On August 17, 2022, Calcium Products, Inc. reported a data breach with the office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts after the company experienced a “data security incident." While Calcium Products did not publicly release the type of data that was leaked, the fact that the company reported the incident means that it is likely sensitive consumer information was compromised. After confirming the breach and identifying all affected parties, Calcium Products began sending out data breach letters to all affected parties.
If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are in the wake of the Calcium Products data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.
What We Know About the Calcium Products Data Breach
The information about the Calcium Products, Inc. data breach comes from an official filing with the Attorney General of Massachusetts. However, in its notice, Calcium Products did not provide many details about the incident, only informing affected parties that their sensitive information may have been exposed to unauthorized access. The company did not explain how consumers’ data was compromised or the data types that may have been subject to unauthorized access.
However, in response to the data security incident, Calcium Products is offering victims 24 months of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services through TransUnion. Typically, companies only extend the offer of free credit monitoring if a breach involves sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers or financial account information. However, whether the Calcium Products breach involved either of these data types has not yet been confirmed.
On August 17, 2022, Calcium Products sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
More Information About Calcium Products, Inc.
Calcium Products, Inc. is a manufacturing company based in Ames, Iowa. The company specializes in making superfine mineral powders for use in various agriculture applications. Some of the company’s products include pelletized limestone, pelletized gypsum, aglime and professional turf. Calcium Products employs more than 97 people and generates approximately $19 million in annual revenue.
How Can Victims of a Data Breach Protect Themselves from Identity Theft and Other Frauds?
For those who have been lucky enough not to have ever experienced identity theft, the consequences of a data breach may not appear to be all that bad. Maybe you think that a few phone calls to your bank and credit card company will clear everything up, and the incident will be in your rear-view mirror. However, in reality, once someone uses your information to steal your identity or commit other frauds in your name, resolving the situation can be time-consuming, stressful and costly. According to recent estimates, the average data breach victim spends more than $1,300 to resolve a case of identity theft and devotes more than 200 hours to restore their credit. This is hardly a minor inconvenience.
If someone obtains your information in a data breach, they typically act quickly, for example, by opening up new loans or credit cards in your name. If the company that was targeted sends you a data breach letter in a timely manner, it may give you the chance to reduce the risk of fraud by taking certain steps to protect yourself. However, to some extent, this depends on the information contained in the letter.
Data breach letters should fully inform victims of a breach of what information was leaked. This can inform a victim’s response. However, if a company provides only very little information, it puts consumers in a difficult position.
Regardless, below are some of the most important steps to take after any data breach. Of course, depending on the type of information that was leaked, you may need to take additional action,
Review the data breach letter to identify what information was leaked;
Report the breach to your banks and credit card companies;
Close any bank accounts or credit card accounts if your account numbers were compromised;
Enroll in free credit monitoring, which is usually provided by the company that leaked your information;
Contact a credit bureau to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit account; and
Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card accounts for any signs of fraudulent activity.
By taking these steps, you can greatly reduce the chance of falling victim to identity theft or other frauds.
Of course, preventing identity theft should not fall on victims’ shoulders. And sometimes, despite taking all available precautions, some victims will still experience identity theft. In these situations, it is important that you understand their rights. United States data breach laws allow victims to bring a data breach class action lawsuit against a company that negligently leaked their information. However, these cases are complex, and those with questions about what to do after a data breach or what rights they have against a company should reach out to a data breach lawyer.