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Peoples Trust Privacy Breach Class Action
November 19, 2013
1:40 pm
honestlawyer
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On November 18, 2013, the law firms of Sutts, Strosberg LLP, Charney Lawyers and Branch, MacMaster LLP commenced a national class action against Peoples Trust Company ("PTC") on behalf of all persons in Canada whose personal information was compromised as a result of a privacy breach.

On October 25, 2013, PTC notified about 12,000 to 13,000 individuals of a risk of identity theft due to unauthorized access to a database used to collect their online application information on PTC’s website ("Notice"). The database was compromised by cybercriminals located in the People’s Republic of China. PTC discovered the breach when its customers complained of "phishing" attempts – text messages from an individual falsely claiming to represent PTC and asking the message recipient to provide their account details.

The Notice states that the personal information that may have been accessed includes customer names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth and social insurance numbers. The Notice states that PTC has arranged for a flag to be placed on the credit files of affected individuals for a period of 6 years to alert companies accessing their credit information of the data compromise.

Individuals who received the Notice may be entitled to compensation for the breach of their privacy, damages for identity theft and/or damages to their credit reputation, damages for the costs incurred to prevent identity theft, damages for the time spent changing your personal information, damages for emotional distress/inconvenience, and/or compensation for out of pocket expenses.

For more information, please go to: http://www.peoplestrustprivacy.....action.com

November 20, 2013
11:15 am
AltaRed
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I believe the poster should disclose whether he/she is a member of one of the law firms named in the post. This same/similar post has been posted on FinancialWebringForum (FWF) and RedFlagDeals (RFD) with challenges for disclosure made by forum members.

November 20, 2013
4:37 pm
JustMe
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I am wondering, who asked this law company to initiate CAS?
Should one who have received a letter from Peoples Trust contact them? Really? Should one expect 10 of thousand $ paid to him as 'damages'? That law firm is asking all kind of personal info on their site. Whys one should trust them? Maybe they are collecting personal info for some other purpose...
Your thoughts, please.

November 20, 2013
5:08 pm
AltaRed
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I believe someone, a plaintiff, would have to ask one of the firms to pursue action, at which point the law firms could apply to the courts for class action status, particularly if they already have a list of affected others who are interested in pursuing. There clearly is no money in pursuing an action on the behalf of one client, so the more the merrier, and the more likely the law firms would undertake this on a speculative basis (no cost to clients).

If you look at the website, you will see an extensive list of class action suits they already have active files on. This is clearly a big part of their business. So I think this is a legit action on their part, with no other ulterior motives. But everyone will have to do their own due diligence. Whether anyone who has received a letter from PT should show some interest in contacting these firms is an individual decision.

Even if the litigation is successful, the law firms will likely get most of the loot, covering their costs plus a very hefty percentage of the remainder. I have been a party to a few of these in the USA where affected parties got very little out of such class actions.

Added Thursday: I think those who might consider joining this class action need to think about whether this is worth the small monetary amounts that might come the depositor's way. If successful, this will affect PT's bottom line, potentially resulting in lower deposit rates for all of us. Most of the money will likely go to the legal firms. Do we want to enrich them? I suspect PT has suffered reputational damage to some extent already and have already learned a lesson. But as I mentioned above, each individual needs to make their own decision.

November 20, 2013
5:44 pm
Rick
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Jurassic Park: "the only one I've got on my side is the blood-sucking lawyer! "

I have a hard time suing victims of cyber crime. Was PT glaringly negligent? Did they take ordinary precautions to prevent being hacked? What is due diligence in an industry that is a constant game of leap-frog between criminals and victims? Obviously this is more than a case of someone peeking over your shoulder while you enter your pin at an ATM. Am I inconvenienced as a result of the hacking? And if so, will any amount of money placate me? As of yet I have not been contacted or caused any trouble by the hackers, And from what I can see so far, the extent of their activity is to contact customers and try to sucker them into revealing their passwords and account numbers. If you fall for that you deserve to be duped. Maybe if one day my identity is stolen and my credit rating is ruined, I may feel differently. Until then, hopefully, a measure of due diligence is all that is required. Which is nothing more than what was required before PT was hacked.

November 20, 2013
7:34 pm
AltaRed
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No disagreement from me on that, but PT should have had that 'application' database encrypted at a minimum, and there was no need to retain all that 'application data' in an fairly open portal anyway (open to new online application entries). Once an application is approved, all that information should have been secured away in a separate archive for various CRA and regulatory purposes, and then only that information required to support the 'accounts' database kept live in that 'accounts' database. I beleive it was primarily convenience and/or lack of rigor for that 'application' database to be in the state it was. I suspect that has now changed significantly.

November 22, 2013
9:19 am
JustMe
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I personally have good experience with PT. I was with them before they implemented Internet banking and all requests for deposits/withdrawals were communicated either by e-mail or by phone.
Never had any issues either with my accounts nor with staff answering phones/e-mails.
I did receive a letter and am wandering - Do I really want to be part of that lawsuit? What will I gain? I am sure we are not talking about 10s of thousands in 'damages' per each individual who joins lawsuit. Should I ruin my relationship with PT for few bucks if they win? But if the do not, my name will be most likely communicated to PT. And what will PT say later? Look at this greedy @#@; he continues to be our customer but he wanted some extra money to get from us on top of nice rates we pay him all this time.

I have no experience at all with class action suits...

November 26, 2013
4:25 pm
WyNotMe
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November 26, 2013
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I was moving when the news of the PT breach was circulated and did not receive the notice. In fact, I learned of it here - thank you. It was a move across country, so a few days in transit, but after the move my credit cards were frozen and a fraud investigation was underway on my Visa after suspicious charges were levied from an unfamiliar hotel. Now I have a red flag on my credit report that may or may not be easily removed.

I don't know if the two incidents are related, but they may be. With enough personal information anyone can gather enough credit card info to put it to use somewhere. I still will not pursue any class action suit in this case. In my experience with three class actions, they waste time and money and create a false sense that victims will be fairly compensated and justice, of a sort, served. The reality is they usually cost the victims more and only reward the class action law firm handsomely.

In my opinion it would be more useful to pursue the ombudsman for financial service to be more diligent in ensuring that security standards are high enough and properly employed. I also believe that supporting a strong and well funded consumer protection agency with a good understanding of financial services is a worthy pursuit.

December 12, 2013
12:23 pm
mr P. Pincer
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'honestlawyer'

No friggin way I'd sign up for your lame attack on PT for their honesty in immediately alerting their customers of the security breach, which I think is more than one could expect of most institutions.

I hope your class action suit fails horribly.
Why don't you go chase an ambulance and stop trying to cut into the bottom line of the provider of the best-paying HISA in Canada?

/end rant
*apologies if this came across as tad harsh :)

December 12, 2013
2:37 pm
GS1
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Class action lawsuits always astound me. It seems the bulk of the settlement ends up as lawyers fees and the relative pittance left is split between lots and lots of plaintiffs.

As frequent readers know I am currently based in the US and the bulk of the commercials on TV here are for medications or medical procedures to change something about you, likely something that isn't bothering you and that you didn't know could be a problem, (complete with the requisite disclaimers about possible side effects up to and including death), ways to get the IRS to reduce your outstanding tax liability (providing it is greater than $10,000, and with the disclaimer that you should not expect the results they are using for illustration), and finally for some form of class action lawsuit for some assumed infraction of the law.

I will be pleased when I return to Canada, despite the 24 inches of snow I can see in my driveway from my newest toy, an IP accessible and addressable webcam mounted over the garage door.

GS

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