On September 2, 2022, CBC Group, Inc. (“CBC”) reported a data breach with the Attorney General of Montana. According to the CBC, the breach resulted in the names, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses or government identification card numbers, financial account numbers, and passport numbers of certain individuals being compromised. After confirming the breach and identifying everyone impacted by the breach, CBC Group 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 CBC Group data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.
What We Know About the CBC Group Data Breach
The information about the CBC Group, Inc. data breach comes from the Attorney General of Montana. According to this source, on June 23, 2022, CBC learned that it had been the target of a cyberattack. While the details of the attack were not disclosed, the company notes that, in response, it secured its systems, reported the incident to the FBI, and began working with outside cybersecurity professionals to assist with the company’s investigation. As a result of this investigation, CBC Group, Inc. confirmed that an unauthorized party gained access to and may have obtained data from the CBC network.
Upon discovering that sensitive consumer data was accessible to an unauthorized party, CBC Group began the process of reviewing all affected files to determine what information was compromised and which consumers were impacted by the incident. The company completed its review of all affected files on August 16, 2022. While the breached information varies depending on the individual, it may include your name, Social Security number, driver’s license or government identification card number, financial account number, and passport number.
On September 2, 2022, CBC Group sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
More Information About CBC Group, Inc.
Founded in 1947 and based in Phoenix, Arizona, CBC Group, Inc. is a retail-focused holding company that owns many smaller brands. Some of the company’s brands include Santa Barbara Design Studio, Slant Collections, 47th and Main, Stephan Baby, Heartfelt, Faithworks, Christian Brands Catholic, Christian Brands Church Supply, Bella Sleep & Spa, Murphy Robes Company, and Pomchies. CBC Group employs more than 136 people and generates approximately $33 million in annual revenue.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself After a Data Breach
As people conduct more and more business online, data breaches are becoming more common. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, more than 320 million people had their information exposed through a data breach in 2021 alone. Many of these people became victims of identity theft or other frauds as a result of these breaches. Given the frequency with which data breaches occur as well as their potential consequences, it is essential that anyone whose information is leaked in a breach knows how they can protect themselves.
After a data breach, the biggest risk is that a hacker (or someone they sold your information to) will use your personal information to steal your identity. Of course, once you trust a company with your information, there is nothing you can do to prevent a breach. However, there are a few important steps you can take after learning of a breach to reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft or other fraud.
Carefully Read the Data Breach Letter
When you receive a data breach letter in the mail, the first step is to carefully review the letter to determine what information was compromised. While these steps apply to all data breaches, they should not be seen as an exhaustive list. So, depending on the type of data that was exposed, you may consider additional steps to protect yourself. This is especially the case if a breach involves highly sensitive information such as your Social Security number or credit/debit card numbers.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Accounts
Hackers usually try to use the information they obtain through a data breach as quickly as possible—before you can close your account or flag it for potential fraud. However, sometimes hackers need additional information to carry out fraud, and it may take them some time to use your information. Thus, it is imperative that you diligently check your online bank and credit card accounts, as well as your credit report. This includes checking accounts that were not compromised in the breach. At the first sign of any unauthorized activity, be sure to close all affected accounts.
Enroll in the Free Credit Monitoring Offered by the Company
Credit monitoring is a fee-based service that helps you determine if someone is trying to use your credit to open up a new account. This service typically costs between $20 and $40 per month. However, after a data breach, companies often offer victims free credit monitoring services for a period of time—usually between one to two years. Indeed, CBC Group indicates that it will be providing victims of the breach with this service for 12 months. There is no harm in signing up for free credit monitoring, as it can help you determine if an unauthorized party is trying to access your credit and taking a company up on their offer will not impact your rights if you later decide to bring a data breach lawsuit against the company.
Consider Placing a Fraud Alert or a Credit Freeze on Your Credit Account
The three major credit bureaus allow consumers to place fraud alerts or credit freezes on their credit accounts regardless of if their information was exposed. A fraud alert notifies potential creditors that your information was recently leaked in a data breach, raising a red flag each time someone tries to pull your credit. A credit freeze offers additional protection by preventing anyone from pulling your credit without your advance approval. The Identity Theft Resource Center explains that placing a credit freeze on your credit account is the single best way to prevent fraud after a data breach.
The consequences of a data breach can be severe; however, they may also be preventable. Victims of the CBC Group data breach who are interested in learning more about their options should reach out to an experienced data breach lawyer for immediate assistance.