bank scammers
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Bank scammers: what you’ve told us!

Earlier this year, we shared one of our articles on Facebook. The post was called Has your bank warned you that you are being scammed? Watch out!’ And the responses we’ve received confirms just how much of a problem this type of cybercrime is.

Has your bank warned you that you are being scammed? Watch out!

In our post, we said that there has been a rise in shrewd and dangerous bank scams. A few years ago, it was easy to spot criminals; often because of the clumsy way they tried to get people to hand over their bank details. But this is no longer the case. Today’s scammers are smarter than ever, so people need to be extra vigilant.

We shared one example where people get a call from “their bank”, warning them that they are in the process of being scammed. But, in a panic to make sure they don’t become a victim, these individuals often give criminals access to the very data they need. We also revealed how one of our team helped to stop a financial scam when it became clear that cybercriminals were targeting her friend on Facebook. Find out more about the Google Pay Scam.

What did you tell us?

While we hope that our post will help people to challenge and stop bank scams, some of the things you told us are just as enlightening.

Banks still don’t understand the need for security checks

Some people told us how, even today, some banks still don’t understand the need for basic security checks:

“I remember years ago getting a (probably genuine) phone call from my bank. They were totally flummoxed when I asked them to prove who they were before I answered any security questions to prove who I was!

Another said:

“Went into the branch and they verified it was a genuine marketing call and couldn’t understand my refusal to talk to an unidentifiable cold caller.”

And, someone else commented:

“One young man wanted our security when he had rang us. When asked for proof he got quite indignant. We always say write to us if it’s that important.”

However, you should never be rushed into handing over personal or financial information. If something doesn’t feel right, do what these customers did and listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable. A legitimate organisation should never try to talk you out of taking security checks.

Be careful – even if asked to call your bank back

Other people warned that, if you are called on your landline, cybercriminals can still be on the phone even after you hang up. So, as a precaution, you should use a different phone, or phone someone you know to clear the line before calling your bank.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are aware of one sophisticated scheme in which scammers told people that their bank accounts had been hacked. But cleverly, they also encouraged the victims to phone their banks back using trusted contact details. But these scammers didn’t hang up. Instead, they stayed on the line and played a dial tone. When the intended victims called their banks, the scammers impersonated a bank employee and asked them to confirm their PIN and bank details.

The good news is that, over the last few years, the phone companies have put measures in place to ensure that the line clears regardless of who hangs up first. But to stay safe, you should NEVER disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password to anyone, including anyone calling from your bank. Banks will never ask for this information. Likewise, they won’t ask you to transfer money to another account for safekeeping. If you think you’ve already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately.

Just because a number looks genuine, doesn’t mean it is

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. Likewise, even if a call or text comes through from a number that looks authentic, it might not be. As one person pointed out:

“Also by spoofing a mobile number they can add messages to a pre existing thread on your phone, so it appears the bank has just replied to your message, or their messages appear under your banks name along with the genuine ones!”

This is correct. Most phones let you see the number of the person calling before you answer. However, fraudsters often change the caller ID to mirror that of your bank. This is called spoofing. What this means is that calls and texts could show up as being from your bank, even if they are not. Text messages from criminals can even appear alongside legitimate texts sent out by your bank.

Is mobile banking the problem?

According to some people who read our post, mobile banking has made it easier for criminals.

“All this scamming never happened before mobile online banking. Stick to banking in branch. Banks have only themselves to blame when they have to pay compensation.”

 It’s true that our digital world comes with additional risk. But there is no going back, and the convenience of online banking cannot be underestimated. However, it is up to the banks to protect their online customers. Although, in our experience, such protection is sometimes woefully lacking. So, with criminals becoming increasingly savvy, we all must do what we can to protect ourselves from banking scams. And claim compensation where the banks have failed, as this is often the only way to force them to improve their security processes.

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.

iphone breach

iPhone users to receive damages from Google after changes to data privacy law

A recent case against Google for alleged illegal data harvesting could see iPhone users get compensation for this privacy violation.

The announcement follows a mass legal action against the tech giant. This ‘representative action’ was launched after claims that Google used cookies on Apple’s Safari web browser to collect data about its users between 2011 and 2012. The data included info about racial and ethnic origin, physical and mental health, political affiliations and opinions, sexuality and sexual interests, and social class.

It is alleged that Google then used this information to sell a targeted advertising service.

But, following a ruling at the Court of Appeal, more than 4 million iPhone users are now set to receive £750 each in compensation for this privacy infringement.

What is a representative action?

A representative action is a type of group action. Representative actions are launched when a group of people are affected by the same issue and have experienced the same level of harm (e.g. having their email address stolen and data privacy violated). In representative actions, one solicitor will represent all clients. In addition, one member of the action will typically sue on behalf of themselves and the rest of the group.

Why this case is really important

Crucially, this case has huge implications for individuals and their data privacy rights.

This is because, until now, people were only entitled to compensation if a data breach caused them financial loss, physical harm, or emotional distress.

But now, people can claim regardless of whether the breach had any unfortunate results. People can also seek compensation even if the only personal information breached was their email address. So, if a company does not protect your data in the way it is legally obliged to do, you can make a claim for this data privacy failure.

Are you eligible for iPhone compensation?

To be eligible for the £750 compensation you must:

  1. Have been in England and Wales at any time between June 1, 2011 and February 15, 2012
  2. Had an Apple ID
  3. Owned or have lawful possession of an iPhone
  4. Used the Safari browser to access the internet
  5. Kept the default browser settings
  6. Have not opted-out of tracking and collation via Google’s ‘Ads preference manager’
  7. Have been resident in England and Wales on May 31, 2017.

People who meet these criteria, but who do not want to be included in the case can opt-out.

How to get your £750

You can find out more about this case, and register to join the action at www.youoweus.co.uk

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Agreement reached between Facebook and the ICO

According to a statement on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website, an agreement has finally been reached between Facebook and the data protection regulator. This comes after Facebook was accused of failing to protect the personal data of its users. As part of this agreement, Facebook has agreed to pay a £500,000 fine but has made no admission of liability.

What happened in this case?

In 2018, a whistle-blower revealed how Facebook data was harvested to target American voters on behalf of Donald Trump’s election team. Speaking to journalists, Christopher Wylie, an ex-employee of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, said that millions of Facebook profiles were harvested and used by his then employer to influence the US presidential election. There were also concerns over whether illegally acquired data was used to target voters and influence the EU referendum result.

Furthermore, while Facebook found out about the breach in 2015, the social media giant failed to alert its users, and did not take adequate steps to recover and secure the private information. In response, the ICO launched an investigation into the activities of Facebook and the retention, sharing and distribution of data illegally in the UK. As part of that investigation, on 24 October 2018, the ICO issued a penalty of £500,000 against Facebook.

Incidentally, in May 2017 the ICO announced a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes. It admits that, at this time, “we had little idea of what was to come”. Today, this investigation is one of the largest of its kind and is ongoing.

How did Facebook respond?

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted user privacy mistakes and said he realised he needed to be more public and accountable. In an interview with CNN, he said that he would not be against regulation of his social media company. He has also pledged to review “thousands of apps” in an “intensive process”. However, rather than paying the ICO fine, Facebook filed an appeal.

After much negotiation between the two parties, an agreement has now been reached.

What is the result of this case?

Facebook has now agreed to pay the £500,000 fine to settle the investigation into data harvesting by Cambridge Analytica (now defunct). But despite this, the company does not admit wrongdoing. It argues that it didn’t violate people’s privacy by allowing the data transfers and that its prior terms of service and privacy policies allowed for the transfer of user data to outside developers, unless people adjusted their privacy settings. The ICO has rejected that position.

However, the settlement does allow Facebook to resume its own investigation into issues around Cambridge Analytica. And, as a result, the ICO believes that this agreement best serves the interests of all Facebook users in the UK.

Commenting on the agreement, James Dipple-Johnstone, the ICO Deputy Commissioner said:

“The ICO welcomes the agreement reached with Facebook for the withdrawal of their appeal against our Monetary Penalty Notice and agreement to pay the fine. The ICO’s main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm. Protection of personal information and personal privacy is of fundamental importance, not only for the rights of individuals, but also as we now know, for the preservation of a strong democracy. We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection. With this strong commitment to protecting people’s personal information and privacy, we expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case.”

Harry Kinmonth, Director and Associate General Counsel, Facebook commented:

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO. As we have said before, we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015. We made major changes to our platform back then, significantly restricting the information which app developers could access. Protecting people’s information and privacy is a top priority for Facebook, and we are continuing to build new controls to help people protect and manage their information. The ICO has stated that it has not discovered evidence that the data of Facebook users in the EU was transferred to Cambridge Analytica by Dr Kogan. However, we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the ICO’s wider and ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes.”

Social Media and politics

Despite the agreement, it seems that the controversy over how social media is used politically is far from over. Not least because, on the very same day the settlement was reached, Twitter announced that it would stop accepting political ads. This move puts Twitter at odds with Facebook executives who have robustly defended their policy of not fact-checking political ads. But, despite Zuckerberg’s uncompromising stance on this matter, the fact that Twitter has decided not to permit political advertising will put additional pressure on Facebook.

For more data privacy protection news and updates, follow Hayes Connor Solicitors on Twitter and Facebook.

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What to do if an organisation fails to respond to your subject access request

You have the right to find out if an organisation is using or storing your personal data. To exercise this right, all you have to do is ask for a copy of this data. This is called making a subject access request (SAR).

Find out how to make a Subject Access Request on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website.

As well as using a SAR to ask for a copy of all the personal data an organisation holds about you, you can also use it to find out:

  • Whether an organisation is processing your personal data
  • How the organisation got hold of your data
  • The types of personal data being processed
  • Why your data is being processed
  • Any third parties that your data is being shared with
  • How long your data will be kept for
  • How you can have your data amended or deleted
  • Whether they use any automated decision-making processes
  • Any other supplementary information.

Find out more about Subject Access Requests.

However, while this right is enshrined under data protection legislation, it seems that many businesses are either ignoring SARs, or trying to fob people off with lengthy delays. So what can you do if an organisation is failing to respond to your SAR?

Well, first and foremost it’s vital to know your rights.

What to do if you are being charged to make a subject access request

A copy of your personal data should be provided at no cost to you. Although “reasonable” fees can be charged for manifestly unfounded or excessive requests.

If you are being told you need to pay for your data it is not unreasonable for you to ask why the charge is being made. You should also reference that you have the right to make a SAR for free under the Data Protection Act 2018.

If you believe any fees to be unfair you can complain to the organisation in question, and if the matter is not resolved, report your concerns to the ICO.

How long do you have to wait for your data?

Organisations should respond to any SAR within one calendar month. So, when making a request you should reference this deadline.

However, they might need extra time to consider your request and, if so, can take an additional two months to do this. The organisation must let you know within one month if it needs more time and why.

Of course, it could take longer for an organisation to supply everything they have about you. So if you only need certain data and you want to speed things up, it makes sense to be specific.

The ICO has provided a handy template to help you to do this.

If the requested information is not provided in the established timeframe you can complain to the organisation, and if this doesn’t help, raise a complaint with the ICO.

What to do if you can’t find the correct contact information

Organisations should provide contact information for making a SAR. Under the GDPR, this information should be available on an organisation’s website (check the privacy policy usually found in the footer).

If you can’t find this information, let the company know. If they don’t make it available you can complain to the ICO.

What to do if you are sent the wrong information

Firstly you should write to the organisation explaining what information you think is missing. You should be as specific as possible.

If you are still not happy with the organisation’s response, and it is not providing all the information you asked for, you can complain to the ICO.

What to do if an organisation refuses a subject access request

While you can make more than one SAR, the organisation can refuse a request if they believe it to be ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’. Depending on the circumstances, they may also deny a SAR if your data includes information about another individual.

However, they can’t just ignore you. They must still write to you and explain why your SAR is being refused.

If you think your request has been rejected unjustly, you can raise a complaint with the organisation in question, and if you remain dissatisfied, the ICO.

What to do if an organisation ignores your subject access request

If more than a month has passed since you made your SAR, and you have not heard anything back, you should write to the organisation reminding them of your request and their obligations under the GDPR.

According to the ICO “a calendar month starts on the day after the organisation receives the request, even if that day is a weekend or public holiday. It ends on the corresponding calendar date of the next month.”

If you still don’t hear back from them you should complain to them using their complaints process. And, if you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the ICO.

What to do if your information is incorrect

You have a legal right to ‘rectification’ of your records. So, if something in your data is wrong, you can ask to have it corrected. Organisations have one month to respond to your request. However an organisation may charge you a fee or deny your request if they think it is unfounded or excessive.

If the organisation refuses to change their records, you can complain to the ICO.

However, there’s a difference between information that is incorrect and information that you just disagree with. For example, if you have a dispute with your doctor over a diagnosis, you can’t change your health records. But, you might be able to add a note to this record stating that you disagree with the medical opinion.

What to do if you think an organisation is mishandling your data

If you are worried about the way an organisation is handling your information, the ICO has provided a handy letter template to help you to raise your concerns.

You might want to use this if an organisation is/has:

  • Not keeping your information secure
  • Holding inaccurate information about you
  • Disclosed information about you
  • Keeping information about you for longer than is necessary
  • Collected information for one reason and is using it for something else.

If you remain unhappy you can also complain to the ICO.

What can you do if you can’t find the correct contact information?

The good news is that the ICO is intent on pursuing organisations that are not taking their data protection obligations seriously. In fact, it recently took a company to court for failing to respond to an ICO enforcement notice which ordered the business to provide information requested via a SAR.

Commenting on this case, a spokesperson for the ICO said:

“The right to access your own personal information is a fundamental and long-standing principle of data protection law. New laws brought into effect last May strengthen those rights even further.

Organisations not only have to respect this right but must also respect notices from the ICO enforcing the law. If they fail to do so then they must accept the consequences, which can include a criminal prosecution.”

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.

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How to avoid push payment fraud

Push payment fraud happens when cybercriminals trick people into sending them money. Because the individual thinks the cybercriminal is genuine, they authorise the handover of cash. The money is then swiftly transferred to different accounts, often abroad, which makes getting it back almost impossible.

Push payment fraud is carried out in many different ways, but ultimately fraudsters are looking to trick you into believing that you are making a payment to someone you can trust.

In some cases, the criminals involved might call hundreds (or even thousands) of people in the hope of deceiving someone. But often these scams are highly targeted and come after hacking a victim’s emails to identify the information needed to defraud them. Push payment fraudsters might also use information violated during a data breach to target their next victims.

Find out more about push payment fraud.

What can you do to protect yourself from push payment scams?

  • Never disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password
  • 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
  • Know that banks or other trusted organisations will never contact you and ask for your PIN or full password, or ask you to transfer money to a safe 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 such as your PIN or password
  • 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
  • Always question who you’re talking to. If in any doubt call them back using trusted contact details (you can usually find these on your bank cards) to check the request is genuine
  • Don’t be afraid to say you’ll get back to someone using the phone number or email address as listed on their website. 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
  • Make sure you look at the address bar when logging into a website. If there is a padlock icon your connection is secure. If 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.

Getting your money back if you are a victim of push payment fraud

If you have been the victim of a push fraud and need help getting your money back, there is some good news.

Historically, banks avoided paying push payment scam compensation to victims unless there was a fault in their processes. This is because the customers have authorised the payments. However, because of new regulations, people who have been scammed into transferring money directly to a cybercriminal can expect stronger protections.

However, if you have been a victim of this form of cybercrime and your bank is refusing to help, we might be able to help you get your money back, as well as compensation for any distress suffered.

 To do this, we are considering a group action claim against banks who have failed their clients after they have lost money through no fault of their own. A group action is where a group of people, all affected by the same issue, collectively bring their cases to court. Group actions can be a powerful tool and can have a bigger impact than a single claim.

Find out more about making a Push Payment Group Action Claim

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, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses. We can help you to claim compensation and steer you through the aftermath of a bank or credit card scam – minimising the impact on you as much as possible.

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421 million personal records breached in October 2019

According to cyber risk experts IT Governance, a staggering 421,103,896 data records were confirmed breached last month. Shockingly, that’s considered a good month for data security as the figure only represents about 50% of the monthly average.

October was CyberSecMonth

October was CyberSecMonth. This is an annual campaign, run by the EU, which aims to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and promote cybersecurity. It does this the same way we do at Hayes Connor – through education and the sharing of good practices.

However, despite the initiative, an IT Governance blog listed all the data breaches and cyber attacks carried out in October. Critically, there were “111 incidents, including several in which sensitive and financial information was compromised”. The post also revealed that it was a “particularly bad month for the UK, with 9 confirmed breaches”.

UK data breaches

The UK-specific incidents which took place in October 2019 included:

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust  

A data breach at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust which saw the personal details of 425 pupils from two Greater Manchester secondary schools ‘misplaced’. The privacy violation occurred when the school nursing service transferred records of children moving from primary to secondary school.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital 

A data breach at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital which resulted in the personal details of 11 patients being sent to the wrong address.

North Devon District Hospital 

A data breach at North Devon District Hospital which saw a patient’s voicemail message, containing personal patient details, becoming the hospital’s answerphone message. Because she had provided her phone number in her message, she was subsequently inundated with calls from patients giving details about their health problems.

PouringPounds.com 

A data breach at money-saving websites used by over 3.5 million which leaked sensitive information onto the dark web. This affected British website PouringPounds.com and Indian sister site CashKaro.com. The data exposed includes bank details, full names, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, plain-text passwords and usernames, IP addresses, and more.

Sonic Jobs 

Data leaks at recruitment sites Authentic Jobs (US) and Sonic Jobs (UK) which exposed 250,000 CVs online.

Home Group 

A breach at Home Group which provides homes to people in England and Scotland. The breach – which affected 4,000 customers – involved names, addresses and contact information.

West Berkshire Council 

A privacy violation at West Berkshire Council after it sent a leisure survey to 1,107 recipients who could all see each other’s email addresses.

UKIP

An alleged theft of data at UKIP after certain individuals were accused of stealing data from the party. In response, the party has suspended its leader and three other members.

Preston Police

A breach at Preston Police force after a receptionist illegally used her force’s confidential database to help her best friend find out about relatives who had been arrested.

Organisations must do more to protect personal data

Commenting on these cases, our managing director and data protection expert Kingsley Hayes said: “Businesses who are not already taking their data protection obligations seriously must step up their data protection practices or face legal action and hefty costs.

He added: “This is particularly important as a recent Court of Appeal makes it possible for people to make a data breach claim, even if they haven’t suffered financial or emotional damage as a result. If a company does not protect an individual’s data in the way it is legally obliged to do, that person can claim for this data privacy failure. What’s more, people can now seek compensation even if the only personal information breached was their email address.”

Find out more about the recent changes.

Have you been affected by a UK data breach?

In the UK, organisations MUST tell you if they have breached your personal data. They are legally obliged to do this under the Data Protection Act.

But despite this, too often people still don’t know that their data has been breached until they hear that a company has been fined by the ICO (or read about it in an article such as this one).

In such cases, it’s worth finding out whether your data was put at risk. Because, if so, you may have a claim for compensation.

What can you do if you were affected by one of these data breaches?

If you have been the victim of a privacy violation due to an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation. At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we’ve been helping people to do just that for over 50 years. So, we know what it takes to make a successful data breach compensation claim.

A data breach can result in both financial and/or identity theft. And the result of either of these can be devastating. With enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.

But the impact of data breaches goes much further than financial losses. Many victims go on to suffer from stress, anxiety and distress. And, according to Victim Support, the effects of crime can last for a long time. Crucially, if an organisation has failed to protect your personal data, you have a right to claim compensation. Even if you haven’t suffered as a result.

In most cases, data breaches happen because of a failure to implement reasonable and robust processes. So, claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests. The only way organisations will be persuaded to take their responsibilities seriously and make the necessary improvements is by hurting their bottom line.

START A DATA BREACH COMPENSATION CLAIM

 

 

 

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How can you protect yourself following the OnePlus data breach?

OnePlus has emailed customers to let them know that their personal information is at risk. This is because a (as yet unknown) third-party hacked OnePlus and got their hands on sensitive customer data. This includes:

  • Names
  • Contact numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Shipping addresses

It does not appear that payment information or account passwords were obtained during the intrusion.

OnePlus has informed all impacted users by email. It has also warned these customers that they might now be the victims of spam and phishing emails as cybercriminals use this data to extort more information and commit financial/identity fraud against them.

If you haven’t received a notification yet, OnePlus says you have not been affected. However, if you have ever purchased a product from OnePlus, it is worth checking your spam folder and any old email accounts in case the email has gone there.

If you were involved in the OnePlus data breach, you must take steps to keep yourself safe.

Protect your finances following the OnePlus data breach

While OnePlus has said that payment details have not been exposed, you should:

  • Contact your bank or credit card provider immediately if you spot any unfamiliar transactions or suspicious activity
  • Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected dips
  • You might also want to contact the major credit reference agencies to ensure credit isn’t taken out in your name.

Watch out for further attacks following the OnePlus data breach

All too often, cyber-criminals use the names and email addresses stolen in a data protection act breach to try and extract additional information from you (such as your banking details). As such, you must be on your guard following the OnePlus data breach.

  • Always question uninvited calls, messages, texts, etc. in case it’s a scam
  • Be aware that, 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
  • Understand that a legitimate bank or other financial organisation will never contact you ask for your PIN or full password or ask you to move money to another account for fraud prevention reasons.

Put some data protection best practices in place

If you are concerned that your data might be at risk, there are some steps you can take to stop the threat from escalating.

  • Register with the Cifas protective registration service
  • Change your passwords (we strongly recommend that you do this if you have been involved in this breach)
  • Make sure your devices are protected by up-to-date internet security software.

Find out more about what to do if you are the victim of a data breach.

Should you make a OnePlus data breach compensation claim?

A data breach is a serious failure, and it is clear that OnePlus has neglected to protect its customers’ privacy rights.

Worryingly, this isn’t the first time that OnePlus has been involved in a data breach. In January 2018, OnePlus revealed that 40,000 online customers had their credit/debit card data stolen. In this data breach, hundreds of customers reported fraud on their accounts after paying over the OnePlus website.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like OnePlus has learned from this mistake. So, if your data was involved in this breach, you should make a OnePlus compensation claim. Claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests. It could also be the only way to ensure that organisations implement more secure processes.

How to make a OnePlus data breach claim

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are looking to launch a no-win, no-fee group litigation action for everyone who has had their data privacy violated in the OnePlus data breach. Our data protection breach solicitors are true experts in this type of law. Unlike other firms, it is all we do, and we have been doing it for longer than most. So, we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve. We have all the experience and expertise necessary to get the best possible result for you.

Crucially, you do not need to have suffered any financial loss or emotional distress to make a claim against OnePlus. If you have suffered a privacy violation caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation.

To become part of our group action, we need you to register with us. This guarantees that you will form part of the compensation claims that will be lodged by us.

We can take on your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Register now

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Twitter bans all political ads

Twitter has announced that it will ban all political ads. The move comes in advance of the next UK General Election, which is set to be held on 12 December.

Why has Twitter banned political ads?

In a series of tweets, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said:

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”

He added:

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

He also said that the Twitter political ads decision wasn’t about free expression. Rather it was about paying for reach:

“And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”

Twitter bans political ads. Is this good news?

The reaction to the announcement has been mixed with people on one side of the debate seeing this as a win for democratic and fair process, and others seeing it as an attempt to silence certain politicians. However, some could argue that the people most upset about the decision are those who have allegedly used social media to carry out extensive misinformation campaigns.

The UK data protection regulator (the ICO), will no doubt be happy with the move as it has serious concerns about how data is being used for political purposes. In fact, in 2017 it launched a formal investigation into this very topic. The investigation is one of the largest of its kind and is ongoing.

Is social media influencing our votes?

The evidence certainly seems to point that way. The Electoral Commission, the ICO, A Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee and The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising have all raised concerns about microtargeting specific voters profiled using unknown data.

Indeed, according to an ICO report:

“Citizens can only make truly informed choices about who to vote for if they are sure that those decisions have not been unduly influenced.

“The invisible, ‘behind the scenes’ use of personal data to target political messages to individuals must be transparent and lawful if we are to preserve the integrity of our election process.

“We may never know whether individuals were unknowingly influenced to vote a certain way in either the UK EU referendum or the in US election campaigns. But we do know that personal privacy rights have been compromised by a number of players and that the digital electoral ecosystem needs reform.”

What will happen next?

It is yet to be seen if Facebook – which has been widely criticised for helping to spread political misinformation – will also step up to the mark. Certainly, Facebook executives have robustly defended their policy of not fact-checking political ads. But, despite Zuckerberg’s uncompromising stance on this matter, the fact that Twitter has decided not to permit political advertising will put additional pressure on the social media giant.

Staying safe on social media

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted what can happen when we share our data online. In this case, a researcher garnered details on the likes and habits of Facebook users (without their consent) via a personality quiz app called ‘This is Your Digital Life’. Cambridge Analytica then used this data to target users with political messaging. Facebook has since been fined £500,000 by the ICO for this data privacy violation (although Facebook has refused to accept liability).

But, despite the media attention this case received – and the possible impact on our democracy- it seems that plenty of us are still willing to hand over our information without thinking about the consequences.

It is absolutely right that we are demanding that social media organisations look after our data with respect. But it is also crucial that we apply the same standards to our own behaviour if we want to stay safe.

For example, when using technology, we must be conscious of the data we are sharing, and how it can be used. On social media, this includes things like:

  • Not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know
  • Being careful about what you share online
  • Removing location data from your posts
  • Using a different password for all your accounts
  • Using two-factor authentication
  • Checking the privacy settings of all your accounts/apps/games etc.
  • Not downloading suspicious apps
  • Thinking twice before clicking on any links
  • Reading the T&Cs of any games or apps you want to use
  • Being aware of common phishing techniques and keeping an eye out for fraudsters who attempt to gather additional personal information
  • Not accepting any ‘news’ at face value.

Today, social media is part of everyday life. So we would never suggest that you stop using it if you don’t want to. In fact, at Hayes Connor, we believe that raising awareness of cybersecurity issues will help to protect ourselves as individuals. And you can get more advice on how to keep your data safe, from us on Twitter and Facebook. But it is vital to follow some simple steps to stay safe.

 

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Top tips to keep you safe following a data breach

If you have been the victim of a data breach, it is vital that you know how to react.

Here’s what you should do as soon as you find out that your data has been breached

  • Follow any security instructions provided to you by the company which breached your data
  • Contact your bank or credit card provider and let them know what has happened
  • Keep an eye out for any bills or emails about goods or services you haven’t ordered
  • Check your bank statements regularly and alert your bank if there is any suspicious activity
  • Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected dips
  • Call Credit, Experian and Equifax to ensure credit isn’t taken out in your name
  • Do not click on any suspicious links. This could result in you giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details
  • Always question uninvited emails, calls etc. in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media and review your privacy settings
  • Report any suspected phishing attempts to the police and Action Fraud
  • 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
  • Change your passwords and 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
  • Contact the ICO to let them know about your concerns. 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 a data breach compensation claim

Organisations have an obligation to protect your sensitive data, but they are consistently failing in this duty resulting in data breaches which cause misery and upset to people across the UK.

We are helping people to get compensation for this inability to look after their information correctly. And we can do the same for you.

If you have been the victim of a data breach and you want to make a data breach compensation claim – for loss of money, emotional distress, or loss of privacy – you should contact Hayes Connor Solicitors.

Our expert, online fraud and data protection solicitors will advise you on whether you have a valid 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, follow our #NotJustHackers campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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Why should you claim compensation for the British Airways data breach

In 2018, almost 400,000 British Airways customers had their bank card details stolen in what is being called one of the most severe cyber-attacks in UK history. In response, the airline is now facing legal action from thousands of people in the UK. As expert data breach solicitors, here at Hayes Connor, we launched a British Airways Data Breach Group Action to help victims of this breach claim compensation. But since then, two more data breaches were uncovered at the airline.

What happened in the 2018 BA data breach?

Cybercriminals carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on the British Airways website. This attack has put the personal and financial details of customers making bookings at risk. In total, about 380,000 transactions were affected.

Along with the financial info stolen, the hackers also gained access to personally identifiable information (PII). If this information gets into the wrong hands, it can be used to undertake identity and financial fraud.

British Airways admitted that the cybercriminals spent more than two weeks accessing data online before the hack was spotted and reported. This increases the risk substantially.

A second BA data breach

To make matters worse, when investigating this case, a second data breach was uncovered. In this instance, 77,000 people had their names, addresses, email addresses and detailed payment information taken. This included card numbers, expiry dates, and card verification value (CVV) numbers

What happened in the 2019 BA data breach?

In the latest British Airways data breach, researchers at security firm Wandera uncovered unencrypted links within BA’s e-ticketing process. Furthermore, they have warned that this vulnerability means that attackers could easily intercept these links. This means that they could access and change the flight booking details and personal information of passengers.

The vulnerability with British Airway’s e-ticketing system may have also exposed sensitive passenger information.

Should you accept compensation from British Airways?

After the first data breach was uncovered, British Airways said that compensation claims would be discussed on an ‘individual basis’. However, it is not up to the airline to dictate the terms of any compensation payments.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are experts in data breach cases, and, once you have registered with us, it’s not uncommon that we uncover information that allows us to increase the value of your claim significantly. What might seem irrelevant to you, could make a huge difference in the eyes of the law. That’s why it’s important not to be fobbed off by a low initial offer from British Airways. Instead, by making a no-win, no-fee claim with us, we can increase the amount of compensation you receive substantially.

Why launch a group action?

A group action is undoubtedly the best way forward for data breach claims of this nature. It allows people with the same type of claim in principle to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

Find out more about group actions.

What should you do now?

For anyone worried that their data has been exposed by British Airways, you should:

  1. Determine what was stolen. To protect yourself as much as possible you need to know what kind of information was accessed in the data breach. British Airways should be able to advise you on this
  2. Contact your bank. If any financial information has been stolen, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately and explain that your account is at risk of fraud. As well as issuing a new card, the bank should be able to advise you if it detects suspicious activity on your account
  3. Change your passwords. If an online account (such as an email address) has been compromised, change the password right away. You should also change all other accounts that use the same password, and – if your email could be compromised – any accounts that could be accessed via your email. To keep you safe in the future, create a secure, unique password for each account (you might want to consider using a password manager to do this for you)
  4. Deploy additional security measures. If an app or website offers two-factor authentication to protect an account, use it
  5. Be vigilant. Beware of scammers using your stolen data against you. For example, don’t click on any links in emails asserting to be from your bank and always use the numbers they provide on their website if they ask to talk to you
  6. Sign up for a credit and/or identity-monitoring service. This will help you to monitor your financial accounts and sensitive personal information. Many organisations will offer such services free following a data breach but it’s important to check the small print. Be careful that in accepting any offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  7. Keep a record. Make a list of all the accounts that could have been accessed and note down why you are concerned about them
  8. Inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your concerns. At present the ICO is undertaking an investigation into the British Airways Data Breaches. While it does not award compensation, if the ICO believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  9. Contact Hayes Connor Solicitors ASAP. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

Data breaches often have severe consequences for those affected. And crucially, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t lost out financially or have suffered emotionally as a result of the hack. If an organisation has failed to protect your personal data, you have a right to claim compensation. Even if you haven’t suffered as a result.

Furthermore, because we offer no-win, no-fee funding arrangements, you have nothing to lose.

Find out more about no-win, no-fee.

in our British Airways data breach group action compensation claims, you will need you to register with us. We’ll let you know what is happening in this case and if and when you can make a data breach compensation claim.

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