What can happen when your ex gets access to your financial information?
When we think about data breaches, we often worry about hackers and cybercriminals getting hold of our banking details. But in some cases, significant damage can be caused when our financial situation is made available to people much closer to home.
In a recent case, our solicitors saw the impact of what can happen when a bank statement was sent to an ex-partner's address by mistake.
What happened in this case?
In this data breach, our client's bank sent personal information disclosing his financial situation to his previous address, where his ex-partner still lived. This happened despite our client changing his address with his bank five years ago.
Our client's ex-partner then disclosed this information to her friends, family and acquaintances; causing him significant distress and embarrassment. Furthermore, due to the disclosure of his financial position, our client's ex-partner also refused him access to their children and prevented him from taking them on holiday.
As a direct result of this data breach, our client has suffered severe psychological effects, including stress and anxiety.
What can you do to stop this from happening to you?
When handing over your postal address to an organisation, it is vital that you check that these details have been taken down correctly. You are completely within your rights to ask for a copy of the data your bank (or any other organisation) holds about you. This is called making a subject access request (SAR). This won't guarantee that an error doesn't result in information going to the wrong address (as in this case) but it is a good safety precaution to take. Find out more about making a SAR.
If you are an employee of a bank and you want to make sure that you don't make a similar mistake, talk to your employer about any processes that can be put in place to make sure that the addresses of your customers are correct. Such steps could include things like additional data protection training, making sure that all updated addresses and information are saved in the correct field, and checks and balances on systems generating correspondence.
In many cases, data breaches can be avoided by employees abiding by the data protection principles of their organisations. But it is up to these organisations to make sure that all staff receive regular data protection training to make sure they understand the potential consequences of breaching data protection laws.
Not just hackers
At Hayes Connor, we want to reduce the number of data violations taking place across the UK. To do this, we are sharing such real-life examples of data breaches to raise awareness of this issue and educate people to prevent similar mistakes from happening.
Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, find out how we can help you to recover any losses or give us a call on 0151 363 5895 to discuss your case in more depth.