Data privacy and security on everyone’s minds. With so many financial transactions taking place online, the slightest mistake could give hackers access to your passwords, and with them your bank account information or social security number. Experienced users of the Internet have learned to recognize scams; perhaps you even fell for a phishing scam years ago before you knew what they were or called the phone number that a computer virus told you would fix it, only to have to pay hundreds of dollars. Even if you are always careful about which websites you visit and which information you enter online, you are vulnerable to identity theft simply by virtue of being an employee. No matter how cautious you are about protecting your information in your personal Internet use, you have little control over breaches of your employer’s computers or online records. Whether you are an employer whose data has been breached or an employee whose information got stolen as a result of the breach, the Minneapolis data breach lawyers at HKM Employment attorneys LLP can help you.
Protecting Your Personal and Financial Information From Hackers and Scammers
Whether you are using your work computer or your home computer, there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam that would compromise your identifying information and financial data. These are some common sense ways that you can prevent breaches of the data stored on your computer or in your online accounts, no matter your position of employment:
- Do not save passwords on your devices, and create strong passwords that are not easy to guess (for example, do not include English words in their common spellings or your own name in your passwords)
- Do not respond to unsolicited emails from people you do not know or from companies whose email lists you did not sign up for
- Do not enter your credit card number online except on secure payment forms
- Do not type your credit card number or social security number in an email
- Do not open email attachments, unless they were sent from email addresses you know and the sender indicated in the email message what they have attached
The Dangers of Business Email Compromise Scams
We have all seen those scam emails asking you to wire money to them overseas and promising to reward you handsomely, but when someone falls for those scams, they only risk impoverishing themselves. The same goes for when you respond to a phishing email that pretends to be from your email provider and asks you to verify your password. When an employee of a large company responds to a phishing email, though, they risk compromising the identifying data of all the employees of the company. In fact, businesses are an especially attractive target for phishing scams, known as business email compromise (BEC) scams when they target companies, simply because so many people’s identifying information is on file in one place.
If scammers get access to your employer’s W-2 records, they can find the social security numbers and home addresses of all the employees. If your employer provides health insurance, then a data breach can also lead to hackers stealing some of your confidential health information, the better to impersonate you. If a data breach happens, not only can cyber criminals empty your bank accounts and take out loans in your name, but they can even file tax returns while posing as you. It is as scary as it sounds, and fixing the mess can take years.
What to Do if Your Information Gets Stolen Through a Business Email Compromise Scam
According to Minnesota law, state government entities that experience a data breach must notify all persons whose data may have been stolen, by sending them a detailed report about the breach. If your information gets stolen because of a data breach at your place of employment, you are probably not the only one who is suffering. The fact that others are also in your situation will become important later, but your first move should be to contact an employment lawyer and let them know what happened. Then contact your bank and let them know when you became aware of the data breach, so that they will know that any transactions that took place after that time were fraudulent.
Recovering the money that cyber criminals stole from you after a data breach at your workplace can take a long time, but your lawyer can guide you through the process and recover as much money as you can, as quickly as possible.
What Employers Should Do in the Event of a Breach of Employee Data
If you are an employer, you should act quickly when you become aware of a breach of your data. An employment lawyer can help you exercise your rights and fulfill your responsibilities when you are in the unenviable position of being the victim of a data breach. The results of an investigation into a data breach at your company will determine which course of action you should take.
How HKM Employment Attorneys LLP Helps Victims of Workplace Data Breaches
The lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP have an excellent track record of helping employees who fell victim to identity theft and other financial crimes because of data breaches at their places of employment. In 2016, they represented plaintiffs in two important class action lawsuits related to workplace data breaches. The first lawsuit involved 800 employees of a pharmacy company whose information was stolen because the employer failed to protect employees’ information sufficiently. In the second class action lawsuit, HKM Employment Attorneys LLP represented 1,500 employees of a real estate investment employer that fell victim to a cyber-attack, causing the employees’ information to be compromised. In both cases, HKM Employment Attorneys LLP helped the employees recover damages for their financial losses.
Contact the Minneapolis Data Breach Lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP
Data breaches can happen anywhere, but if you work in the Minneapolis area and your data gets stolen through a breach of your employer’s computer network, a data breach lawyer can help you mitigate your financial losses. Contact the Minneapolis data breach lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP to set up a consultation.