The exposure of personal information stored by TJX Companies on its customers may turn out to be the most significant security breach since the ChoicePoint debacle . TJX Companies owns T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other discount retail stores, and it is reportedly now the subject of an investigation by several dozen state attorneys general, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley . It is also the target of multiple class actions by consumers and banks.
In similar class actions in the past, common defenses have been that there was no proof that the leaked information had been used to the detriment of the plaintiffs and that mere fear that thieves might misuse the information was not actionable. It seems that in cases where consumers did encounter unauthorized persons using their financial information, there was difficulty tying that usage to a specific security breach.
But a banking group in Massachusetts reportedly has tied specific instances of identity theft to the breach at TJX Companies, and that could encourage claimants and bolster their cases. Read more about the bankers’ detective work and its impact at CIO.com in its article “ The TJX security breach. This one’s different. Way different .” Read more about ChoicePoint and its effect at ChoicePoint Update: Record-Breaking Fine Imposed , A Close Look at Identity Theft Coverage and How Much Do Those Security Breaches Cost?