Wednesday, November 4, 2015

For Cybercriminals, Data Breaches are about Quality over Quantity

When the average data breach victim receives a notification letter about a big company losing their personal information, he or she probably has no clue what the potential consequences actually are. Of course it’s never a good thing when criminals get their hands on your sensitive information, but the severity of the data breach from the victim’s perspective depends on what was actually stolen by the hackers. For example, it may surprise you that your stolen credit card information is some of the least valuable data in the cybercriminal market, due to the banking world’s ability to cancel or change that information quickly.

However, the most valuable information to cybercriminals is your personal information that cannot be changed quickly—such as your address, phone number, social security number, and driver’s license number. Hackers sell this personal information to other cybercriminals that in turn use it for a myriad of illegal activities and cause countless problems for the victim. For cybercriminals, a complete set of personal information for one victim is usually much more valuable than having partial sets of information for dozens of victims.

This is why it is so important for companies that have experienced a data breach to be entirely transparent about exactly what information was taken from them. Many states have adopted laws requiring companies that failed to protect personal information to promptly notify all victims of the breach. 

Unfortunately, in a lot of instances these companies send the notification letters, but they try to downplay the severity of the breach, which gives the victims a false sense of security when they should actually be taking steps to protect themselves from potential identity theft. The victims have to know exactly what information of theirs was lost in order to effectively protect themselves.

To learn more about how personal information from a data breach is valued and exploited in the cybercriminal world, follow this link to a well-written article:

If you have been notified that your personal and private sensitive information has been compromised in a data breach, please contact Chris Hellums at 1-866-515-8880 or by email at today to discuss your legal rights. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Electronic Logging Devices: What are they and will they be approved?

     Electronic Logging Devices or ELDs are essentially electronic log books for truckers.  They capture speed, distance, and driver location.  The U.S. Department of Transportation's Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made a proposal that would required ELDs in commercial trucks and buses.

     Crash data shows that over the road truckers often exceed the limits on work hours. It is not uncommon for drivers and their employers to alter log books or to maintain a separate set of books, to conceal their excessive driving from inspectors.   Driver impairment, which includes fatigue, was a factor in 12 percent of the total crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2012.

     Safety advocates have been pushing for ELDs for some time and it is believed that even if adopted, it may take some time for implementation.

Risperdal: What are these claims about?

We are starting to see more and more Risperdal claims.  What are these claims about?

Risperdal is the brand name for a drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc (a division of Johnson & Johnson) and initially approved to treat schizophrenia.

Use of Risperdal can cause Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in males) and Galactorrhea (breast milk discharge), Diabetes, and Hyperglycemia.

In 2013, Janssen settled claims brought by the DOJ for $2.2 billion  involving treatment of elderly dementia patients and marketing the drug to children and adolescents.

In 2014, Janssen settled claims brought by the Montana Attorney General..

What are the criteria for claims currently being pursued?

1.  Age:  Born before 12/31/75
2.  Took the brand name drug or generic manufactured by Patriot
3.  Claims where breasts develop either while on the drug or within 2-3 months after taking the drug.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at

John Stewart on the NCAA

Here is an interesting link to John Stewart speaking out about the NCAA:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stryker Settles Another Hip Case: Says Liability Could Exceed $1B

Five of the Eight Stryker Rejuvenate/ABG II failed hip cases have settled at court ordered mediation early in the litigation process.  Before removing the systems from the market, approximately 20,000 were sold.

To date, in excess of 1200 lawsuits have been filed with more filings daily.  Stryker has reported that its liability could exceed $1B.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Biomet Agrees to Settle Metal Hip Claims

Biomet, Inc. has agreed to pay at least $56 million to settle claims involving their metal on metal hips known as the M2a Magnum.  The lawsuits were consolidated in Indiana, home to Biomet's headquarters.

In order to qualify, you must file suit in Federal Court by April 15, 2014.  The base award is $200,000 and applies to individuals who had the implant installed and removed more than 180 days after it was implanted.

Biomet has denied liability and never recalled the hip system; however, it is doubtful any surgeons are implanting metal on metal hip devices in light of the massive failure rates seen with this class of implants.

If you think you may have a Biomet metal on metal hip, please act immediately.  If you have any questions or would like your claims evaluated, please feel free to contact me at 1.866.515.8880 or email me at

File Your Tax Return Before A Hacker Files For You

If you are not already motivated to file you tax returns, the thought of a hacker filing with your information and obtaining your refund should be motivation enough.

As part of what we are seeing from the unraveling of the Target data breach scandal, it is clear that hackers are fully engaged in tax fraud.  According to a 2013 report from the Treasury Inspector General's office, The IRS issued $4 billion in bogus tax refund checks in 2012.  The money went to sophisticated criminal enterprises who stole social security numbers and filed returns under an alternative address.

If you have been a victim of such a scam, you should contact The Identity Protection Inspection Unit of the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.  If you are the victim of identity theft and think you need to take legal action, you can contact me and I will evaluate your legal claims.