Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. Announces Data Breach | Console and Associates, PC
Texas-based engineering firm Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. recently filed an official data breach notice with various government entities. Although Pape-Dawson has confirmed unauthorized access to its computer system, the company has not yet made public the types of data compromised as a result of the breach. However, on June 21, 2022, Pape-Dawson began sending data breach letters to all affected parties. In these letters, the company provides a detailed list of all personal information disclosed, as well as steps consumers can take to reduce the risk of identity theft or fraud.
If you have received a data breach notification, it is essential that you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself against fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are following the Pape-Dawson Engineers data breach, please see our recent article on the subject. here.
What We Know About the Pape-Dawson Engineers Data Breach
According to an official notice filed by the company, around February 21, 2022, Pape-Dawson first detected what it acknowledged was suspicious activity on its computer servers. In response, the company took the necessary steps to secure its network and then worked with cybersecurity professionals to limit the impact of the event. Once Pape-Dawson closed the unauthorized user’s access, the company then opened an investigation into the incident. This investigation confirmed that the unauthorized party gained access to certain Pape-Dawson systems on February 21, 2022. The unauthorized access period lasted until February 25, 2022. The company later confirmed that the affected files contained sensitive consumer data.
After discovering that consumer data was accessible to an unauthorized party, Pape-Dawson engineers then reviewed the affected files to determine who was affected by the breach and what specific types of data were affected. Although the company completed this review on April 28, 2022, it has yet to publicly release the types of data that were compromised in the breach. However, Pape-Dawson is offering anyone whose information has been compromised one year of free credit monitoring, suggesting the data breached may have included social security numbers or financial account information.
On June 21, 2022, Pape-Dawson Engineers sent data breach letters to everyone whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
More information about Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc.
Founded in 1965, Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. is an engineering company based in San Antonio, Texas. Pape-Dawson provides civil engineering, surveying, GIS, and environmental services for public and private clients across Texas. Some of the projects Pape-Dawson has worked on include theme parks; school campuses; health facilities; transportation improvement projects; hydraulic infrastructure projects; commercial land development projects; and residential projects. Pape-Dawson employs approximately 850 people at seven locations, including Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, New Braunfels, North Houston and San Antonio. Pape-Dawson Engineers generates approximately $133 million in annual revenue.
The Importance of Social Security Numbers
Pape-Dawson has not yet confirmed whether the social security numbers of those affected by the recent data security incident have been breached. However, this is a strong possibility based on the type of breach and whether the company offers free credit monitoring services.
Social Security numbers were first introduced by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in 1936 as a way for the SSA to track citizens’ incomes. However, since almost every US citizen has their own social security number, over time they have become a way for companies to validate a person’s identity, usually through the last four digits.
While the general practice has moved away from using Social Security numbers for identification, the government still uses them for income tracking purposes. Thus, employers, as well as any financial institution that pays or receives interest, will need a person’s social security number. Moreover, the lack of another viable alternative means that other companies also use this information.
In short, social security numbers are “the unofficial national identifier”. So, if someone with bad intentions gets your social security number, they can cause a lot of trouble. From opening bank accounts to taking out loans to filing taxes to receive your tax refund, criminals can take care of your social security number. Thus, it is essential that anyone whose Social Security number has been leaked during a data breach takes the necessary precautions to prevent identity theft and other fraud wherever possible.
The Federal Trade Commission provides basic guidance for data breach victims whose Social Security numbers have been compromised.
If a company offers free credit monitoring, accept the offer;
Frequently check your credit report for any unknown or unauthorized charges;
Consider freezing credit, which makes it much harder for a criminal to open a loan or account in your name;
If you choose not to freeze your credit, consider placing a fraud alert;
Try to file your taxes early to avoid tax identity theft;
Don’t believe anyone calling claiming to be from the IRS, even if they make threats or have your full Social Security number; and
Continue to regularly check your credit report as well as your existing bank and credit card accounts.