Data Breach Danger: Study Shows It’s Real

Data Breach

So you received a data breach notification in the mail… no big deal, right? Not according to Javelin Strategy & Research’s latest report. In fact, Javelin’s latest research reveals you are four times more likely to suffer identity fraud if you’ve received a data breach notification within the past year.

The average fraud victim will spend 30 hours and $496 out-of-pocket costs to restore their affairs, merchants and financial providers will spend billions to protect systems and brands, and law enforcement will work hard to chase the bad guys.

Many states around the country are enacting laws requiring entities that have experienced data security breaches to notify affected individuals whose personal information may be at risk. However, there seems to be a disconnect between breach notifications and consumer awareness of the risk they bring.

Why You Should Take Notice

  • During each of the past three years, an average of 11% of consumers received a breach notification.
  • Of these consumer breach victims, more than 33% experienced exposure of their Social Security numbers and 15% had their ATM PINs compromised.
  • Despite 19.5% of breach victims suffering some kind of fraud in the past year, only 2% attribute their fraud to the breach.

Come On, Do I Really Need To Worry About This?

It might be a good idea considering the Identity Theft Resource Center has already tracked 356 data breaches so far this year. Forty-six of those breaches have involved financial institutions, and when they or their third-party service providers are breached, it’s nasty.

Take for example the Heartland Payment Systems breach earlier this year. The result of this breach was a staggering compromise of 130 million credit and debit cards. Now that’s a lot of Visa cards…yikes!

What You Can Do?

There is very little we can do to avoid data breaches, however there are steps that we can take to better prepare ourselves for the next time that breach notification shows up in the mailbox:

  • If you get a data breach notification, don’t dismiss it. “Data breach notifications are intended to help consumers take protective action,” said Mary Monahan, Javelin Managing Partner & Research Director.
  • Obtain credit monitoring services. Most companies will provide this free of charge in the event of a security breach, so take them up on it. You may also consider employing a more complete credit monitoring service or even initiating a credit freeze.
  • Limit the amount of sensitive data you give out online or over the telephone. If the requested information has nothing to do with the transaction you’re making, don’t provide it. For more on this, read our article about becoming a “privacy grouch.”
  • Avoid or be cautious using wireless devices, “convenience cards”, credit cards or unfamiliar online transaction sites.

Lastly, remember the words of the orator, Robert Green Ingersoll when he said:

“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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