Data Breach Claims
In today’s digital world, your personal data is a valuable commodity. However, all too often negligent business processes, human error and cybercrime mean this sensitive data isn’t as protected as it should be.
A data breach can result in both financial and/or identity theft, 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.
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.
At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience across our team. We know what it takes to make a successful data breach compensation claim.
We understand that making a compensation claim can be stressful; especially where sensitive information is already breached. That’s why we remove the jargon from the process and make sure you always know what’s happening with your case.
Our expert, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have. If you are not sure whether your information has been misused or mishandled, we can find this out for you.
If we believe you have a strong case, we’ll go through your options with you. We may be able to act for you on a no win, no fee basis.
If you believe you have grounds for a claim, we can assess this for you free of charge. Simply use our secure online claim form to let us know the details of your claim and we will get back to you shortly.
We can help you to claim compensation for data protection breaches, data leaks, human rights breaches, and the misuse of personal information.
To speak to a member of our team about what to do if you believe your data has been exposed in a data breach, please call now on 0151 363 5895.
What do you need to know about data breaches?
Who can claim compensation for a data breach?
You can claim compensation if an organisation has failed to protect your personal data – regardless of whether or not you have suffered as a result of the breach. However, where you have experienced financial, medical harm, anguish or anxiety, we can make a more significant case.
What can you claim for following a data breach?
A data breach can lead to both financial and/or identity theft, 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.
Even if you haven’t lost out financially after a data breach, this doesn’t mean that there is “no harm done.” A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. If a criminal came into your home and stole your private information, you would be distressed.
So why should you feel any less upset at having your online data taken?
Being the victim of a crime can have a significant impact on you mentally and physically. Common effects include trouble sleeping, as well as feeling ill, unsettled or confused. Stress can also affect your friends, your family and your job.
How to make a data breach claim
To start, we’ll contact the organisation in question. We’ll also use any information provided by the ICO to check if you have had your data breached (if the company has not admitted as much already).
Once we have established the violation – and the extent of this failing – we’ll start the claims procedure. We’ll only do this with your explicit agreement.
The ICO publishes details of breaches on its website. We can also keep you updated on upcoming and current ICO data breach claim investigations.
The full impact of a data breach is not always immediate
Having dealt with hundreds of different types of data breach cases, we know that the full impact is often not apparent until months after the initial violation.
We have seen cases where the financial losses only start to occur three to six months later. This is because stolen data is batched and used over time.
The impact of data breaches goes much further than financial losses. We’ve seen cases where experiencing a data breach has resulted in adverse life events. For example, 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 lead to a diagnosable psychological injury. Like financial losses, this often happens months after the initial breach.
Individual data breaches can have a big impact
It’s almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about how a hacker has targeted some big company. Usually, with thousands of customers put at risk. But, while these cases are important, every day, individual data breaches are causing misery and upset to people across the UK.
While these incidents don’t make the headlines, for those involved the experience can be devastating.
Crucially, in most cases, these data breaches aren’t caused by scammers trying to hack big businesses, but by simple human errors. At Hayes Connor, our experts deal with a significant volume of data breach cases each day. During our work, we see many different types of claims. So we know how data breaches can affect people in different ways.
We are helping individuals claim compensation for violations of the Data Protection Act. We help with claims against:
- Health & Medical Organisations
- Central and Local Government
- Police & Criminal Justice Bodies
- Educational Bodies
- Private Companies
- Financial Organisations
Types of data breach claims
A data breach can occur in any industry, business, school, organisation, or government department (e.g. the police, the NHS and the social services).
Most often, breaches happen in service-based industries where there is direct contact with the public. Over the last few years, mobile phone networks, tech firms, retailers, and banks have all hit the headlines due to data security breaches.
Types of data protection compensation claims include where:
- Data has been inadvertently lost, hacked or leaked.
- An identity has been stolen to obtain credit cards fraudulently.
- Personal data has been sent to a third party without your express permission.
- An organisation failed to maintain up-to-date, accurate information about you and this caused you damage.
- Your privacy has been compromised as part of a whistle-blowing operation.
- Personal information has been misused or mishandled.
- An organisation broke the law and used your information for journalism, artistic or literary purposes without your permission.
- Businesses have had their company data leaked (e.g. banking information, business plans, etc.).
What is the information commissioner’s office?
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent authority. It was set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, and to promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. While the ICO does not award compensation, it does have the power to impose hefty fines on organisations in breach of their duties.
You have the right to ask the ICO to assess if an organisation breached the Data Protection Act.
If the ICO believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim. However, the judge may not agree with the ICO’s view. While you can make a compensation claim against a company without first going to the ICO, we would always recommend this as a first step.
Under the GDPR, organisations MUST tell you if they have breached your personal data. 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. 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.
If you have already contacted the ICO about a potential breach, Hayes Connor Solicitors can still investigate your claim. We will work with the ICO to gather as much evidence as possible to help our clients succeed.
How to stay safe following a data breach
Here are a few steps to help protect your personal information following a data breach:
- If you are worried that your financial details are exposed, contact your bank/credit card provider immediately and ask them to keep a close eye on your account and request a new card.
- Consider a credit freeze until you are safe.
- Beware of fraudsters who attempt to gather personal information (phishing).
- Report any suspected phishing attempts to the police and relevant authorities (Action Fraud).
- Look out for any bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered. Or any unfamiliar transactions on your account. And alert your bank or card provider immediately if there is any suspicious activity.
- Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected dips (register for updates).
- Let the credit reference agencies know of any activity that was not down to you.
- 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.
- Beware of any unsolicited communications that refer you to a web page asking for personal data.
- Register with a suitable fraud prevention service.
- Change your passwords on all your accounts.
Start your data breach claim today
At Hayes Connor Solicitors we help you to claim compensation. We also steer you through the aftermath of a data breach – minimising the impact on you as much as possible.
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.
With strict time limits in place for making data breach claims it’s important to act now.