FCS Financial Data Breach Alert | Console and staff, PC

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Recently, FCS Financial, a major agricultural lender based in Missouri, announced that a data breach occurred in April this year that exposed the personal information of thousands of employees and consumers. Data breaches such as the one reported by FCS Financial pose a serious risk of identity theft and other financial loss to all affected consumers.

If you have received a data breach letter from FCS Financial, you may have questions about whether you were affected by the data breach and what the consequences of the data breach could be. Consumer protection and data breach lawyers are currently investigating the FCS Financial data breach and can help those affected understand what is at stake and whether they have legal remedies against the company.

The FCS financial data breach

On June 16, 2021, FCS Financial discovered that on April 18, 2021, an unauthorized third party accessed documents containing the personal data of more than 85,000 people. According to the data breach notice issued by FCS Financial, the parties concerned are consumers and employees. The notification was sent to all potentially affected parties on September 17, 2021.

FCS Financial stated that the information that was accessed included:

  • First and last name;

  • Physical addresses;

  • Email address;

  • Phone numbers;

  • Social security numbers;

  • Driver’s license numbers;

  • Account information;

  • Tax identification numbers and IRS identifiers;

  • Dates of birth;

  • Health insurance information; and

  • Medical information.

The amount of information exposed during the breach was significant. Unfortunately, FCS Financial has no way of finding out what information the unauthorized third party actually accessed. However, given the nature of the data being compromised, the risk of identity theft is certainly very real to anyone who receives the data breach letter from FCS Financial.

The company reports that it has found no evidence that the unauthorized party misused the consumer information disclosed through the breach; However, as a precaution, FCS Financial is offering free two-year membership to a credit monitoring service to anyone whose information may have been disclosed.

Below is a copy of the text from the notice issued by FCS Financial:

Darling [Customer],

Due to your current or past relationship with FCS Financial (“FCS”), we would like to inform you in writing of a recent incident that may have affected some of your personal information. We have no reason to believe that your personal information has been misused to commit fraud or identity theft. However, as your data could be affected, this notice provides you with information on what you can do for your own protection if you consider this to be appropriate.

What happened?

FCS recently experienced a data security incident that affected some of our computer systems. A subsequent forensic investigation revealed that an unknown third party obtained certain data from our systems, including documents that may have contained some of your personal data. Although we are not aware of any cases of fraud or identity theft resulting from the incident, we have conducted an internal review to determine the content of the documents that are accessible to the unknown third party.

What information was involved?

On June 16, 2021, our investigation revealed that documents acquired by the third party contain personal data about a number of people who have either worked with or for our association. Subsequently, other information obtained during the investigation indicated that it may contain personal data of other people. As a precaution, we have provided a broad and detailed list of the information that may have been involved. The nature of the information differs from person to person and we cannot say for sure whether this information was obtained for a specific person. However, the information affected may include your name, address and other contact information such as email or telephone number; Social security number; Driver’s license number; or financial information such as account information, tax identification number or unique IRS-related identifier. For a limited number of people, the incident may have been their date of birth, health insurance information, or medical information.

What are you doing?

After learning of the incident, we immediately restored the affected systems, conducted an initial investigation into the incident and contacted the relevant authorities. We also hired a leading forensic security company to investigate the incident and confirm the security of our systems. In addition, we have taken measures to reduce the risk of such incidents in the future, including the implementation of additional technical controls. We decided to provide full notification of the security incident in order to warn people who might be involved. While we have no evidence that your information has been used for fraud or identity theft, we are offering a free two-year membership to Experian IdentityWorksSM Credit 3B. This product helps identify potential misuse of your personal information and provides you with identity protection services that focus on instantly identifying and resolving identity theft. IdentityWorks Credit 3B is completely free to you and signing up for this program will not affect your credit score. For more information on Identity Theft Prevention and IdentityWorks Credit 3B, including instructions on how to activate your free two-year membership, see the supplementary information in this letter.

What you can do?

Further information on the measures to protect yourself against identity theft or fraud can be found in the enclosed leaflet “Additional important information”. We also recommend that you enable the credit monitoring services we offer.

Other important information:

FCS is committed to the privacy and confidentiality of our customers and community members. We take our responsibility to protect your personal information seriously and apologize for any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause. For additional information and assistance, please call 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Central Time Monday through Friday, excluding some US holidays.

How can I protect myself from the FCS financial data breach?

If you have received notification of a data breach from FCS Financial, it does not mean that your data has necessarily been accessed by a third party or that you are the victim of identity theft. However, it is a possibility. And while state and federal laws offer some protection to victims of a data breach, there are no guarantees that you will not be held responsible for unauthorized activity. Hence, it is important that you take the following steps to protect yourself.

  1. Read the notice in its entirety to determine what information has been disclosed;

  2. Sign up for FCS Financial’s free creditor monitoring service;

  3. Change your passwords for all online accounts using unique passwords for each site;

  4. Notify banks and credit card companies of the violation;

  5. Regularly check your bank accounts for signs of unauthorized activity;

  6. Regularly check your credit report for signs of identity theft; and

  7. Set up a fraud alert with one or more of the three credit bureaus.

Can you sue a company for a data breach?

The laws on liability for data breaches are complex; In the past few years, however, several large corporations have been sued for misuse of consumer information exposed through a data breach. If your data has been accessed by a hacker or other unauthorized party, it is important to understand your rights and remedies, even if you have not yet discovered any unauthorized activity. An experienced consumer protection attorney can familiarize you with your rights so you can protect yourself and make an informed decision about how to proceed.


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