Data protection complaints increase leading to possible rise of GDPR breach compensation

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the watchdog responsible for regulating data protection laws in the UK – the number of reported data protection complaints has almost doubled since April this year. If the regulator upholds these complaints, there could be a corresponding rise in GDPR breach compensation claims.

Common causes for these data violations include:

  • Data sent to the wrong recipient
  • Loss of theft of paperwork
  • Failure to redact data
  • Failure to use bcc when sending an email.

The increase in data breach complaints has happened since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25th.  This saw more robust data protection laws come into force. GDPR is the most significant change to data privacy regulations in over two decades. The new rules are designed to:

  • Boost the rights of individuals by giving them more control over their information
  • Put more limitations and responsibilities on how organisations can handle personal data
  • Make data protection (including data breaches) more transparent.

The GDPR also saw the introduction of tough penalties for data breaches. In fact, companies who fail to put adequate data protection processes in place and subsequently suffer a breach could face fines of up to €20,000,000 or 4% of their total global annual turnover for the last financial year.

While the ICO does not award GDPR breach compensation to victims, if a company is found guilty of a data violation this can strengthen an individual’s claim.

According to the ICO:

  • 4,214 data protection complaints were made in July
  • 3,098 data protection complaints were made in June
  • 2,310 data protection complaints made in May
  • 2,165 complaints were made in April.

The stats exclude the health sector.

The figures indicate that more and more people are becoming aware of their data protection rights. This makes sense as there have been many high-profile data protection scandals over the last few months. For example, at Hayes Connor Solicitors we are currently pursuing cases against:

  • Emma’s Diary. Emma’s Diary sold its users’ information to Experian’s marketing division. This data was then used to create a database which the Labour Party manipulated to profile new mums in the run-up to the 2017 General Election. Find out more about the Emma’s Diary data breach
  • Dixons Carphone. The Dixons Carphone or Carphone Warehouse data breach took place in 2017. It resulted in 10 million customer records being accessed from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. The details stolen by cyber criminals include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses. All of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes. Find out more about the Carphone Warehouse data breach
  • Ticketmaster has admitted that thousands of UK customers have been put at risk due to third-party software on their website. This has since been removed but not before the software accessed a number of customers’ personal and financial details. Find out more about the Ticketmaster data breach
  • Last year, Equifax warned that up to 400,000 UK consumers might have had their personal details stolen. The data included names, address, dates of birth, and credit card numbers. Find out more about the Equifax data breach.

If you have been affected by any of these cases, or if you want to make a GDPR breach compensation claim against another organisation, let us know.

Making a GDPR breach compensation claim

If you have suffered damage or distress caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act (the UK’s interpretation of the GDPR), you have a right to claim compensation.

You can make a GDPR breach compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

With enough information, cybercriminals can steal your identity, apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And just the thought of this happening can cause emotional distress. So why shouldn’t you seek compensation for this failure to look after your information correctly?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors our initial assessment is always free of charge. If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we’ll go through your options with you and may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis. For smaller claims, our quick assessment form will help you to start your GDPR breach compensation claim, quickly and easily.

Our expert data breach compensation solicitors make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible in the shortest possible time. However, with strict time limits in place for making data breach claims (currently all breaches going back six years could be subject to a claim) it’s essential to act now.


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Can you afford to use a solicitor for your data breach claim?

When it became clear that people across the UK were mis-sold PPI, often to the tune of thousands of pounds, there was a surge of new claims management companies on the scene. All promising to help consumers get back what they were due.

But, all too often, these companies were more concerned about making fast cash than helping victims. With assurances of no up-front fees turning into extortionate commission rates that left people short-changed.

Fast forward to today, and it seems like its data breach claims that are now rarely out of the news. But, as we start to talk about holding companies to account for any breach of trust when it comes to our valuable information, so do comparisons with PPI claims.

And, it is not hard to see why. It is possible that high-profile data breaches could be seen as a way to make a profit by unscrupulous claims management “factories”.  So it’s vital that you are aware of what is at stake and the options available to you.

Don’t let them get away with it!

Organisations must be held to account for their failure to protect our personal data. The sheer scale of the information we share on online is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud.

For example, with enough data, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And we should all be very worried about what could happen if this gets into the wrong hands.

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 compensation isn’t just in your best interests – it could be the only way to ensure that they implement more secure processes.

Should you do it yourself?

You can make a data breach claim on your own. What’s more, if you go ahead and no settlement is reached, you can even represent yourself in court. In fact, the number of people doing this over recent years has increased.

The legal term for representing yourself this way is called ‘litigating in person’ (LiP). However, while there has been a rise in the number of people doing this, this is often because they don’t think they have any choice due to a lack of alternative funding options.

The benefits of using an expert data protection lawyer

At Hayes Connor, we believe that the best way to make big companies pay for their failures is to use a specialist lawyer. Of course you would expect us to say that – but let us explain why.

Firstly we have the legal expertise needed to take on big players such as Ticketmaster and Equifax. And, where enough people come forward, we might even launch a group action against a company.

We believe that a group action is undoubtedly the best way forward for data breach claims of this nature. It allows people with the same type of claim to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

In addition to our own legal expertise, we also work with expert barristers to help us win our cases. So we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve.

Can you afford to use a data breach claims lawyer?

We deal with all breach claims on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means that, if your claim is not successful, you won’t have to pay a penny.

To cover our costs, if we win your claim, we will charge a success fee. This is capped at 25% of any compensation you receive. We have to charge this to cover our costs in smaller/individual cases. There are no hidden charges or other administration fees.

In some group actions, we expect to be paid by the offending party and might even be able to work at no charge to you. This means, when you win, unlike with a claims management company, you could receive 100% of the compensation awarded to you.

Crucially, when it comes to making a compensation claim, a lack of care can leave data breach victims open to advice and representation below the standard expected by the profession, and this could ultimately see you lose out financially as a result.

Why appoint Hayes Connor Solicitors?

Leading our field when it comes to understanding this often complex area of law, we provide clear and comprehensive advice and legal support to ensure the best possible result for you.

Unlike those unscrupulous claims management companies we only ever get in touch with people who have asked us to, which means we NEVER cold call, send spam texts, spam emails, or engage in any other form of nuisance marketing.

What’s more, at Hayes Connor we understand that making a compensation claim can be stressful; especially where your sensitive information has already been breached. So, our process is fully compliant with the latest guidance, and we never put your details at risk.


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Join a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim

Dixons Carphone is facing legal action from potentially millions of people after it was revealed that hackers have accessed the information of close to 10 million customers. The hackers also got access to the records of 5.9 million payments cards (nearly all of which were protected by chip and pin).

While the company claims that no customers have been the victim of fraud as a result of the hack, you can still claim for any distress you have suffered as a result of the Dixons Carphone data breach.

The National Crime Agency has been investigating the Dixons Carphone data breach. It is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office (the UK’s data protection regulator).

As expert data breach solicitors, here at Hayes Connor, we are carefully watching developments unfold in this case, and are preparing to launch a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim once the relevant investigations are complete.

What happened in the Carphone Warehouse data breach?

The Dixons Carphone data breach took place in 2017 and resulted in customer records being accessed from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. Both payment card details and non-financial records were compromised.

The Dixons Carphone’s investigation has not uncovered any evidence of additional fraud, but it has revealed that significantly more data was taken than first thought.

Crucially, the details stolen by cyber criminals include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses. All of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes.

Dixons Carphone has been criticised for downplaying the severity of the hack. Because today, criminals don’t need payment card or bank account details to cause havoc. Indeed, the sheer scale of damage and distress that can be created by criminals gaining access to personally identifiable information (PII) cannot be underestimated. So, while there is no evidence of financial losses suffered by customers of Currys PC World and Dixons, this doesn’t mean that the impact on victims is any less significant.

To make matters worse, this is not the first time that the company has failed to protect its customers. Earlier this year, the Carphone Warehouse, which merged with Dixons, was fined £400,000 following another cyber-attack. The huge fine is one of the biggest ever handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office. So, with a history of failures, the relevant authorities will now be looking very carefully at this latest data breach.

What are we doing about a Carphone Warehouse data breach claim?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have received a large number of queries from people concerned that their information is now at the mercy of cybercriminals. In response, we are now considering launching a group action against Dixons Carphone.

As such, we have appointed Barrister Ian Whitehurst to help in this case. Having developed a practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies who have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties, we are confident that our team will get the results our clients deserve.

Why launch a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim?

A group action is undoubtedly the best way forward for data breach claims of this nature. It allows people with the same type of claim to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

What’s more, with a group action claimants often share the legal fees. Even better, while the cost of pursuing small claims can be a barrier to justice, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

Find out more about group actions.

What should you do if you have been affected by the Dixons Carphone data breach?

If you are worried that Dixons Carphone has exposed your data, there are a few simple steps you can follow.

  1. Determine what was stolen. To protect yourself as much as possible you need to know what kind of information was accessed in the data breach. Dixons Carphone should be able to advise you on this
  2. Change your passwords. If an online account (such as an email address) has been compromised, change the password right away. You should also change all other accounts that use the same password, and – if your email could be compromised – any accounts that could be accessed via your email. To keep you safe in the future, create a secure, unique password for each account (you might want to consider using a password manager to do this for you)
  3. Deploy additional security measures. If an app or website offers two-factor authentication to protect an account, use it
  4. Contact your bank. If any financial information has been stolen, contact your bank immediately and explain that your account is at risk of fraud. As well as issuing a new card, the bank should be able to advise you if it detects suspicious activity on your account
  5. Be vigilant. Beware of scammers using your stolen data against you. For example, don’t click on any links in emails asserting to be from your bank and always use the numbers they provide on their website if they ask to talk to you
  6. Sign up for a credit and/or identity-monitoring service. This will help you to monitor your financial accounts and sensitive personal information. Many organisations will offer such services free following a data breach but it’s important to check the small print. Be careful that in accepting any offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  7. Keep a record. Make a list of all the accounts that could have been accessed and note down why you are concerned about them
  8. Inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your concerns. At present the ICO is undertaking an investigation into the Dixons Carphone Data Breach. While it does not award compensation, if the ICO believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  9. Contact Hayes Connor Solicitors ASAP. 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.

To find out more, read our handy step-by-step guide to making a data breach claim

How can you join the Carphone Warehouse data breach claim group action?

If you have had an email from Dixon’s Carphone you could be entitled to several thousand pounds in compensation so it’s important to act now. And, because we offer no-win, no-fee funding arrangements, you have nothing to lose.

Find out more about no-win, no-fee.

To join a group action compensation claim, you will need you to register with us. We’ll let you know what is happening in this case and if and when you can make a data breach compensation claim.


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Ticketmaster to close resale site Get Me In. Can you still make a data breach claim?

The Ticketmaster data breach saw cybercriminals get away with the personal and financial information of thousands of people in the UK. As well as the main Ticketmaster site, the data hack also affected, TicketWeb and the resale website Get Me In.

Following the breach, Ticketmaster is now closing its secondary ticketing websites Seatwave and Get Me In, in a bid to combat touts. However, if you used Get Me In and were affected by the data breach, you can still make a compensation claim against the company.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has already made it clear that it does not approve of companies closing to evade data breach inquiries. Earlier this year, and following the announcement that controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was to shut down, the ICO said that: “investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies.”

In this case, there is no evidence that this is why Get Me In is closing. In fact, according to Ticketmaster: “We know that fans are tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit on secondary websites, so we have taken action”.

However, it is vital that Get Me In customers affected by the Ticketmaster data breach know their rights and are not put off making a claim.

What happened in the Ticketmaster data breach case?

Ticketmaster was affected by a substantial data protection breach after cybercriminals hacked the company’s websites. Different customers had different data stolen including financial information (some of which was fraudulently used), email addresses and other personally identifiable information (PII).

Find out more about the different types of data breaches in this case.

Make a Ticketmaster data breach claim

The only way for you to hold Ticketmaster to account is to make a data breach compensation claim.

Crucially, the law recognises the potential damage that is caused by physiological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have already been contacted by lots of Ticketmaster customers who are worried that their data was not looked after as carefully as it should have been.

In response, we have now submitted a letter before action (LBA) to Ticketmaster. This LBA lets Ticketmaster know that we plan to start proceedings against them, and that we are very serious about getting our clients the compensation they deserve.

If you want to join our action against Ticketmaster, it is not too late!

To start your compensation claim, you will need you to register with us. To date, our action against Ticketmaster has more than 500 clients, and it is clear that the data breach is extensive. As such, we expect Ticketmaster to take our claim very seriously.

Data breaches often have severe consequences for those affected so you could be entitled to up to £5,000.