Watford Community Housing Data Breach Compensation Claims
Watford Community Housing Trust Data Breach
Watford Community Housing Trust has admitted that a document containing the highly sensitive details of 3,545 tenants has been emailed to customers in error. This is a clear and serious breach of the GDPR and a massive breach of tenant trust and safety.
On this page, Hayes Connor Solicitors has provided some advice and guidance to support any residents worried about the Watford Community Housing Trust data breach.
- Frequently asked questions
- The emotional impact of the Watford Community Housing data breach
- Help and support for people following the data breach
- Advice on making a data breach compensation claim.
Watford Community Housing Trust Data Breach FAQs
The violation happened when the Trust sent out an email to residents, informing them of changes to services during the coronavirus outbreak and the closure of its offices on Clarendon Road. Attached to the email was a spreadsheet containing the personal information of thousands of tenants.
The data included:
- Phone numbers
- Home addresses
- Email addresses
- Dates of birth
- Ethnic origin
- Sexual orientation
- Housing needs
- Tenancy dates.
It is believed that everyone who received the email now has a copy of this highly sensitive information and has had their information breached. This is likely to include vulnerable people who are Ex-Directory and many people who do not want their home addresses, contact details and sexuality made public. You might find this email in your spam folder.
Watford Community Housing has said sorry for the error. It has asked people not to share the spreadsheet and promised to report the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It is legally obligated to do this.
For most people involved in this breach, this is simply not good enough.
The ICO is the UK’s data protection regulator. It has the power to investigate and fine companies who put people at risk because of poor data security. However, none of this money goes to the victims of the data breaches.
It is worth letting the ICO know about the Watford Community Housing data breach, because, as well as issuing fines, any evidence the ICO discovers in its investigations can be used to support a compensation claim. You can contact the ICO here.
This breach happened because someone made a mistake. And, while mistakes do happen, that doesn’t let Watford Community Housing off the hook.
Watford Community Housing might have apologised unreservedly for this breach, but had it implemented some simple security measures (e.g. password controls/encryption on sensitive data), this file would have been unreadable.
The emotional impact of the Watford Community Housing Trust Data Breach
The breach has been hugely distressing for some people. Many of the victims are already vulnerable and suffer from psychological issues. And, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is already having an impact on mental health, this additional worry is proving devastating.
At Hayes Connor, we have been contacted by numerous Watford Community Housing Trust residents following the data breach – most of who are vulnerable, upset, angry and scared.
It is vital that these people now get the urgent help they need.
It is also important to know that you can claim compensation for emotional distress following a data breach.
Help & support for people following the data breach
Victim Support is the leading independent victim’s charity in England and Wales for people affected by crime and traumatic incidents. Last year it offered support to nearly a million victims of crime across the UK.
Information Commissioner’s Office
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) protects the data privacy rights of 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. At Hayes Connor Solicitors we often work with the ICO to gather as much evidence as possible to help our clients succeed.
Based in Watford, the South West Hertfordshire Samaritans are a group of passionate volunteers working together to make sure fewer people die by suicide. If you are struggling emotionally after the data breach, they can help. You can call them on 116 123 free from any phone.
The Herts Mind Community Support Service provides advice, information, onward referral and holistic support to people who are experiencing mental ill-health and drug/ alcohol difficulties. The service can also provide support to people who have a history of offending and those who have been a victim of crime.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. Victims of online offences such as scams and financial/identity fraud should contact Action Fraud to report their loss. You can do this online or via telephone.
Get Safe Online
Get Safe Online is a leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. It contains lots of helpful guidance to protect you and your data from the threat of fraud, identity theft and abuse.
Take Five to Stop Fraud
Take Five offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone in the UK protect themselves against financial fraud. Following a data breach, cybercriminals often use contact information to try and extract financial data from victims.
Advice on making a data breach compensation claim
There are already calls for all 3,545 tenants to be compensated for the breach.
According to Watford Community Housing, anyone with concerns should email CustomerRelationsTeam@wcht.org.uk in the first instance. However, with many tenants left upset, angry and even scared, more must be done.
If you want to claim compensation following the Watford Community Housing Trust data breach, Hayes Connor can help. Our professional, friendly team will be pleased to answer any questions you might have.
We also understand that making a compensation claim can be stressful; especially where sensitive information is already breached. So, we remove the jargon and make sure you always know what’s happening with your case.
Where we believe you have a case for claiming compensation, we may be able to act for you on a no win, no fee basis, removing any financial risk from the process of making a claim.
Think you are entitled to compensation for the Watford Community Housing data breach? Use our simple and secure online claim form to share the details of your situation and we will get back to you shortly to let you know whether we can help.
To speak to a member of our team now about how you have been affected the Watford Community Housing data breach, please call us on 0151 363 5895.