A data breach occurs when confidential information, like your Social Security number, credit card number or health information, is exposed or accessed by an unauthorized person.
How Do Data Breaches Occur?
Banks, schools, doctor’s offices, and retail companies all collect and store sensitive and/or financial information about their customers and employees. In some instances, this information is simply mishandled, either in an errant email or a misplaced storage device like a laptop or hard drive. Other times the data is stolen by hackers who infiltrate servers with the specific purpose of obtaining private data.
What Is the Cost of a Data Breach?
Studies show that individuals who receive a data breach notification letter are more than four times as likely to become victims of identity theft. In addition, average out-of-pocket costs are over 200% higher for victims of data breach.1
Information thieves can collect:
- Email addresses
- Street addresses
- Social Security numbers
- Credit Card or bank account numbers
- Health information
What thieves can do with this information:
- Identity theft
- Employment-related fraud
- Loan fraud/payday loan fraud
- Bank fraud
- Benefits fraud
- Tax fraud
- Other identity fraud
Data Breach Statistics:
- 7% of U.S. consumers received a data breach notification in 2010.1
- Data breach victims spend an average of 41 hours on resolution.1
- Total breaches in 2010: 662 2
- Total number of records exposed in 2010: 16,167,542 2
1 Javelin Strategy & Research. "2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report." February 2011.
2 Identity Theft Resource Center. “2010 ITRC Breach Report.” December 29, 2010.