In 2017, it was revealed that up to 400,000 people in the UK might have had their personal details stolen when Equifax was hacked by cybercriminals. Equifax is the second-largest credit reference agency in the UK, and it is used by a wide range of companies to decide whether to issue mortgages, loans, store cards, credit cards, etc. So, even if you are not an Equifax customer, it could still hold a wealth of information about you. That is why, when the Equifax data hack was revealed, it was big news.
At the time, it was reported that the stolen data included names, address, dates of birth, and credit card numbers. However, after extensive investigations, the sheer scale of the Equifax breach went from bad to worse, with more information stolen than initially reported. In fact, despite initial denials from Equifax, the ICO (the UK’s data protection regulator) subsequently said that up to 15 million UK individuals could have had their details breached.
In response, the ICO issued Equifax Ltd with a £500,000 fine for failing to protect personal data (this was the maximum fine possible at that time and before GDRR). However, while the ICO has the power to impose fines, it does not award compensation, so this money will not be given to victims of the breach.
The only way to get Equifax data breach compensation is to make a claim. And, with this case now underway, you should find out if you can claim to ensure you do not miss out on any compensation owed.
Who is affected by the Equifax data hack?
Equifax still has not informed everyone who had their data privacy rights violated.
- If you used an Equifax security product (e.g. credit monitoring services etc.) between 2015 and 2017, your data could be at risk.
- Even if you never used Equifax directly, your data could be compromised if you applied for a loan, mortgage, etc. (if the provider used Equifax to check your credit score).
The good news is that Equifax knows exactly who was impacted by this breach. And it is legally required to tell you if your data was involved. To exercise this right, all you must do is ask for a copy of this information. To make the process is as straightforward as possible, Keller Lenkner UK can find this out for you (with no cost and no obligation to proceed).
How can cybercriminals use your private data?
With enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. Signs that criminals have used your data following a data breach include:
- Bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
- Unfamiliar transactions from your account
- An unexpected dip in your credit score
- Unsolicited communications that ask for your personal data or refer you to a web page asking for personal data.
Crucially, it does not matter if you haven’t lost out financially as a result of the Equifax hack. A personal data breach is a modern version of being burgled, and following such theft, you are entitled to claim compensation.
Holding Equifax to account
While Equifax was the victim of a cyber-attack, it was responsible for protecting your personal information. So you have a right to claim compensation. Especially as the ICO found Equifax’s data security processes to be woefully inadequate.
To make matters worse, not only did Equifax fail to come clean straight away about the scale of the breach, but a former Equifax executive also sold his shares in the company before the news of the hack went public. Earning roughly $1 million in the process, the executive was set to profit at the expense of millions of customers. He has since been charged with insider trading, but his actions reflect a disdain for consumer data protection that is all too common.
With data breaches on the rise, something must be done to make big companies accountable for their security failures, so claiming compensation is not just in your best interests, it could be the only way to ensure that businesses everywhere implement more secure processes.
What should you do now?
Keller Lenkner UK is running a group litigation action for everyone who has had their data accessed in the Equifax data breach. To become part of this group action, we need you to register with us. While each case is different, we expect to claim £1,000 to £2,500 per person. And, to ensure your access to justice, we provide no-win, no-fee funding arrangements.
Don’t wait until it is too late, sign up today.