On August 4, 2022, Friedrich Air Conditioning, LLC reported a data breach with the Office of the Attorney General of Vermont. According to Friedrich, the breach resulted in the names and Social Security numbers of certain individuals being compromised. After confirming the breach and identifying all affected parties, Friedrich Air Conditioning 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 Friedrich Air Conditioning data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.
What We Know About the Friedrich Air Conditioning Data Breach
The information about the Friedrich Air Conditioning, LLC data breach comes from an official filing with the Office of the Attorney General of Vermont. According to the most current information, on February 9, 2022, Friedrich detected a data security incident affecting the functionality of the company’s IT network. In response, Friedrich blocked any unauthorized access, changed all passwords, and engaged the assistance of outside technical experts to assist in the company’s investigation.
The company’s investigation confirmed that there was unauthorized access across its IT network. The investigation also revealed that the unauthorized access may have started as long ago as June 2021, and, over this time, sensitive consumer data contained on the Friedrich network was accessible to the unauthorized party.
Upon discovering that sensitive consumer data was accessible to an unauthorized party, Friedrich Air Conditioning began the process of reviewing all affected files to determine what information was compromised and which consumers were impacted by the incident. While the breached information varies depending on the individual, it may include your name and Social Security number.
On August 4, 2022, Friedrich Air Conditioning sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
More Information About Friedrich Air Conditioning, LLC
Founded in 1883 and based in San Antonio, Texas, Friedrich Air Conditioning, LLC is a manufacturer of air conditioner units. The company specializes in various types of air conditioning units, including window, through-the-wall, packaged terminal, portable, and ductless mini-split units. Friedrich also manufactures air purifiers and dehumidifiers. Friedrich Air Conditioning employs more than 138 people and generates approximately $27 million in annual revenue.
What Are the Possible Harms of a Data Breach Involving Your Information?
Hackers and cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to obtain consumers’ personal, financial and protected health information. And while a cyberattack disrupts the target business, the primary goal of most hackers is to make money. But how can they profit off of your stolen information?
There are many ways that cybercriminals can use your sensitive information to generate a profit for themselves. Below are a few of the most common crimes orchestrated by cybercriminals after they steal consumers’ sensitive information.
Intercept Your Tax Refund
A hacker who comes into possession of your Social Security number can file a fraudulent tax return on your behalf in hopes of intercepting your tax refund. They do this by filing a tax return as quickly as possible and providing their address or account information to the IRS. While you might think this type of fraud would be easy to detect, victims of tax refund fraud often don’t realize they’ve been targeted until the IRS rejects their tax return because it’s already been filed. Filing your tax return as soon as possible can help reduce the risk of tax return fraud.
Open Credit Cards or Take Out Loans
The most common harm that befalls data breach victims is that hackers use their information to open up a credit account, usually a new credit card or personal loan. Of course, to do so, a cybercriminal also needs your name, date of birth, and address; however, they can usually obtain this information either through a database of previously leaked information or through a quick online search.
Receive Medical Treatment in Your Name
Hackers in possession of your protected health information may try to obtain medical care in your name or sell your information to someone else who intends to do the same. This is referred to as healthcare identity theft, which involves a criminal going to the doctor and giving them your information, essentially pretending to be you. This not only leaves you with the bill for the treatment but can also cause your medical records to contain incorrect information, as the hacker’s information can be mixed up with your own.
Open Fraudulent Utility Accounts
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 13 percent of fraud incidents in 2016 involved the creation of new phone and utility accounts. To open up a utility account, all a hacker needs is your name, address and your Social Security number. Again, if a hacker has your Social Security number, they can usually locate your name and address with relative ease.
Victims of a data breach should ensure that they take the necessary steps to protect themselves from identity theft and other frauds. In addition, victims may consider looking into a data breach class action lawsuit against the company that leaked their information.