British Columbia

Canadian law firm launches class action lawsuit after Capital One data breach

A Canadian law firm is inviting Canadians affected by the recent Capital One data breach to register for a class action lawsuit.

Around 6 million Canadians and 100 million Americans affected after hacker breaches data

People walk past a Capital One banking center in New York's financial district January 17, 2013. Capital One Financial Corp's fourth-quarter profit missed analysts' expectations as the company set aside more money to cover defaults on its credit cards, sending its shares down 7 percent after the bell. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS) - GM1E91I0LX001 (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

A Canadian law firm is inviting Canadians affected by the recent Capital One data breach to register for a class action lawsuit.

Around six million Canadians and 100 million Americans were affected by the data breach revealed last month. A hacker obtained unauthorized access to the personal information of Capital One customers and those who applied for its credit cards between 2005 and 2019. 

The breach includes names, addresses, postal codes, phone numbers, email addresses, birth dates and income information. One million social insurance numbers were also compromised. 

Ted Charney, a lawyer at Charney Lawyers and lead counsel on the class action, said the breach may end up being very serious. 

"The type of account information that Capital One collected is quite sensitive and it may be much more extensive than originally thought," Charney said.

"We thought it was prudent to get the claim out there so that ... we can start to collect information about what's happening out there to people and be ready to move forward with this if it turns out that it's as significant as some people and some government institutions think it will be."

The firm has started the class action in Vancouver. Canadians who have experienced financial losses or incurred costs because of the breach, and who register for the suit, may be compensated almost fully for their losses, Charney said. 

Capital One customers who have not experienced a financial loss or cannot connect a loss to the privacy breach could also receive compensation at "some relatively low level" for time spent responding to the breach, Charney said. 

However, settling cases like these can take some time — between one and four years, he added.

Capital One says it will contact customers affected by the data breach by letter or email next week.

Charney said people should keep an eye out for those letters and emails and consider registering for the class action by emailing the firm. 

"We will be in a position then to really understand what's going on here and help people going forward with this case," he said.

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