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Have you ever applied for a loan, mortgage, credit card or mobile phone? You could become a victim of identity fraud.


In May 2017, Equifax was the victim of a cyber-attack which put the personal information of over 100,000 UK customers at risk. And, even if you’ve never heard of the company, you could still become a victim of identity fraud. But what do you need to know and how can you secure data protection breach compensation?

What is Equifax?

Equifax is a credit-reference agency. When you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card or mobile phone, the company you are requesting credit from might use Equifax to check your credit report and decide whether to approve your application. So, even if you are not an Equifax customer, they could hold your data, and this could now be at risk.

What information does Equifax hold?

Because of the nature of what it does, Equifax has a massive amount of information on individuals. This includes personal information, employment records, home addresses and financial details.

Phone numbers, dates of birth, driving licence numbers, email addresses, passwords and partial credit card details were all accessed in the latest breach, which is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud. And we should all be very worried about what could happen if this data gets into the wrong hands.

For example, with enough information, cyber criminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. To make matters worse, victims of ID fraud often have no idea that it is even happening until it is too late.

Signs that your identity has been stolen include:

• Bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
• Unfamiliar transactions from your account
• An unexpected dip in your credit score.

A breach of trust

It’s clear that your data is a valuable commodity, but all too often companies do not protect this as well as they should do. So, it’s no wonder that data breaches are on the rise. Even worse, in most cases, data losses are entirely preventable; businesses just don’t like investing in cybersecurity, updating their systems, or training their staff.

With large-scale, high-profile hacks and breaches happening more and more often, something has to be done to make companies accountable for these losses. So, claiming data protection breach compensation isn’t just in your best interests – it could be the only way to ensure that they implement more secure processes.

In the Equifax case, the lack of care shown towards those who are affected was made even worse when it was revealed that a former Equifax executive sold his shares in the company before the news of the data breach went public. Earning roughly $1 million in the process, the executive was set to profit at the expense of millions of customers (in the UK and US). Luckily he has since been charged with insider trading, but his actions reflect a disdain for consumer data protection that is all too common.

Don’t be bought off!

As is common in such cases, victims of the Equifax data breach were offered a number of free services to reduce their risk following the hack. These included a credit-report monitoring service, a web monitoring service, the option to get a copy of your credit report by post, and registration to a fraud protection service.

But, if you are offered free services by any organisation following a data breach, it’s vital that you know your rights before you sign up. Make sure you are not inadvertently signing away your rights to pursue a compensation claim at a later date.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your data?

If you get an Equifax letter telling you that you might be at risk, contact Hayes Connor Solicitors for further advice about what to do. We will keep your details (securely of course!) and ensure you are kept updated about how the investigation into the Equifax hack is progressing.

As no win- no fee data protection solicitors, if Equifax is fined, we will let you know when your claim for compensation can be made and help you get the compensation you deserve.

We will also be able to advise you on what to do while waiting for the investigation’s findings.


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