How to Protect Your Personal Information from Data Breaches

How to Protect Your Personal Information from Data Breaches

In modern times, we send and receive digital information all the time. On desktop computers, on our phones, for work, shopping, and leisure. It’s not surprising that data breaches have become a prevalent and alarming issue.

When personal information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and many other problems. 

Our data breach attorneys at Kazerouni Law Group understand the anxiety and stress that come with a data breach. We’re here to help you navigate the aftermath if you become a victim.

Of course, the best-case scenario is to avoid a data breach altogether. But what can you do to protect your data from a breach?

Understanding Data Breaches

A data breach occurs when sensitive, protected, or confidential data is accessed, disclosed, or stolen by an unauthorized individual. This can include personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, medical records, and login credentials.

Data breaches can result from various sources, including hacking, insider theft, and inadequate security measures by companies.

8 Ways to Protect Yourself From Data Breaches

Preventive measures are the first line of defense against data breaches.

Here are some strategies to protect your personal information:

  1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords. Create complex passwords that include a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays or common words. Additionally, use different passwords for different accounts to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.
  2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication. Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring not only a password but also a second form of verification, such as a text message or email confirmation. This makes it significantly harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts.
  3. Keep Software Updated. Regularly updating your software, including operating systems, browsers, and applications, ensures that you have the latest security patches and protection against known vulnerabilities.
  4. Be Cautious with Emails and Links. Phishing scams are a common way for hackers to gain access to personal information. Don’t open unsolicited emails or reply to those asking for personal information or urging immediate action. Always verify the sender’s identity and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  5. Use Secure Networks. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for transactions involving personal information. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your data.
  6. Monitor Your Accounts Regularly. Regularly check your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions. Setting up account alerts can detect suspicious activity early.
  7. Limit the Sharing of Personal Information. Be mindful of the personal information you share online, particularly on social media. Adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see your information and avoid oversharing.
  8. Shred Sensitive Documents. Dispose of documents containing personal information properly by shredding them. This prevents dumpster divers from retrieving your information.

What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Data Breach

Despite taking precautions, you may still fall victim to a data breach. If that happens, take immediate action to mitigate the damage:

Confirm the Breach

If you receive a notification about a data breach, verify its legitimacy by checking the company’s official website or contacting them directly. Be cautious of phishing attempts posing as breach notifications.

Change Your Passwords

Immediately change the passwords for the affected accounts and any other accounts that use the same or similar passwords. Use strong, unique passwords for each account.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

If you haven’t already, enable two-factor authentication on all your accounts to add an extra layer of security.

Monitor Your Accounts

Keep a close eye on your financial accounts, credit reports, and other sensitive accounts for any unusual activity. Report any suspicious transactions to your bank or credit card company immediately.

Place a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze

Victim of a Data Breach

Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report, which warns creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. You can also place a credit freeze, which restricts access to your credit report, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

Report Identity Theft

If you suspect your identity has been stolen, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at They provide a recovery plan and resources to help you manage the situation.

Seek Professional Help from a Data Breach Litigation Attorney

Consult a consumer protection attorney to understand your rights and explore potential legal actions. They can guide you through the process and help you seek compensation if applicable.

How a Consumer Protection Attorney Can Help

A consumer protection attorney plays a crucial role in helping victims of data breaches. An attorney can explain your rights under state and federal laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if applicable.

Your lawyer can explain the breached entity’s obligations to you. 

Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to determine how the breach occurred and who you can hold liable. This may involve working with cybersecurity experts and gathering evidence to build your case. 

If your personal information was compromised due to negligence or inadequate security measures, you might be entitled to compensation. An attorney can file claims against the responsible parties and represent you in court if necessary. 

In many cases, companies prefer to settle claims out of court. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.

Damages from a data breach can include financial losses, such as unauthorized charges or costs related to identity theft, as well as non-economic damages, like emotional distress. An attorney can help you pursue all available damages to make you whole.

Who May Be Liable for a Data Breach?

Liability for a data breach can fall on:

Data Breaches
  • Companies and Organizations – Businesses that collect and store personal information have a duty to protect it. If they fail to implement adequate security measures, they can be held liable for resulting damages. This includes retailers, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and other entities that handle sensitive data.
  • Service Providers – You may hold third-party service providers, such as cloud storage companies or payment processors, liable if their negligence leads to a data breach. Companies should ensure that their service providers adhere to stringent security standards.
  • Employees and Insiders – In some cases, data breaches result from intentional actions by employees or insiders. You may hold these individuals personally liable for their actions, and the companies they work for may also bear responsibility if they fail to adequately supervise or secure their systems.
  • Hackers and Cybercriminals – While hackers and cybercriminals are often difficult to track down and prosecute, they are ultimately responsible for initiating the breach. Law enforcement agencies work to identify and prosecute these individuals, but victims may still seek compensation from other liable parties.

Protect Yourself and Know Your Rights

Data breaches can have serious and lasting consequences, but by taking proactive steps, you can reduce your risk and be prepared to act swiftly if you become a victim.

Remember to use strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, keep your software updated, and monitor your accounts regularly. If you experience a data breach, change your passwords immediately, place a fraud alert or credit freeze, and report any identity theft.

At Kazerouni Law Group, we are committed to protecting your rights and helping you recover from the impact of a data breach. Our experienced consumer protection attorneys can guide you through the process, investigate the breach, and help you seek compensation for your losses.

If a data breach harmed you, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We are here to help you every step of the way. Reach out to us at Kazerouni Law Group to get started. Call our firm today at (800) 400-6808 or contact us online anytime and let us help you regain your peace of mind.

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