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The dangers of identity theft
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The dangers of identity theft

Identity theft commonly describes a situation in which a person’s information is stolen by criminals in a way that gives them insight into that person’s identity, and how this can then be copied or abused. The dangers of identity theft can be severe and long-lasting, which is why data breaches can be so harmful to those affected when it comes to this kind of information being exposed.

If a third-party organisation fails to protect your private information, resulting in data exposure, you may become vulnerable to a number of security risks as a consequence of this negligence. No one should have to face these dangers, as every UK citizen is entitled to sufficient data protection in accordance with the law. This means that those affected by data breaches could be eligible to claim compensation to achieve justice for the harm caused.

If you have suffered from identity theft or any other security risk due to a data breach, you can contact our specialist data breach team for advice on your potential claim.

How can identity theft happen?

With cybercrime growing in strength, personal data is a highly valuable commodity. Many cybercriminals now target individuals and organisations with the specific aim of accessing private information which they can then use for a range of criminal purposes.

The means by which criminals commit identity theft can vary. They may initiate cyberattacks, such as ransomware attacks or phishing scams, but they may also be able to scan through online company servers for potential vulnerabilities, enabling them to steal personal data more covertly (and sometimes more easily). In fact, companies may do all the work for the cybercriminals, particularly when employee errors come into play. For example, some data breaches involve the accidental online publication of private information, thrusting it into the public domain with a few clicks away from being easily abused.

The dangers of identity theft

One of the potential dangers of identity theft that can be most commonly provoked is when a fraudster decides to use stolen information for identity fraud. Exposed personal details could give criminals enough information to impersonate their victims, often with the prospect of financial gain.

To give some examples, identity fraud could allow criminals to:

  • take over personal accounts, including bank accounts;
  • make transactions or purchases in their victims’ names;
  • open new bank accounts using the exposed details;
  • request real identity documents (e.g. passports).

In the long term, there can be a number of consequences to these crimes that can go beyond financial loss. The dangers of identity theft and identity fraud could also include a bad credit rating, tax debt and perhaps even a criminal record, which could all arise as a result of crimes carried out by the fraudster in your name.

Can I make a data breach compensation claim?

Although it can be hard to trace the culprits of identity theft, the victims may be able to make a compensation claim if their personal information was exposed as a result of a data breach. This is because the data controller that failed to protect your information may be indirectly responsible for the identity theft which subsequently occurred.

In terms of data breach compensation amounts, UK victims could be entitled to thousands of pounds, either compensating them for distress, financial losses and expenses, or both. To date, we have recovered over £1m in damages for our clients, which goes to show how much could be claimed.

To find out more about making a compensation claim, you can contact our team for free, no-obligation advice

The content of this post/page was considered accurate at the time of the original posting and/or at the time of any posted revision. The content of this page may, therefore, be out of date. The information contained within this page does not constitute legal advice. Any reliance you place on the information contained within this page is done so at your own risk.

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