

University of TX at San Antonio announced on Monday that UTSA officials discovered an unauthorized data access and have issued an Identity Theft warning to those individuals whose information was breached.

The compromised server contains faculty and staff personnel information for individuals who have been employed at UTSA during the last four years. It also includes information pertaining to students who received financial aid during the last four years.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Did You Know?

There are several new state and federal laws impacting business owners and executives when it comes to data protection and privacy. These laws impact every single business in the U.S. regardless of size or type.

If a business collects any sort of personally identifying information on it's customers or employees, it is obligated to comply with several laws that are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, as well as State and Federal agencies. Failure to comply with these can result in civil and criminal charges against a company as well as it's executives.

If a business is negligent in protecting the information of it's customers or employees, it can cost thousands of dollars in penalties, as well as subject the company to costly litigation.

Data Breaches are a daily occurrence in companies big and small. Take a look at the link to the right that gives a chronology of the reported data breaches since Choicepoint exposed thousands of people's personal information last year.

Data Breach lawsuits will, no doubt, be a common occurrence in the near future.

5 Common Types of Identity Theft

1. Driver's License Identity Theft
2. Character/Criminal Identity Theft
3. Social Security Identity Theft
4. Financial Identity Theft
5. Medical Identity Theft

When you mention Identity Theft, most people think of the Citibank commercials with the old ladies talking about riding their motorcycles that they just bought with someone else's name. Most people think of credit cards when they think of Identity Theft. But the fact is, that only accounts for about 22% of Identity Theft. The other four areas are a huge problem as well. Your bank can't help you in any of the other cases. In all five cases, you will most likely need access to legal counsel to help you understand your rights and to work on your behalf.