Guides & articles How Can You Protect Yourself From Further Harm Following a Data Breach?

Peter Hammond I am a solicitor who has specialised in data breach compensation claims.
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Being a victim of a data breach can often mean you are more vulnerable to fraudulent attacks by cybercriminals. However, if your personal data has been compromised in a breach there are things you can do to protect yourself from further incidents. Knowing the steps to take when you have been part of a breach could mean you don’t have to face any further repercussions or stress after already having your information taken.

Protecting your finances

If you know your financial details have been accessed during a data breach the first thing you should do is contact your bank and or credit card provider. Alerting them to the situation will mean you can stop your transactions and possibly change your details quickly and easily should there be any purchases made with your details.

This leads into the next step you should take, checking all your bills and emails for goods or services you know you have not ordered and check your bank account for unfamiliar transactions. Naturally, if you do see any transactions or orders you don’t recognise you should contact your bank or credit card provider straight away.

It is also important to keep an eye on your credit score, as if a cybercriminal takes out credit in your name without you noticing another way, there could be a noticeable dip in your credit score. You can contact credit reference agencies like Experian or Equifax to check credit has not been taken out in your name that wasn’t you.

Extracting further financial information can be a significant threat when it comes to the aftermath of a data breach, so it is important to know what to look out for to avoid them. You should never provide your PIN, full password, or any other information that someone asks you for, even if they claim to be from your bank. Also, you shouldn’t feel pressured into moving money into another account for fraud reasons.

Your real bank would not ask you for these details or complete a transaction of this nature. It is vital that you don’t reveal any personal details until you have confirmed the person’s true identity and they are from the company they say they are.

Phishing attacks and further attempts to get your information

Even if your financial details were not accessed during the data breach, criminals can use the personal information they do have to try and pose as a company you know to get more information from you to potentially commit fraud. Below are some steps and key points to keep in mind when your data has been breached.

  •       If the organisation that breached your data provides security instructions you should follow them
  •       Don’t click on any links or downloads from emails or text messages that look suspicious, and you don’t know
  •       Delete any old accounts that you don’t use anymore to limit your data exposure
  •       Never assume an email or phone call is authentic just because the person has your contact details
  •       Stay alert and be careful who you trust, criminals can often use scare tactics in an attempt to trick you into revealing your security details
  •       Even if you recognise a name or number from someone contacting you it might not be genuine
  •       Don’t feel rushed or pressured into a making a decision, a trustworthy organisation would not force you to make a financial transaction straight away
  •       Trust you gut instincts and question anything that does not feel right to you
  •       Contact your bank on a number you know and trust to check if a communication was genuine
  •       Be cautious of communications that refer you to a web page asking you to input personal data
  •       Review your online privacy and security settings

 

Secure data protection practices to prevent further threats

There are ways in which you can keep your data more secure following a data breach to stop the situation escalating and more threats of cyber attacks being able to occur. These include:

  •       Changing your passwords regularly and using a strong, different password for every account (a password manager can you help with this)
  •       Keeping your internet security software up to date to protect your devices
  •       Registering with the Cifas protective registration service to slow down credit applications that could have been made in your name

 

If you think your data has been involved in a breach and you want to make a claim for compensation contact us today. We can put you in touch with expert solicitors that can confirm whether you have a valid claim that is worth pursuing. Even if the breach has not led to any direct financial losses you are still entitled to make a claim for any distress having your data breached has caused you. 

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