What Should I do About a Data Breach Notification?

Troy Holmes

A data security breach refers to a situation in which a company's critical proprietary data is lost or compromised. When this type of data is exposed, data breach notification procedures must be enacted. These typically include escalation procedures to notify senior management and security personnel of the data loss. If an individual receives a notification letter from a company, he should tightly monitor his credit reports and privacy information for irregularities.

Canceling credit cards and obtaining new ones should be considered if financial data has been stolen in a data breach.
Canceling credit cards and obtaining new ones should be considered if financial data has been stolen in a data breach.

Private data is an important commodity on the black market. This critical information that can be used to obtain credit cards, bank loans, and fraudulent documents. This has become even more valuable with the advancement of computer automation in the financial industry. A data breach notification is a warning to a customer that his data has been exposed and may be used for illegal purposes.

An individual should treat a data breach notification letter the same way he would treat losing his wallet. Depending on the type of data exposed, he may want to change bank account numbers, obtain new credit cards, or get new bank checks. He should also pay particular attention to his credit report, watching for new accounts or inquirers for credit loans.

If a company loses private information, it is required to report this data loss to the individuals affected. This type of data spill typically happens in the banking industry with credit cards and bank account information. A data breach notification should be taken seriously because it implies that an individual’s personal information has been exposed and may be used for fraudulent purposes.

States have varying breach notification laws. In general, the laws define how an organization should prepare data breach notification material for affected customers. Most states require general information be sent in writing to the customer within a certain amount of time after the data spill. Generally, companies must make detailed information available at the customer's request.

Many forms of data that can be exposed during a data breach. This typically includes names, addresses, social security numbers, and financial information. The data breach notification letter will identify the type of data that has been exposed and when the data was lost.

Keeping a customer’s personal data secure is one of the most important requirements of a financial institution. This type of information is typically maintained in secure database servers, which are difficult to infiltrate. Most data breach situations occur due to internal fraud or mistakes made by employees handling customer’s information.

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