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How to stay safe from cybercrime

With cybercrime rarely out of the news, it’s only natural that people are worried. Here’s are some top tips to help keep you safe from cybercrime and hackers.

Protect your finances from cybercriminals

  • Contact your bank or credit card provider if you are at all worried that your financial information could be at risk. For example, if you discover that you are the victim of a cybercrime or data breach
  • Keep an eye out for any bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
  • Check your bank statements regularly for any unfamiliar transactions and alert your bank or card provider immediately if there is any suspicious activity
  • Be careful who you trust – criminals may try and trick you by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Cybercriminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and to reveal your security details
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. A trustworthy organisation would never force you to make a financial transaction on the spot
  • Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected changes
  • Understand that a genuine bank or other financial organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN or full password
  • Know that a legitimate bank or other business would never ask you to move money to another account for fraud reasons
  • Register with the Cifas protective registration service. This will slow down credit applications made in your name with additional verification checks made to ascertain that the applicant is actually you

Protect your personal data from cybercriminals

  • Do not click on any suspicious links. This could result in you giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details
  • Beware of any unsolicited communications that refer you to a web page asking for personal data
  • Always question uninvited emails, calls, etc. in case it’s a scam. If you are at all unsure, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number
  • Don’t assume an email, phone call, text or social media message is authentic. Just because someone knows your details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media
  • Regularly review your privacy settings on any social media platforms, website and apps you use
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Use a different password for every account. If you are worried about remembering them all you could sign up to a password manager
  • Make sure your devices are protected by up-to-date internet security software
  • Know that cybercriminals can make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if you recognise a name or number, or if it seems authentic, it might not be genuine
  • Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong, then it is right to question it and refuse requests for personal or financial information. Stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it

What if you think you are already the victim of a hacker or fraudster?

  • Report any suspected fraud to Action Fraud
  • If you have had money stolen, contact the police
  • Contact the ICO to let them know about your concerns if you are worried that a data breach has put your data at risk of cybercrime. The ICO might investigate the data breach and, while it does not award data breach compensation, if it believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  • Make sure that if you are offered any form of compensation or free services from the organisation that put your data at risk, you check the small print. Be careful that in accepting an offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  • If you want to make a cybercrime compensation claim – for loss of money or emotional distress – you should contact Hayes Connor Solicitors.

Making a cybercrime compensation claim

Our expert, online fraud and data protection solicitors will advise you on whether you have a valid cybercrime compensation claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have.

Our initial assessment is always free. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about your legal rights when making a claim.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe from cybercrime, follow Hayes Connor Solicitors – the data protection experts – on Twitter and Facebook.

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Cybercrime warning to British Gas customers

British Gas is warning customers to look out for scam emails. The cybercrime warning relates to fake emails promising hundreds of pounds in refunds.

A link in the emails takes you to a website that looks exactly like the British Gas site. The site asks people to input their details to have their money “refunded”. However, the website is a clone and any customer who enter their details is giving scammers access to their account. British Gas has warned its customers that falling for the scam could leave them hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

A British Gas spokesperson has said that anyone concerned about a suspicious email can forward it to phishing@centrica.com so that the company can look into it further.

What can you do to protect yourself from cybercrime and scams?

Here are some quick tips to keep you safe from this type of scam:

  • Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows some personal information about you (i.e. your mother’s maiden name), that doesn’t mean they are genuine
  • When responding to emails, never give your login or personal details
  • Know that legitimate organisations would never contact you and ask you to confirm your login information
  • Don’t be rushed into handing over personal or financial information. If something doesn’t feel right listen to your instincts
  • Always question who you’re talking to. If in any doubt call them back using trusted contact details to check the request is genuine
  • If you detect a phishing email, mark the message as spam and delete it. This ensures that the message cannot reach your inbox in future
  • Emails that start ‘Dear Customer’ are unlikely to be genuine. But, even if your personal details are included, this doesn’t mean that the communication is real
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. Even unsubscribe links can be malicious
  • Know that even if an email address appears genuine, this is not a guarantee that it came from the person or organisation that it claims to
  • Any warnings such as ‘failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’ should start alarm bells ringing
  • Be aware who you’re sharing your personal information with. Only give out details to a service you trust and that you’ve contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. Even then, do not hand over sensitive information such as PINs or passwords
  • Make sure you look at the address bar when logging into a website. If there is a padlock icon your connection is secure. Where a site doesn’t have this lock icon, do not share any sensitive information
  • If you’re worried that you may be at risk, report it to the Police or Action Fraud straight away.

Get digitally aware

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we want to reduce the number of data violations and successful cyber scams taking place across the UK. To do this, we are raising awareness of this issue and educating people to help stop fraudsters in their tracks.

For more advice on how to keep safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of an online scam, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses.

 

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Data breach leads to neighbour harassment

The headlines lead us to believe that data breaches occur as a result of cyber-attacks. The reality is that the vast majority of cases take place as a result of human error. In these instances, the breach itself can lead to a damaging chain of events which could have been prevented.

Our solicitors see every day how clients are affected. Financial loss may not be a factor in all cases, but the damage and suffering following a breach can quickly escalate.

What happened in this case?

Our client lives in a privately managed block of flats and she made a complaint about another leaseholder to the management company.

The management company proceeded to forward her detailed email to all residents in the block, including the leaseholder being complained about.

This data breach, which appeared to have taken place due to an error of judgement rather than by mistake, started a frightening chain of events exposing our client to serious harassment and compromised the safety of her family.

Following the breach, our client, who has two young children, was subjected to having the gas pipe to her property deliberately cut with access to the mains deliberately obstructed.

She suspected that the volatile neighbour she had complained about was behind the vandalism, but he denied any wrongdoing.

Having lived at the property for some years, with generally good relations with the other neighbours, the data breach also led to these relationships becoming strained.

Alongside taking legal action against the management company, our client also reported the data breach to the ICO resulting in the business now being monitored to prevent further incidents.

We secured £3,000 compensation from the management company responsible for breaking data protection laws not least, due to the psychological suffering endured by our client and her young children.

The situation has become so intolerable that our client plans to sell her property and move her family in the near future.

Have you been in a similar situation? Contact us today.

Lessons learned

If you are an employee handling a customer complaint of any kind, consider how the complaint should be handled before sharing any information.

Consideration should be given to a possible solution to the complaint and thought put into the appropriate sharing of the complaint with individuals who may be part of the solution.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow Hayes Connor on Twitter or give us a like on Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, find out how we can help you to recover any losses or give us a call on 0151 363 5895 to discuss your case in more depth.

 

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Don’t fall for this Thomas Cook scam!

Cybercriminals are getting increasingly clever. And, at Hayes Connor, we regularly hear about the latest dangerous scams. Today we have been alerted to a new scam. One that is targeting people already in distress. So what do you need to know about the Thomas Cook scam?

Thomas Cook refund scam

We found out about this scam when one of our team saw the following post on Facebook:

“Just had a phone call from ‘Thomas Cook refund agent’ going to give me a refund on the holiday I have purchased (no I haven’t) just need my card details and 3-digit number on back to refund me …… this is disgusting…people have lost their jobs and livelihoods and people are already scamming.”

 We couldn’t agree more. This is disgusting. But unfortunately, cybercriminals have no such scruples. In fact, taking advantage of people who are already worried about losing money is a standard trick. That’s because, in a panic to make sure they don’t become a victim, people often give criminals access to the very data they need.

Luckily this person spotted the crime. But not everyone is so aware.

What can you do to protect yourself from online scams?

  • Never disclose security details such as your PIN or passwords to anyone (including your bank)
  • Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows some personal information about you (i.e. your address, mother’s maiden name etc.), that doesn’t mean they are genuine. Also, criminals can spoof numbers so that calls and messages look like they are from someone you trust
  • Know that banks or other trusted organisations will never contact you and ask you for your PIN, password or security code. They also won’t ask you to transfer money to a secure account
  • Be aware who you’re sharing your personal information with. Only give out details to a service you trust and that you’ve contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. Even then, do not hand over sensitive information
  • Always call an organisation back using trusted contact details to check everything is genuine
  • Don’t be rushed into handing over personal or financial information
  • If something doesn’t feel right listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable. A legitimate organisation would never try to panic you out of taking security checks
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text
  • If you’re worried that you may be at risk, report it to your bank, the Police or Action Fraud straight away.

 What is the official advice?

When it comes to the Thomas Cook collapse, passengers with ATOL protection who are yet to travel are entitled to a full refund on any future bookings. Customers without ATOL protection should speak to their credit card provider or the company they booked their holiday with. They can also speak to their travel insurance provider to see if they are able to claim back any of their costs.

The government warns that people should be “vigilant and on the lookout for scams, particularly if you receive unsolicited contact from companies suggesting you rebook a Thomas Cook holiday through them.”

According to Gov.UK, it might be a scam if:

  • It seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that’s significantly cheaper than you’d expect it to be
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
  • You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example if there’s no postal address
  • You’ve been asked to transfer money quickly
  • You’ve been directed away from trusted sites for payment
  • You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
  • You’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
  • You haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed.

Get digitally aware

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we want to reduce the number of data violations and successful cyber scams taking place across the UK. To do this, we are raising awareness of this issue and educating people to help stop fraudsters in their tracks.

For more advice on how to keep safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of an online scam, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses.

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Making a Yahoo data breach claim in the UK

Yahoo suffered a series of hacks by organised crime groups between 2012 and 2016. These attacks were possible due to systemic failures in its cybersecurity systems. One of the worst Yahoo data breaches happened in 2014. In this hack, a Russian state-sponsored cyber-attack saw personal data stolen from over 500 million customers worldwide.

Cybercriminals got access to Yahoo users’:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Passwords
  • Encrypted security questions and answers.

This information has the potential to cause serious damage to victims of the breach. This includes financial fraud, identity theft and emotional distress.

Has Yahoo paid compensation for these data breaches?

Since 2016, Yahoo has been under intense scrutiny and pressure to do things better.

In June 2018, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Yahoo £250,000 after investigating failures at the company. This investigation found that Yahoo had not taken appropriate measures to protect customer data. The ICO also discovered that these inadequacies in data security had been in place for a long time.

What’s more, in September 2019, Yahoo confirmed that it was nearing a $117.5 million settlement. Ths payout is designed to end a massive class-action lawsuit for the series of data breaches. However, the money will only be given people who live in the US and Israel.

In the UK, the ICO has fined Yahoo for its data privacy failings. But none of that money will go to victims of the Yahoo data breaches. So, if you are a UK customer of Yahoo, what can you do?

Join our Yahoo data breach group action

Hayes Connor Solicitors is launching a group action to help UK victims of the Yahoo data breach to claim the compensation they deserve.

Find out more about group actions.

If you are concerned that your data was treated negligently by Yahoo, contact Hayes Connor Solicitors immediately. Because of the settlement reached in the US, and the result of the ICO’s investigation in the UK,  you could have a very strong case.

What do you need to know about joining our Yahoo data breach group action?

  • If you had a Yahoo account between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016, you could be entitled to data breach compensation
  • You do not need to have suffered any financial loss to claim. If you have experienced damage or emotional upset caused by Yahoo’s breach of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation
  • Our Yahoo data breach group action is no win, no fee
  • There are no costs to join our group action and there is no obligation to proceed.

The data breaches at Yahoo happened because of a failure to implement reasonable and robust processes. Yahoo has failed to uphold your privacy rights. Furthermore, claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests. It is often the only way organisations are persuaded to take their responsibilities seriously and make the necessary improvements.

To find out more about joining our group action, and for more information about this case, fill in our quick form. Once done, we will contact you to talk you through the next steps.

REGISTER NOW

 

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How Hayes Connor helps our clients after a solicitor data breach

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we help our clients get the compensation they deserve. We do this following data protection breaches, cybercrime, and other online offences. We are also committed to upholding the standards of our industry. That’s why it’s particularly upsetting when we are contacted by someone who has been let down by their solicitor.

Here is just one example of a solicitor data breath case we helped a client with recently.

Solicitor lost sensitive information

In this data breach, a former member of the Armed Forces appointed a solicitor to represent her at a Tribunal she was involved in. However, this solicitor lost her sensitive information, including her medical and service records on a train.

Following this shocking data breach, the woman suffered severe psychological effects including stress, anxiety and trauma. As a result, she has been prescribed medication. And her ongoing conditions have been exacerbated.

Turning to Hayes Connor for help, she revealed that her mental health had deteriorated to such an extent that it affected her ability to leave the house. Furthermore, it led to in her being demoted in work, resulting in a substantial pay cut.

Help is needed after a solicitor data breach

Solicitors must understand the importance of data protection. And make sure that strict policies and procedures are in place to ensure the safe processing of information. Both in and out of the office. However, all too often this isn’t happening. And, as you can see, the result of not looking after personal information properly could put people’s mental health, and potentially even their lives at risk.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are 100% committed to seeking the compensation necessary to help people get their lives back on track following a data breach. But we don’t believe that our obligation to our clients stops there. We also provide a wide range of information to help our clients protect themselves once a breach has occurred.

Making a solicitor data breach claim

Our professional, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim against solicitor. If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis.

Our process is fully compliant with ICO guidance, and we never put your details at risk. We will NEVER pass your details onto anyone without your permission.

Contact us today for a free initial assessment.


Data protection solicitors

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are committed to upholding the data protection rights of our clients. For more advice on your rights, and how to keep your data safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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99% of cybercrime insurance claims are successful

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) – an organisation that represents the insurance industry – has asked that anonymised cyber breach data be made publicly available. The ABI feels that this is necessary for insurers to accurately gauge the level of risk when it comes to cybercrime, and set the price of cyber insurance.

Why is cyber insurance important?

Data breaches and cybercrime can be devastating for victims. At Hayes Connor, every day, we hear about how privacy violations are causing misery and upset to people across the UK; often because of simple human errors.

But it’s not just victims of data breaches that suffer long-term effects of cybercrime and privacy violations. Organisations of all types and sizes can also find it difficult to recover.

Some of the possible consequences faced by companies that fail to keep their data safe include:

  • Loss of time and money due to having to repair affected systems and disruption to trading
  • Loss of reputational damage and sales (lack of trust from current and potential customers)
  • Loss due to the legal consequences of a data breach (e.g. fines, legal fees and compensation payments)
  • Loss of competitive advantage due to the theft of trade secrets or copyrighted material
  • Having to pay fraudsters (cyber extortion)
  • Rises in insurance premiums.

What has changed?

Until recently, the impact of a data breach on a business, while damaging, probably wasn’t too bad. But, since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), fines have skyrocketed.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it plans to fine the Marriott hotel nearly £100m. And British Airways is being fined £183 million for its high-profile data breach.

Also, according to the ABI, fewer and fewer companies are getting away with privacy violations, with claims payout rates reaching 99%. This is one of the highest claims acceptance rates across all insurance products.

In 2018, nearly half of all UK businesses fell victim to cyberattacks or security breaches[1]. And, almost 30 million cyber-related crimes took place in the last quarter of last year[2]. So, it is clear why insurance companies are now asking for this data.

Standard insurance policies do not cover cyber risk

Despite the rise in cybercrime, many UK organisations are still failing to insure themselves against the threat of a data breach. In fact, according to the ABI, only 11% of UK companies are said to have specific cyber insurance.

But standard insurance policies do not cover cyber risk. So, every business must now consider cyber insurance to take preventative measures in the face of hackers. Because if a data breach claim is made against a company, and it is found liable for data privacy errors, the consequences of not being covered could be catastrophic.

What happens now?

A spokesperson for the ABI said: “Data is key to insurers’ ability to better understand and more accurately price cyber risk. We need the ICO to work with us to find what data can be shared to help insurers provide more cover to the many businesses that need it in this digital age”.

The ICO has yet to agree to the request from the ABI, but a solution must be found to help protect everyone involved. Because cybercrime and data breaches are not going away.

Cyber insurance helps victims of cybercrime

At Hayes Connor, we’ve seen cases where experiencing a data breach has resulted in adverse life events. For example, losing money, having to move to a new house or area, losing a job, relationship stress and separation, and dislocation from friends and family. All of which can be emotionally and financially stressful.

In most cases, victims try to engage with the organisations responsible, but are rebuffed or provided with wholly inadequate excuses. In almost all cases, the organisation at fault fails to recognise the damage caused by the breach and loss.

Often this failure to provide adequate redress to the victims of data breaches comes from fear. Fear that giving proper compensation could put an organisation out of business. But, with the right insurance in place – alongside improved data security processes – both companies and individuals would be better protected.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow Hayes Connor Solicitors on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, find out how we can help you to recover any losses. Or give us a call to discuss your case in more depth.


[1] 2018 Cyber Security Breaches Survey

[2] Kaspersky

Business Up North, 20th September 2019

We were delighted to be recognised at the Symphony Legal Awards dinner for its Innovative Marketing award. We are committed to delivering excellent customer service, exceeding client expectations, and this runs through everything we do as a firm, including how we market ourselves.

Hayes Connor highly commended in Innovative Marketing award

Data breach and cybersecurity specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors was highly commended for its innovative marketing at The Symphony Legal Annual Conference held in Hinckley in September.

The firm was recognised for its client focused approach to marketing with its use of technology to simplify the enquiries process and increase speed of response, alongside its content and PR strategy to raise awareness of consumers’ data protection rights, highly commended. Read more

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How Hayes Connor Solicitors helps our clients after a bank data breach

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we help our clients get the compensation they deserve. We do this following data protection breaches, cybercrime, and other online offences. One type of claim we see a lot of is bank data breaches.

Bank fraud is a very serious crime. And victims can suffer both financial loss and distress. But, while we often worry about hackers and cybercriminals getting hold of our banking and credit card details, in many cases, human error can also have devastating consequences.

Here are just some of the bank data breath cases we have helped our clients with recently.

Ex gained access to our client’s financial information due to bank data breach

Our solicitors saw the impact of what can happen when a bank statement was sent to an ex-partner’s address by mistake. In this data breach, our client’s bank sent personal information disclosing his financial situation to his previous address. His ex-partner still lived at that address. This happened despite our client changing his address with his bank five years ago.

Our client’s ex-partner disclosed this information to her friends, family and acquaintances. Understandably, this caused our client significant distress and embarrassment. Furthermore, due to the disclosure of his financial position, our client’s ex-partner also refused him access to their children and prevented him from taking them on holiday. As a result of this data breach, our client suffered severe psychological effects, including stress and anxiety.

Bank sends credit card statements to the wrong person

In this data breach, a bank sent partial credit card statements to the wrong person. The information was sent to a completely different person to the account holder (our client), attached to the back of a bundle of documents she had requested.

Luckily, in this instance the woman who received our client’s statements was honest. And despite being a complete stranger, she contacted him to let him know what had happened. She also reported the incident to her local branch, although she was not satisfied with how the bank proposed to deal with the matter. If such a simple error can be made, what’s to say it couldn’t happen to other customers?

This data breach has caused considerable distress and worry to our client. He has now lost confidence in his bank and can’t be sure if his sensitive and personal data has been further breached.

Help is needed after a bank data breach

The financial sector handles some of our most sensitive data. And, as customers, we have the right to expect this will be looked after. However, all too often this isn’t the case.

These are just some examples of the types of financial data breaches we deal with every day. And, as you can see, serious cases could put people’s mental health, and potentially even their lives at risk.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are 100% committed to seeking the compensation necessary to help people get their lives back on track following a data breach. But we don’t believe that our obligation to our clients stops there – we also provide a wide range of information to help our clients protect themselves once a breach has occurred.

Making a bank data breach claim

Our professional, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim against a financial organisation. If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis.

Contact us today for a free initial assessment.

Our process is fully compliant with ICO guidance, and we never put your details at risk. We will NEVER pass your details onto anyone without your permission.

We can also help you to recover from financial data hacks, financial phishing attacks, bank and credit card takeover fraud and push payment scams.


Data protection solicitors

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are committed to upholding the data protection rights of our clients. For more advice on your rights, and how to keep your data safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, contact us to find out how we can help you to recover any losses.