Protect yourself after a data breach
Human error, poor business processes and cybercrime are causing data breaches across the UK. And, if you have been the victim of a privacy violation, you must take urgent steps to protect yourself from harm. At Hayes Connor, we've provided some helpful advice to help you protect yourself after a data breach
Make sure cybercriminals can't make a bad situation even worse
Regardless of whether or not your financial data has been stolen, a data protection act breach can result in financial theft. Because, as well as using your data to steal money from you directly, cybercriminals will often use less sensitive information (e.g. your name and email address) to try and extract additional information from you (such as your banking details). This is called phishing. With enough information, criminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.
As well as contacting your bank if you are worried that your financial data has been exposed, to protect yourself after a data breach you should also watch out for further attacks. And, you should also put some data protection best practices in place to stop the threat from escalating.
Our data protection top tips to protect yourself after a data breach
- Contact your bank or credit card provider ASAP if your financial data has been exposed
- Follow any security instructions provided to you by your bank/credit card provider
- Check your account for any unfamiliar transactions and alert your bank/card provider immediately 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
- Never give anyone your PIN or full password (your bank won't ask for this)
- Don't move money to another account for fraud reason (your bank won't ask you to do this)
- Follow any security instructions provided to you by the company which breached your data
- Don't click on any suspicious links in emails or texts
- Always question uninvited approaches in case it's a scam
- Don't assume an email or phone call 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
- Be careful who you trust - criminals may try and trick you by telling you that you've been a victim of fraud. Criminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and to reveal your security details
- Know that criminals 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
- 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
- Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong, then it is right to question it
- Have the confidence to refuse requests for personal or financial information. Stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it
- Never hesitate to contact your bank or financial service provider on a number you know and trust
- Beware of any unsolicited communications that refer you to a web page asking for personal data
- 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
- 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 internet security software and that this is kept up-to-date.
Make a data breach compensation claim
Data protection act breaches are causing misery and upset to people across the UK. Organisations have a duty to protect your sensitive information and a breach is a failure of this responsibility. If you want to make a data breach compensation claim you should:
- Contact the ICO to let them know about your concerns
- Write down your version of events ASAP, including any impact resulting from the data breach as this could provide valuable evidence in court
- 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 the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.