Has your personal data been breached as a result of a Cyber Incident?

Have you been informed by a company/organisation, who holds your personal data, that they have been a victim of a Cyber-attack and your data may have been lost? 

If so, this short blog will provide you with information on what action you can take and what protective measures you can put in place to avoid falling victim of potential fraudsters.  

Cyber-attacks are not uncommon and being informed your data has been breached will, of course, be alarming.  

Sadly, whilst organisations do their upmost to protect the personal data they hold, occasionally, hackers often succeed in infiltrating computer systems and personal data of customers is unfortunately accessed.  

If you have been notified by a company or organisation that they have been victim of a data breach, then they MUST advise you on what to do next. The company has protective procedures it must take and should give you information on what you need to do and what they are doing to mitigate any damage.  

It will most likely be the case that if you take some simple precautionary steps, you will not become a victim of fraud. However, if the worst does happen and your personal details have been specifically targeted and used for fraudulent activity, do not panic. The good news is there are actions you can take to protect your personal data and combat the fraudsters.   

  1. Check your financial accounts for any unusual activity. 
  2. Check your credit report. 
  3. Change your passwords. 
  4. Sign up for a two-factor authentication. 
  5. Consider identity theft protection services. 
  6. Freeze your credit. 
  7. Contact your bank/the police/Action Fraud/FOS/ICO 
  8. Issue Claim at court 

It is important to keep checking your financial accounts and credit reports, as any unusual activity is going to alert you to your data being used fraudulently. You can then take immediate action.  

Changing passwords is vital to prevent your accounts be accessed. Passwords should be as unique and unpredictable as possible.  

A two-factor authenticator provides another level of security and normally coincides with a password. For example, when entering your password for an account, you would then be sent a code to your personal mobile or email, which when entered, would grant you access to your account.  

Identity theft protection services are Companies you can instruct, who will monitor your personal accounts and alert you or your bank to any unusual activity.  

If you seriously believe your account has been hacked and you suspect you are about to be the victim of fraud, you can freeze your accounts, thus preventing any money leaving your account.  

You need to contact your bank as soon as you notice any unusual activity on your account as they also have protective measures in place should customers become victims of fraud.  

You can also contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. If you are then not satisfied with the way your complaint is being handled, your complaint can be progressed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  

In line with the Data Protection Act 2018, companies and organisations are bound to hold your data securely. If that data is lost and causes you financial damage or distress, you may bring a claim for compensation.  

In this case, firstly, contact the company themselves and if you aren’t satisfied with the response, you can take your complaint to the FOS or to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO and FOS cannot award compensation, but their decisions are influential should you pursue a claim at Court against the company that lost your data.  

Should you have any questions regarding the contents of this blog or believe you have indeed been the victim of a data breach, please contact Mark Forman, head of the Civil Litigation team at MSB Solicitors, on markforman@msbsolicitors.co.uk. 

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