Why does a victim of a data breach benefit from having a Recovery Solution?

This “Data Breach Response – How To” article is part of our larger series by Heather Noonan.  This post is also available on the ID Experts Data Breach Blog.

Someone once explained recovery solutions with  the analogy of repairing your car. Yes, you could probably put in your own engine or reattach your own bumper, but would you want to?  With the time it takes to get the parts, educate yourself, acquire the tools needed, it could be days to weeks to even months before you attempt, let alone finish the task at hand. Recovery solutions are the same idea. Yes, you could contact the Social Security Administration, the IRS, the credit bureaus, the creditors, etc., but the amount of time and energy it takes is very daunting.

Let me explain.

With recovery services, you are assigned a specific, personal recovery advocate throughout the entire process. These trained specialists know who to contact, how to get up the chain of command, the specific phone numbers and how to reach a live human being without waiting on hold for hours at a time. The recovery advocate will do the work for you, so you can go on living your life, working and being with your family.

Why should a company purchase recovery solutions? Simple answer. They were responsible for your information and the problem, they should make it better. Recovery services will repair someone’s credit if and when there is identity theft. They will work on the individual’s behalf, as their power of attorney, to bring their credit back to pre-theft status. They will be the person that tells your story over and over and will push when they need to push. They will speak with the agencies that don’t care about your story and who see you as just another victim. Recovery advocates will carry that stress and burden for you. They will make the phone calls, fax in the numerous documents, follow up relentlessly to make sure things are getting down, and progress is being made, so you can carry on without pulling your hair out and losing sleep.

Remember the last time you lost your debit card or your cell phone and the panic you felt? When someone has stolen your credit card or your identity, speaking to multiple agencies and multiple people can make you feel the same way. You automatically go into panic mode and want the damage mended now, and now isn’t soon enough. You simply want someone to just “fix it”. This is where a recovery advocate comes in. And yes, it can take months to have information removed from your credit, but it’s worth it to have someone assisting and doing it for you.

After a breach, the last thing you want as a company is one of your patients or clients threatening to sue you. They will sue if they feel ignored or had to spend weeks on the phone trying to fix something that was turned upside for them. Take it from me and I have seen it. There are always a handful of individuals that if you push them too far, they will be going directly to their lawyer and you will not only be paying for their broken credit, but you will be paying for their legal fees and mental anguish, too.

Recovery solutions are also interminable for people. They typically don’t end at one year like a credit monitoring service will. If you are enrolled in a recovery solution, the recovery assistance for an individual will be there for the original issue for as long as they need it.

If you still aren’t sold, I have one last example that hit it on the nail for me.  Plus the fact that I don’t want to replace my own engine and don’t have the time or skills for it, I learned that medical identity theft is one of the most complicated thefts there is. Not only do you need to contact the doctor’s office, the billing office, the specific lab where the service took place, the insurance carrier, but you also need to contact the collection agency who will be collecting on the late payment. You also need to contact medical records as it is now on your record. The list goes on and on. Something I didn’t realize or understand either. I didn’t realize how complicated this could be and after thinking about it, it wears me out. Including recovery services is a logical idea for the company and individuals that have been breached. Take my advice on this one. Following a company breach, the last thing you want is to be sued and more reputational harm.

-Heather Noonan

heather.noonan@databreachwatch.org

Senior Project Manager-Data Breach Response Team

For more help on responding to a healthcare data breach

About Heather Noonan

Heather Noonan, a Senior Project Manager of a Data Breach Response Team, has been gracious enough to help write our “How To” series. She brings an unprecedented amount of knowledge when it comes to healthcare data breach response as she has managed hundreds – from small 10 person breaches to over 300,000 person breaches – going on 5 years.

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