Data Breach Alert: Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc.

Console and Associates, P.C.
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Recently, Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. informed more than 58,000 individuals that their personal information was compromised in a data breach occurring as a result of a cyberattack. On September 19, 2021, Strategic Benefits Advisors learned that an unauthorized third party gained access to and potentially removed several files containing consumer information. The information revealed through the data breach involved the full names and Social Security numbers of affected parties.

A data breach occurs when an unauthorized party—often a criminal—gains access to sensitive consumer information that is in the possession of a company or other organization. Often, these hackers target organizations employing weak or outdated data security measures. Parties conducting a cyberattack may use the information obtained to commit identity theft or for other criminal purposes. Additionally, the information is also routinely sold on the black market.  While victims of a data breach may not immediately notice suspicious activity, it is essential they give the situation the seriousness it deserves, as data breaches can lead to consumers incurring significant financial losses.

Anyone in receipt of a Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. data breach letter has reason to be concerned. In recent years, the rate of identity theft has increased substantially. In many of these cases, the information used to commit these crimes was obtained through a data breach.

If you recently received a data breach letter from Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc., it is essential that you take proactive steps to protect yourself. Additionally, if evidence emerges that Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. mishandled your data leading or was negligent in how the company cared for your information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.

Is Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. Financially Responsible for the Recent Data Breach?

When you trusted Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. with your information, you hoped that the company would take your privacy seriously. Certainly, you assumed that they would take all necessary precautions to prevent your sensitive information from ending up in the hands of a hacker. However, this data breach raises some serious questions about the company’s data security measures.

Companies like Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. have an ethical and legal duty to protect consumers’ personal, identifying and financial information. While developing a robust data-privacy protocol requires companies to expend significant resources, this is merely a cost of doing business in an environment where cyberattacks are common. If a business fails to protect consumers’ sensitive information, it may be liable through a data breach class action lawsuit. Of course, the laws surrounding data breach liability are complex, and there is not yet any indication that Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. was negligent in how it handled consumer data. However, our data breach law firm is actively investigating the breach to determine the legal remedies affected parties may have against Strategic Benefits Advisors.

If you have questions about your ability to bring a Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. class action lawsuit, it is imperative that you reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.

What to Do if You Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. Sent You a Data Breach Notification

If you received a data breach notice from Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc., it means that an unauthorized person may have accessed, viewed, and kept your personal information. While no one can know why the third party sought out your information and what they plan to do with it, the situation justifies a certain level of precaution on your part.

Below are a few ways to protect yourself from identity theft and the other possible financial risks data breaches such as this one present:

  • Carefully read the Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. data breach letter to determine what information of yours was accessible;
  • Make a copy of the letter for your records;
  • Enroll in the free credit monitoring service provided by Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc.;
  • Change all your passwords and security questions for any online accounts;
  • Enable two-factor authentication, where it is available;
  • Regularly review your credit card and bank account statements for any signs of suspicious activity;
  • Monitor your credit report for any unexpected changes that may be a sign of identity theft;
  • Contact one of the major credit bureaus to request they add a fraud alert to your profile; and
  • Notify your banks and credit card companies of the data breach.

About Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc.

Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. is an employee benefits consulting firm operating out of Atlanta, Georgia. The firm was founded in 2002 by Mindy Zatto and Andy Adams. Strategic Benefits Advisors has clients in almost every U.S. state and serves employers of all sizes, ranging from those with 1,000 to over 300,000 employees. The company provides a host of services to its corporate clients, including:

  • Benefits plan consulting;
  • Benefits plan outsourcing;
  • Outsourcing optimization;
  • Vendor search, implementation & ongoing management;
  • Actuarial services;
  • Specialty call center support;
  • QDRO administration; and
  • Pension plan administration.

The Details of the Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. Consumer Data Breach

According to the most recent data breach letter released by Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc., on September 19, 2021, the company was the victim of a “criminal cyberattack.” While the company did not expound on how the third party was able to access consumers’ data, a subsequent investigation revealed that the names and Social Security numbers of 58,431 individuals were compromised.

Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. explains that the company does not know whether any specific individual’s data was accessed or if any data was removed from the company’s systems. However, an investigation is ongoing. On October 19, 2021, the company sent data breach notifications to all affected parties, informing them of the breach and what they can do to protect themselves. On November 12, 2021, Strategic Benefits Advisors sent a follow-up letter, outlining additional details about the breach.

Below is a copy of the initial data breach letter issued by Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. (the actual notice sent to consumers can be found here):

Dear [Consumer],

Strategic Benefits Advisors, Inc. (“SBA”) is the third-party administrator of the Palm Tran, Inc./ATU 1577 Pension Plan (the “Pension Plan”) and writes to notify you of a recent incident that may affect the privacy of some of your information. SBA takes the protection of your information very seriously and, although we have no evidence of actual or attempted misuse of your information relating to this incident, this letter provides details regarding the incident, our response, and access to resources so that you can protect your personal information, should you feel it is appropriate to do so. We also are offering you 24 months of complimentary credit and fraud monitoring, with $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance; enrollment instructions can be found in the following pages.

What Happened? On September 19, 2021, SBA learned that it was the victim of a criminal cyberattack. We promptly took steps to secure our systems and commenced an investigation into the nature and scope of the incident. We have been working diligently to determine what may have happened and what information may have been affected. Our investigation was able to confirm that a limited number of files were accessed or acquired by the criminal actor, and on October 11, 2021, SBA’s investigation confirmed that the potentially impacted data included certain information relating to you.

What Information Was Involved? Although we are unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of your information, we are providing you this notification out of an abundance of caution because certain information relating to you was accessed and/or acquired during this event. The impacted information relating to you includes your name and [Extra1].

What We Are Doing. The privacy and security of information are among one of our highest priorities and SBA has strict security measures in place to protect information in our care. Upon discovering this incident, we immediately took steps to secure the environment and to conduct an investigation to determine the scope of any unauthorized access to legally protected information. We also commenced a review of existing security policies and are implementing additional measures and enhanced security tools to further protect information in our systems. We are also implementing additional safeguards and are providing additional training to our employees on data privacy and security. Finally, we have reported this incident to law enforcement, and will participate with any criminal investigation into this matter.

In addition to providing notice of this event, we are also providing identity theft and credit monitoring protection services for 24 months through Experian at no cost to you. Information and instructions on how to enroll in these complimentary services can be found in the “Steps You Can Take To Protect Personal Information” attached to this letter.

What You Can Do. While SBA is not aware of any actual or attempted misuse of information as a result of this incident, we nonetheless encourage you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud by reviewing your account statements, and to monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity. You may review the information contained in the attached “Steps You Can Take To Protect Personal Information.” You may also enroll to receive the identity protection services we are making available to you. There is no charge to you for the cost of this service; however, you will need to enroll yourself in this service.

For More Information. We understand you may have questions about this incident that are not addressed in this letter. We’ve set up a dedicated assistance line to answer your privacy questions. If you have additional questions or concerns, please call us toll-free at (855) 223-4413, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time, Saturday and Sunday (excluding U.S. holidays).

We sincerely regret any inconvenience this incident may cause you. Protecting information provided to SBA is very important to us, and we remain committed to safeguarding the information in our care.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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