In today’s digital age, the risk of identity theft has become a growing concern for individuals and businesses alike. Identity theft can have devastating consequences for victims, ranging from financial loss to damage to their credit score and reputation. One of the ways in which identity theft can occur is through a data breach, where cybercriminals gain access to sensitive personal information. If you have been a victim of identity theft as a result of a wrongful exposure of your personal data, you may be entitled to data breach compensation for identity theft. However, the process of claiming compensation can be complex and confusing, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system. This is where our guide comes in.
In this guide, we will explore the topic of how to claim data breach compensation for identity theft. We will explain who could be eligible to claim, the types of damages that can be claimed, and how a solicitor could help you with the process.
If you have been a victim of identity theft following a data breach, it is important to act quickly. Read on to learn more, or contact an advisor to ask questions about your case.
What Is Identity Theft After A Data Breach?
Identity theft after a data breach occurs when personal information, such as name, address, and financial details, is stolen or compromised. This stolen data can then be used to impersonate the victim, open fraudulent accounts, or make unauthorised purchases, resulting in financial loss and damage to their credit score and reputation.
In the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018 places strict obligations on organisations to safeguard personal data and prevent data breaches. If an organisation fails to meet these obligations, acting wrongfully, and a data breach occurs, victims of identity theft may be eligible to claim compensation.
To be eligible for compensation, victims must show that the data breach was the result of an organisation’s negligence or wrongful failure to comply with the Data Protection Act. They must also demonstrate that they have suffered financial loss or damage to their credit score or mental health as a result of the identity theft.
Claiming compensation for identity theft after a data breach can be a complex and daunting process. It is important to seek the advice of a solicitor specialising in data breach claims to guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
How Long Do I Have To Claim Data Breach Compensation For Identity Theft?
The Limitation Act 1980 sets out time limits for bringing legal claims, including data breach compensation claims. Generally, a victim of a data breach has six years from the date of the breach to make a claim for compensation.
It is also worth noting that while there is a six-year time limit to bring a claim in some cases if a public body or human rights are involved, the period for claiming might be shorter. It is advisable to take action as soon as possible after a data breach occurs. This is because evidence can be lost or destroyed over time, making it more difficult to prove the breach and the resulting harm.
Suppose you believe you have a claim for data breach compensation. In that case, it is important to seek the advice of a solicitor as soon as possible to determine the time limit that applies to your case and to ensure that your claim is made in a timely manner.
How Could Someone Breach My Personal Data?
There are several ways in which a company could breach your data, and each one can have serious consequences for your personal information and security.
One common cause of data breaches is through hacking or cyber attacks, where cybercriminals gain unauthorised access to a company’s systems or networks. This can result in the theft of sensitive information, such as your name, address, phone number, email address, passwords, and financial details.
Another cause of data breaches is through employee error or negligence. For example, an employee may accidentally send sensitive information to the wrong person, or fail to properly secure a device containing personal data.
If your data is breached, the information that could be exposed can include your full name, address, date of birth, email address, phone number, login credentials, financial details, and other sensitive personal information. This information can then be used to commit identity theft, fraud, and other types of cybercrime.
It is important to be vigilant about the security of your personal data and take steps to protect it, such as using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious about sharing personal information online. Should a data controller wrongfully breach your personal data, you could have the right to claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Please call an advisor for a free case check. They could advise you on the next steps you could take.
Spotting The Signs Of Identity Theft
Identity theft can have serious consequences for your financial wellbeing and credit score, so it’s important to be aware of the signs of identity theft so that you can take action quickly if you suspect that you have been a victim. Here are some common signs of identity theft to look out for:
- Unusual transactions on your bank or credit card statements that you don’t recognise.
- Missing mail or bills that don’t arrive on time, which could indicate that someone has changed your address.
- Receiving calls or letters from debt collectors for debts that you don’t owe.
- Being refused credit or loans, despite having a good credit history.
- Unfamiliar accounts or charges appearing on your credit report.
- Noticing that your social media or email accounts have been hacked or compromised.
- Receiving notifications from your bank or credit card provider about suspicious activity on your account.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is important to take action immediately. This may include reporting the fraud to your bank or credit card provider, contacting credit reference agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit report, and reporting the crime to the police. Seeking the advice of a solicitor who specialises in identity theft and data breach claims can also be helpful in protecting your rights and recovering any losses you have suffered.
What Compensation Can I Claim After Identity Theft From A Data Breach?
If you have been a victim of identity theft as a result of a data breach, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the damages you have suffered. The damages you can claim will depend on the nature and extent of the harm you have experienced, but may include:
- Financial losses, such as unauthorised charges, loans, or bank transfers.
- Expenses incurred in rectifying the identity theft, such as legal fees, credit monitoring, and credit report fees.
- Damage to your credit score or credit history, which can affect your ability to obtain credit or loans in the future.
- Emotional distress or anxiety caused by the identity theft and any resulting consequences.
Calculating Damages For Emotional Distress
The Judicial College Guidelines are used by courts in England and Wales to assess the appropriate level of compensation for a range of personal injuries, including psychological injuries.
In data breach claims, the Judicial College Guidelines can be used to help identify appropriate compensation levels for psychological injuries that result from the breach. For example, a victim who experiences anxiety, stress, or depression as a result of the breach may be entitled to compensation for the psychological harm they have suffered. The 2022 guidelines for psychological injuries can be seen below.
- Severe injuries- £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe injuries – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate injuries- £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe injuries – £1,540 to £5,860
These only provide rough guidance, however. A solicitor who specialises in data breach claims can help you determine the level of compensation you may be entitled to based on the psychological harm you have suffered and the guidelines’ applicable categories.
No Win No Fee Data Breach Compensation Claims For Identity Theft Victims
A No Win No Fee arrangement is a binding agreement between a solicitor and a client, whereby the solicitor agrees to represent the client in their data breach claim and only receives payment if the claim is successful.
In other words, the client will not be responsible for any legal fees if the case is unsuccessful. If the case is successful, the solicitor will take a percentage of the compensation awarded, which is typically capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order at a maximum of 25%.
Why not seek the advice of an advisor who can help assess your eligibility to make a claim and connect you with a specialist solicitor operating on a No Win No Fee basis.
They will manage all aspects of the legal process on your behalf, from gathering evidence to negotiating with the responsible organisation. Should your claim not result in compensation, you would not owe the solicitor for their work.
In the unfortunate event that you have been a victim of a data breach, it is important to act quickly and seek the assistance of an experienced solicitor. Contact us today to speak with an advisor and begin the process of making a data breach claim.