The Ninth Circuit recently found that a data breach lawsuit against the online retailer Zappos.com may proceed. The panel found that although the plaintiffs' personal information was not actually misused by identity thieves, the plaintiffs have standing to sue because the loss of their personal information to identity thieves creates a substantial risk of identity theft.
This case highlights the ongoing risks that Las Vegas consumers face when providing their personal information online. Hackers and identity thieves may use this information to open new accounts on your credit reports, use existing banking and credit accounts, apply for loans, or hack into your computer.
While the plaintiffs in this appeal have not yet experienced these negative outcomes, it is a positive step that the Ninth Circuit protected their rights related to the substantial risk of future identity theft so that consumers need not wait for identity theft to strike before filing claims.