(727) 785-5100


If My Customer Payment Info Was Breached, What Are My First Steps Legally?

Written on October 24, 2019

Though you may have read news coverage about some of the largest data breaches in the US and around the world, issues involving compromised security are even more common than you think. According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, an online resource for privacy education and awareness, there have been more than 10 billion records breached in over 9,100 instances recorded since 2005. Security is a major issue for your customers, which means it’s also critical for you as a Florida business owner. 

As such, when you receive the horrible news that payment information has been compromised, you want to do everything you can to comply with the law and retain your customers. After immediate damage control, your first step should be consulting with a Clearwater business law attorney. A lawyer can handle the critical legal issues and assist with such steps as:

Notifying Your Customers:

Under the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014, any company that sustains a breach must notify affected individuals by US mail or email within 30 days thereafter. The legal requirements for the notice are relatively basic, but businesses should go the extra mile when the stolen information relates to customer payment details. Your focus is on more than just compliance with the law; you’re protecting valuable relationships that enable your business to thrive. As such, you should include the following details in your notification:

  • A summary of what your investigation has revealed so far;
  • How to reach key employees in charge of remedying the breach;
  • What information was compromised;
  • How the offenders have used payment details, if you know;
  • The actions you’ve taken to shore up the security breach; and,
  • What you’re offering – at no cost – to protect your customers, such as identity theft protection or credit monitoring services.

Communications with Law Enforcement and Regulatory Agencies:

When a breach hits certain minimum thresholds, you’ll also have legal obligations to notify relevant government bodies. For example:

  • If the breach affects more than 500 individuals, you must report it to the Florida Department of Legal Affairs;
  • You’re required to alert credit bureaus for an issue that impacts over 1,000 people; and,
  • You should notify local law enforcement for any size breach, as officers may be able to assist in apprehending offenders.

Document Everything:

Though it’s not a requirement, keeping meticulous documentation can help you with the legal side of a data breach. Your notes can protect your interests if there are questions about how you handled the matter, and they’re also useful in establishing security policies going forward.

Reach Out to a Clearwater Business Lawyer About Your Legal Duties

At Clearwater Business Law, our team is dedicated to providing the essential legal support you need when a data breach or other misfortune hits your company. We have extensive experience representing companies in Pinellas County, FL and the surrounding region, so we’re prepared to handle the wide range of business-related issues faced by our clients. To learn more about how we can help, please call (727) 785-5100 today to schedule a consultation.


I strongly endorse Andrew Mongelluzzi. He is a very skilled and able business attorney focused on customer service and results. On the front end, Andrew deftly advises new businesses on organizing properly, acquiring necessary licenses, contracting with vendors & customers, and dealing with various compliance issues that may arise. On the back end when things go south, Andrew counsels and navigates businesses through complex commercial disputes and aggressively represents them in negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and in litigation so that businesses can legally move on and get back to business. Andrew’s ability to identify legal issues and approaches to resolve business-related issues is a strength that I have learned from and professionally relied upon in approaching the business matters and cases that I handle. I regularly refer business to Andrew knowing that he will diligently represent his business clients and their best interests.
Relationship: worked together on matter

- Frank N. Genco, Florida Bar No. 440086

Attorney Mongelluzzi and his team provided excellent and quality service. I always felt that my needs were met and that the firm was invested in me and my case. The quality services I received at Mongelluzzi’s firm were remarkable. From the initial meeting they were responsive to my calls, questions and concerns. All issues were handled professionally and timely, easily accessible, got back to me quickly, aggressive and got me the results that I wanted. Attorney Mongelluzzi and his staff all gave my case their personal attention and provided the quality of work that anyone would want when hiring an attorney.

- Client

Andrew is very thorough defining the outcome expectations. In my case, it was setting up a new corporate entity. He advised me on the most beneficial option and he then executed on that path. Andrew is a very pleasant person to work with. He is determined, skilled and committed to his client’s success.

- Gil Pinney

Andrew helped me through a difficult situation with American Express and we won the case. A great job by Andrew! He also helped me with T&C’s in my company. I would recommend Andrew highly as an attorney.

- John Sams

As a business owner for 12 years I have seen my fair share of ups and downs. Some of the downs would include landlord/tenant disputes and creditors that may have not been fulfilled to agreement. Andrew has met both of these situations for me in a timely, positive, and affordable manner.

- Rich Mattes

It was very nice to have a lawyer who not only is fierce in negotiations but has been successful in business. This is a lethal combination. I was glad he was on my side.

- Nigel Castanheiro

Andrew helped me with a contract litigation case. The lawyers battled it out for over a year and we finally got a reasonable settlement offer. Then the other side tried to back out. Andrew figured out how to force the other side to honor the deal and really knows his way around the court system. Definitely feel comfortable using him again.

- John Ellis


  • *Contacting Clearwater Business Law or any individual at the firm through this form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any time-sensitive or confidential information pertaining to your case should NOT be sent through this form. Thank you.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.