Notice of a Data Security Incident
Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, PA (“Gunster”) responded to a data security incident that involved personal information of some individuals, which Gunster obtained in connection with providing legal services. This notice explains the incident, the measures that have been taken, and some steps you can take in response.
Upon learning of the security incident, Gunster immediately took measures to contain the incident and securely restore its network. A thorough investigation was conducted with the assistance of firms with specialized experience addressing similar incidents. Gunster determined from the investigation that there was unauthorized access to its document management file system over the weeks leading up to its discovery of the incident.
Through Gunster’s analysis, it determined that files that may have been involved in the incident contained personal information obtained in connection with providing legal services for its clients and other law firm business. The information varied by individual and included name and one or more of the following: date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, passport number, other government-issued identification number, financial account information, and medical information, including medical records numbers, health insurance benefit information, claims data, and diagnosis and treatment information.
On April 6, 2023, Gunster began mailing letters to individuals whose information may have been involved in the incident and regarding whom Gunster has been able to identify an address. Since that date, additional letters have been mailed. Gunster also established a dedicated, toll-free call center to answer questions that individuals may have. If you believe your information was involved and have any questions about this incident, please call (866) 869-0385, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am and 6:30 pm, Eastern Time (excluding major U.S. holidays).
For individuals whose information may have been involved in the incident, Gunster encourages you to actively monitor for the possibility of fraud and identity theft by reviewing your financial statements, credit reports, health insurance benefit statements and healthcare billing statements for any unauthorized activity. If you notice any unauthorized activity, contact the relevant financial institution or the credit bureau reporting the activity immediately.
To help prevent something like this from happening again, Gunster has implemented additional safeguards and technical security measures to further protect and monitor its systems.
ADDITIONAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
Gunster reminds you that it is always advisable to be vigilant for incidents of fraud or identity theft by reviewing your account statements, health insurance benefit statements, healthcare billing statements and free credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free credit report, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting companies is as follows:
Equifax, PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-888-378-4329
Experian, PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion, PO Box 1000, Chester, PA 19016, www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Attorney General’s office in your state. You can obtain information from these sources about steps an individual can take to avoid identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes. You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report. Obtain a copy of the police report in case you are asked to provide copies to creditors to correct your records. Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is as follows:
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), www.identitytheft.gov
Fraud Alerts and Credit or Security Freezes:
Fraud Alerts: There are two types of general fraud alerts you can place on your credit report to put your creditors on notice that you may be a victim of fraud—an initial alert and an extended alert. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for one year. You may have an extended alert placed on your credit report if you have already been a victim of identity theft with the appropriate documentary proof. An extended fraud alert stays on your credit report for seven years.
To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit bureaus. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two, and all three will place an alert on their versions of your report.
For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, an Active Duty Military Fraud Alert lasts for one year and can be renewed for the length of your deployment. The credit bureaus will also take you off their marketing lists for pre-screened credit card offers for two years, unless you ask them not to.
Credit or Security Freezes: You have the right to put a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, on your credit file, free of charge, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.
How do I place a freeze on my credit reports? There is no fee to place or lift a security freeze. Unlike a fraud alert, you must separately place a security freeze on your credit file at each credit reporting company. For information and instructions to place a security freeze, contact each of the credit reporting agencies at the addresses below:
Experian Security Freeze, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com
TransUnion Security Freeze, PO Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094, www.transunion.com
Equifax Security Freeze, PO Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348, www.equifax.com
You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
How do I lift a freeze? A freeze remains in place until you ask the credit bureau to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. If the request is made online or by phone, a credit bureau must lift a freeze within one hour. If the request is made by mail, then the bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after getting your request.
If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit bureau the business will contact for your file, you can save some time by lifting the freeze only at that particular credit bureau. Otherwise, you need to make the request with all three credit bureaus.
Gunster is located at 777 South Flagler Drive, Suite 500 East, West Palm Beach, FL 33401-6194 and can be reached by phone at 800-749-1980.
Additional information for residents of the following states:
Connecticut: You may contact and obtain information from your state attorney general at: Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, 165 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106, 1-860-808-5318, www.ct.gov/ag
District of Columbia: You may contact and obtain information from your attorney general at: Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, 441 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, 1-202-727-3400, www.oag.dc.gov
Maryland: You may contact and obtain information from your state attorney general at: Maryland Attorney General’s Office, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202, 1-888-743-0023 / 1-410-576-6300, www.oag.state.md.us
Massachusetts: Under Massachusetts law, you have the right to file and obtain a copy of a police report. You also have the right to request a security freeze, as described above. You may contact and obtain information from your state attorney general at: Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 1-617-727-8400, www.mass.gov/ago/contact-us.html
New York: You may contact and obtain information from these state agencies: New York Department of State Division of Consumer Protection, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12231-0001, 518-474-8583 / 1-800-697-1220, http://www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection; and New York State Office of the Attorney General, The Capitol, Albany, NY 12224-0341, 1-800-771-7755, https://ag.ny.gov
North Carolina: You may contact and obtain information from your state attorney general at: North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, 9001 Mail Service Centre, Raleigh, NC 27699, 1-919-716-6000 / 1-877-566-7226, www.ncdoj.gov
West Virginia: You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer reporting agencies place “fraud alerts” in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft, as described above. You also have a right to place a security freeze on your credit report, as described above.
New Mexico: A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act: The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records). Your major rights under the FCRA are summarized below. For more information, including information about additional rights, go to www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore or write to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.
- You must be told if information in your file has been used against you.
- You have the right to know what is in your file.
- You have the right to ask for a credit score.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
- Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.
- Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
- Access to your file is limited.
- You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
- You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.
- You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization.
- You may seek damages from violators.
- Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights