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The real-life impact of data breaches

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When it comes to data breaches, we know that the impact can be serious and long-lasting. Because, every day, our solicitors help people with data breaches that have had a devastating effect on their lives.

The vast majority of these breaches are caused by small mistakes, such as a company sending an email to the wrong person. Sometimes they happen because staff wilfully break data protection rules and access information they have no right to view (e.g. to spy on a neighbour or ex-partner). In other cases, cybercriminals might have hacked a company's systems and stolen data to exploit. But regardless of why a data breach happened, the impact can be overwhelming.

A data breach can cause serious distress

If a criminal came into your home and stole your private information, you would be distressed.

In fact:

  • It takes around 8 months for those who have been burgled to feel safe at home again[1]
  • 1 in 8 never recover emotionally[2]
  • 43% say they feel violated[3]
  • 44% are scared it may happen again[4]
  • A third of people suffer a huge knock to their confidence[5]

A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. And many people feel just as upset at having their online data stolen or violated.

Let's face it, the amount of information we share with organisations is enough to leave us all open to the threat of fraud, anxiety and stress. So it's no surprise that we are worried about what could happen if this gets into the wrong hands. Often, victims of data breaches go on to suffer from anxiety, and existing mental health conditions can be made worse.

People can suffer serious losses following a data breach

A data breach can result in financial theft. With your bank/credit card info, cybercriminals can steal directly from you. But, even without this they might be able to apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And getting your money back isn't always easy.

People are often not taken seriously after a data breach

All too often, people who have had non-financial data stolen and make a data breach claim are accused of "trying to get something for nothing". But non-financial data breach cases can have a huge impact. For example, in a recent case, our solicitors saw the impact of what can happen when sensitive information was sent to the wrong address by mistake.

We are on your side

The good news is that the law recognises the amount of damage that can be caused by having your information stolen. And, at Hayes Connor Solicitors, we help our clients to make compensation claims after their data privacy rights have been violated.

Something has to be done to make companies accountable for any harm done and make the necessary improvements. Especially as most data breaches happen because of a failure to implement reasonable and robust processes.

If you have been the victim of a data breach find out how we can help you to recover any losses or give us a call to discuss your case in more depth.


[1] Allianz Insurance

[2] MoneySuperMarket

[3] MoneySuperMarket

[4] MoneySuperMarket

[5] UIA Insurance

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