Recently, Absolute Results Productions, Ltd. confirmed that the company was the victim of a malware attack and, as a result, the sensitive information of certain consumers was compromised. If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the Absolute Results Productions data breach on behalf of people whose information was exposed. As a part of this investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from Absolute Results Productions.
Last year, 1,862 data breaches affected more than 189 million people. On average, victims of identity theft spend 200 hours and over $1,300 recovering their identity. Many victims also suffer emotional distress, credit damage, and may even end up with a criminal record. Taking immediate action is the best way to prevent the worst consequences of a data breach.
What We Know So Far About the Absolute Results Productions Data Breach
According to an official filing by the company, on October 8, 2021, Absolute Results learned that an unauthorized party had gained access to its computer systems. In response, the company initiated an investigation into the incident to learn whether any consumer information was affected. This investigation revealed that the person who orchestrated the malware attack was able to access and copy certain files. Absolute Results also indicated that the unauthorized party may have posted these files on the dark web.
Upon learning of the extent of the security breach, Absolute Results Productions then reviewed the affected files to determine what information was compromised. While the compromised information varies by consumer, it may include your name, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, passport number, bank account number, Social Security number and any other information you provided to the company.
On around March 15, 2022, Absolute Results Productions began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
Absolute Results Productions, Ltd. is an automobile marketing company based in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. The company specializes in database marketing, training salespeople, and conducting private sales events. In total, Absolute Results Productions has held more than 27,000 private sales and sold more than 425,000 vehicles. The company has approximately 146 current employees and generates roughly $28 million in annual revenue.
More About the Causes and Risks of Data Breaches
Often, data breaches are the result of a hacker gaining unauthorized access to a company’s computer systems with the intention of obtaining sensitive consumer information. While no one can know the reason why a hacker targeted Absolute Results, it is common for hackers and other criminals to identify those companies believed to have weak data security systems or vulnerabilities in their networks.
Once a cybercriminal gains access to a computer network, they can then access and remove any data stored on the compromised servers. While in most cases a company experiencing a data breach can identify which files were accessible, there may be no way for the company to tell which files the hacker actually accessed or whether they removed any data.
While the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach does not necessarily mean it will be used for criminal purposes, being the victim of a data breach puts your sensitive data in the hands of an unauthorized person. As a result, you are at an increased risk of identity theft and other frauds, and criminal use of your information is a possibility that should not be ignored.
Given this reality, individuals who receive an Absolute Results Productions data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like Absolute Results are responsible for protecting the consumer data in their possession. If evidence emerges that Absolute Results failed to adequately protect your sensitive information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.
What Are Consumers’ Remedies in the Wake of the Absolute Results Data Breach?
When customers decided to do business with Absolute Results, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that consumers would think twice before giving a company access to their information if they knew it wasn’t going to be secure. Thus, data breaches such as this one raise questions about the adequacy of a company’s data security system.
When a business, government entity, non-profit organization, school, or any other organization accepts and stores consumer data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow consumers to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.
Of course, given the recency of the Absolute Results Productions data breach, the investigation into the incident is still in its early stages. And, as of right now, there is not yet any evidence suggesting Absolute Results is legally responsible for the breach. However, that could change as additional information about the breach and its causes is revealed.
If you have questions about your ability to bring a data breach class action lawsuit against Absolute Results Productions, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.
What Should You Do if You Receive an Absolute Results Productions Data Breach Notification?
If Absolute Results Productions sends you a data breach notification letter, you are among those whose information was compromised in the recent breach. While this isn’t a time to panic, the situation warrants your attention. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and other fraudulent activity:
Identify What Information Was Compromised: The first thing to do after learning of a data breach is to carefully review the data breach letter sent. The letter will tell you what information of yours was accessible to the unauthorized party. Be sure to make a copy of the letter and keep it for your records. If you have trouble understanding the letter or what steps you can take to protect yourself, a data breach lawyer can help.
Limit Future Access to Your Accounts: Once you determine what information of yours was affected by the breach, the safest play is to assume that the hacker orchestrating the attack stole your data. While this may not be the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. To prevent future access to your accounts, you should change all passwords and security questions for any online account. This includes online banking accounts, credit card accounts, online shopping accounts, and any other account containing your personal information. You should also consider changing your social media account passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.
Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: After a data breach, companies often provide affected parties with free credit monitoring services. Signing up for the free credit monitoring offers some significant protections and doesn’t impact any of your rights to pursue a data breach lawsuit against the company if it turns out they were legally responsible for the breach. You should contact a credit bureau to request a copy of your credit report—even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity. Adding a fraud alert to your account will provide you with additional protection.
Consider Implementing a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. Credit freezes are free and stay in effect until you remove them. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may seem like overkill, given the risks involved, it’s justified. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), placing a credit freeze on your account is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, just 3% of data breach victims place a freeze on their accounts.
Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach requires an ongoing effort on your part. You should regularly check your credit report and all financial account statements, looking for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You should also call your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.
Below is a copy of the initial data breach letter issued by Absolute Results Productions, Ltd.:
Dear <<First Name>>,
As you may know, Absolute Results Productions Ltd. (« Absolute Results ») recently experienced a cybersecurity incident involving data held by it of its affiliate, Absolute Results Technologies USA Inc. As soon as this was discovered, we acted quickly to secure the affected systems and commenced an investigation with the assistance of outside cybersecurity experts. This letter is to inform you that In our investigation, we learned that the incident may have impacted some personal information that you provided to us. This notice provides you with information about the incident, our response, and additional steps you may take to protect your information, should you determine it Is appropriate to do so. This notice was not delayed by law enforcement.
On October 8, 2021, we discovered that our systems were accessed by an unauthorized party. When we discovered this incident, we took immediate steps to secure our systems by quarantining all servers and machines, restoring our servers and machines to pre-virus conditions, and working with outside cybersecurity counsel and experts to further address and contain the incident.
We also began a prompt investigation. To date, the Investigation has confirmed that an unauthorized actor gained access to a portion of our network and through the use of malware (a virus), encrypted network files. The investigation also revealed that the actor accessed and copied some data files, and that some or all of these copied data files have been or may be posted on the dark web. The investigation has not found evidence of other misuse. While at this time we have been unable to identify exactly what data files have been copied and may be posted on the dark web, out of an abundance of caution, we are treating all of the data on our Impacted servers and machines as potentially copied and acquired. That universe of data may contain personal information about you.
What Type of Information Was Involved
The Absolute Results systems impacted potentially contained the following types of personal information: name, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, passport number, bank account information, social security numbers, and any other personal information that you provided to Absolute Results.
What We Are Doing
We are reaching out to notify you about the cybersecurity incident and to provide information below regarding steps you can take to remain vigilant and protect yourself, Including offering a 24-month subscription to credit monitoring, as described below. We have also reported this incident to law enforcement, the Offices of various State Attorneys General, and other relevant authorities pursuant to applicable law.
Additionally, we are offering you a premier credit monitoring and identity theft product, the Equifax Complete Premier, for two years at no charge to you, which includes:
- Annual access to your 3-bureau credit report and VantageScore credit scores;
- Daily access to your Equifax credit report and 1-bureau VantageScore credit score;
- 3-bureau credit monitoring with email notifications of key changes to your credit reports;
- WebScan notifications when your personal information, such as Social Security Number, credit/ debit card or bank account numbers are found on fraudulent internet trading sites;
- Automatic fraud alerts, which encourages potential lenders to take extra steps to verify your Identity before extending credit, plus blocked inquiry alerts and Equifax credit report lock;
- Identity Restoration to help restore your identity should you become a victim of identity theft, and a dedicated Identity Restoration Specialist to work on your behalf;
- Up to $1,000,000 of identity theft Insurance coverage for certain out of pocket expenses resulting from identity theft; and
- Lost Wallet Assistance if your wallet Is lost or stolen, and one-stop assistance in canceling and reissuing credit, debit and personal Identification cards.
Signing up for the free credit monitoring and Identity protection services will take about five minutes. To activate your account visit www.equifax.com/activate and use your unique activation code: <> before May 31, 2022. We encourage you to activate the services as soon as possible.
What You Can Do
We also have enclosed an addendum to this letter (« Addendum A• What You Can Do ») to provide you with further information as to what you may do to protect against fraud.
We deeply regret that this Incident occurred and are working to prevent these types of events from occurring in the future. If you have any questions about this incident, you may contact me by email at email@example.com or by phone at (604) 774-3062.