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PSNI Data Breach – What Happened And What Should You Do?

PSNI Data Breach – What Happened And What Should You Do?

In August 2023, the Police Service Of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced that they’d had a data breach. It’s said to have exposed the personal information of every member of staff, from the highest level to the bottom. Understandably, it’s caused a lot of concern.

Below, we take a look at what happened and what those affected can do to secure their position, as well as take legal action.

psni data breach

What Is The PSNI Data Breach And How Did It Happen?

The PSNI announced in a press conference on 8th August 2023 that they’d suffered a major data breach affecting all members of staff.

It came about as a result of a routine Freedom of Information (FOI) request. A member of staff responded to a question about police staffing numbers and ranks and grades. As part of that response, they attached a spreadsheet which contained the personal information of every member of staff.

The types of data exposed include:

  • First name initials
  • Grade and ranking
  • Surnames
  • Work locations
  • Department employed in

The data was uploaded to an FOI directory website called What Do They Know. It remained live for a number of hours before it was removed.

It’s unclear how many people accessed the PSNI spreadsheet, but regardless, the breach has caused great concern to many.

You can find out more in the PSNI’s statement on the data breach.

Have You Received A Data Breach Notification Letter?

If you’re employed by the PSNI, whether as an officer or other staff member, you may have received a letter or email in relation to the data breach. This is formally known as a data breach notification letter.

This letter should detail what personal information was exposed and the steps the PSNI is taking to secure it.

If you haven’t received a letter or notification yet, you should contact the PSNI.

PSNI Staff Could Claim Compensation For The Data Breach

The PSNI data breach has the potential to cause significant distress for many employees. Already officers and staff members have publicly commented that they’re frightened for the safety and well-being of their families.

If you’re experiencing distress, worry, anxiety or depression as a result of the PSNI data breach, a compensation claim could be a viable option. The force has admitted fault for what has happened, so it’s worth getting legal advice by speaking with a solicitor about your situation.

Why Is The PSNI Data Breach So Significant?

The PSNI data breach is a significant security issue. The force has seen attacks on members of its staff by republican paramilitaries, with one incident occurring as recently as February 2023 when an officer was shot.

With the risk of data on PSNI officers and staff getting into the wrong hands, people have understandably found the news distressing.

What Should You Do If You’re A PSNI Staff Member?

If you’re employed by the PSNI and want to know what to do, it can be helpful to first reach out to your employer.

You should have received a data breach notification letter or email which should confirm that you were impacted and what data has been exposed.

If you haven’t received this correspondence, get in touch with the PSNI.

It’s important to keep an eye out for any suspicious phone calls, text messages or emails. If you receive anything, report it right away.

Also, keep an eye on your bank accounts in case there are any attempts at fraud. If you notice anything suspicious, speak with your bank right away.

And you can get legal advice on what’s happened. In some cases, if you’ve suffered damage to your finances or mental health, you could claim compensation via a data breach claim against the PSNI.

Learn More About Data Breaches

Below, you can learn more about data breaches as well as the PSNI data breach incident:

August 9, 20236 commentsRead More
Capita Suffers Significant Data Breaches

Capita Suffers Significant Data Breaches

In early 2023, Capita suffered two significant data breaches which have affected a significant number of people—potentially over 100,000. 

In this guide, we examine what happened and what data was impacted. We also offer some practical advice on what you can do if you’ve been impacted by the Capita data breach, such as contacting your bank and taking legal action in the form of claiming compensation. 

First, let’s take a look at the Capita organisation and the service it provides.

capita data breach compensation

Who Is Capita?

Most people may recognise Capita as an insurance company, however, that is just one function it serves. In the case of the data breaches that affected it, the company offers an outsourcing service for third party firms to help manage their pension schemes.

Capita has a significant number of clients, some of which have thousands of employees. 

Let’s take a look at what happened with the data breaches. 

About The Capita Data Breaches

Capita has been struck by two data breaches in 2023. 

The first breach occurred in March 2023. This incident arose as a result of a cyber attack which targeted Capita’s systems. The successful attack led to criminals accessing the personal data of employees of around 90 organisations. Those that have confirmed they’ve been affected include:

At the time, the hack led to a major outage at the outsourcer, but the damage wasn’t clear until some time later when individuals started making complaints about their data. It spurred the Pensions Regulator to write to over 300 pension funds to ask them to check on their data. 

Things got worse for Capita in May 2023 when another data breach came to light. This one wasn’t a cyber attack but rather an issue relating to human error. 

In this incident, it transpired that data files relating to people’s benefits were left on publicly accessible storage. It only came to light when a number of councils contacted Capita to say they thought data had been accessed without consent.

What Data Was Impacted?

When a data breach occurs, it can impact people in different ways depending on the types of personal information exposed. For example, if banking information is accessed, it could see money taken from individual accounts or efforts made to steal the person’s identity or take out credit in their name. Such incidents can obviously cause financial loss and damage. 

If the exposed data relates to the likes of names, email addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth, it can cause damage of a different kind, namely psychological. Knowing that criminals know these details about you can cause distress, worry and anxiety.

Action Fraud understands that different organisations impacted by the Capita data breach have confirmed what data has been impacted precisely. The USS, for example, has confirmed that title, initials, names, dates of birth, National Insurance numbers, USS member numbers and retirement dates have all been exposed. 

What Should You Do If Affected By The Breach?

If you’ve been impacted by the Capita data breach, you should receive some form of correspondence from the organisation that holds your data—this correspondence would not come from Capita directly; they’re classed as a data processor and conduct data handling tasks on behalf of the organisation you hold your pension with. 

This letter or email is commonly referred to as a data breach notification letter.

Contained within this correspondence, you may discover confirmation of the impact on your personal information due to the cyber attack or the breach by Capita. The letter should provide details regarding the specific data suspected to have been compromised.

This particular letter or email holds considerable significance should you decide to delve further into potential courses of action, particularly with regard to a data breach claim. It serves as crucial evidence, validating the fact that your information has indeed been affected.

In the event that you opt to make a compensation claim concerning the Capita data breach, the communication received from your employer will prove invaluable in assisting a solicitor when determining their ability to assist you.

If you haven’t received such a letter and find yourself desiring confirmation from your employer, you retain the option to correspond with them, penning a letter requesting an investigation into the matter.

Additionally, it would be wise to maintain a vigilant watch over your bank accounts, credit rating, and online profiles in order to identify any signs of suspicious or fraudulent activity. Should an influx of unwanted messages, calls, or emails also besiege you, it could serve as an indication that your personal data has been exposed.

Under such circumstances, it is imperative to promptly contact your bank and undertake the necessary measures to update your passwords.

Recently, the PSNI suffered a data breach, which you can read all about here. This arose out of human error, so is a little different to the Capita cyber attack.

July 6, 202315 commentsRead More
What Is The Zellis Cyber Attack?

What Is The Zellis Cyber Attack?

The Zellis cyber attack and data breach hit news headlines recently. The payroll support company boasts several large clients, including DHL, Boots, the BBC and British Airways. All of these companies are said to have been affected, leaving the data of their employees exposed.

Below, we look at how the Zellis data breach happened, which companies were impacted, and the types of information exposed. 

We also look at what steps you can take if you’ve been impacted by the data breach. 

zellis cyber attack

What Is The Zellis Cyber Attack And Data Breach?

Zellis is a company that provides payroll support to numerous organisations in the UK. To help them provide this service, they use a file transfer tool called MOVEit. 

MOVEit was targeted by cybercriminals who exploited a vulnerability in its software. This allowed them to access the system and ultimately the massive amounts of data that was being transferred over its network. This resulted in the personal data of thousands of people being stolen

In response to the data breach, Zellis informed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), who have both opened their own investigations. 

What Companies Were Impacted?

The Zellis data breach is said to have impacted the workforce of a number of its clients, some of which have tens of thousands of employees. 

The companies that have confirmed that they’ve been impacted include:

  • DHL – the delivery company has written to its staff confirming they’ve been impacted by the breach
  • Boots – the healthcare and pharmacy company has also confirmed its staff have been impacted
  • British Airways
  • The BBC

What Data Was Affected?

A range of different types of personal data is said to have been impacted by the Zellis cyber attack. This includes identifying information, like:

  • Names, both first and surname
  • Addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • National Insurance numbers
  • Bank details

It’s arguably the latter that is the most concerning for individuals. However, with enough other data, like names and National Insurance numbers, it’s possible for criminals to steal the identity of people, which can lead to them making purchases or taking out credit in their name. 

What To Do If You Are Impacted By The Zellis Data Breach

If you currently work, or have in the past, for any of the companies outlined above, you may have received a letter or email about the Zellis data breach. This is otherwise known as a data breach notification letter. 

This letter may confirm that you have been impacted by the cyber attack on Zellis and sets out the personal data that they suspect has been affected. 

This letter or email is very important if you decide to explore the possibility of taking further action, particularly a data breach claim. It serves as evidence, confirming that you have been impacted. 

If you wanted to take legal action over the Zellis data breach, a compensation claim could be possible. The correspondence received from your employer will prove very useful in helping a data breach solicitor work out if they can help you or not. 

If you haven’t received a letter and want confirmation from your employer, you can write to them and ask them to investigate. 

You should also keep a close eye on your bank accounts, credit rating, and online accounts to see if there has been any suspicious or fraudulent activity. If you also start receiving lots of unwanted texts, calls or emails, it could also be a sign that your data has been exposed. 

In this case, you should contact your bank without delay and look to change your passwords. 

How Do Cyber Attacks Happen?

The most common form of data breach is that caused by human error. This can involve anything from sending an email to the wrong person, failing to update addresses on systems, failing to redact confidential information, and devices containing personal data being lost or stolen. 

Data breaches can also occur as a result of cyber attacks. This is when criminals seek to hack firewalls and security software (like in the Zellis data breach case) or they try to infect systems with viruses that allow them to gain control. A common way this happens is via phishing attempts. This is where cybercriminals create imitations of websites, emails or text messages that appear real, all with the aim of trying to trick the person. 

It’s important to keep an eye out for any suspicious messages or calls and to double-check the like of website URLs, email addresses and phone numbers to ensure they’re from official sources. 

July 4, 20235 commentsRead More
Medical Negligence Claims Fraud

Medical Negligence Claims Fraud

Insurance fraud of any kind has by some people been identified as victimless crime as there is no victim, as such suffering the consequences, however this is untrue especially when fraud is combined together with the health and medical industry. Insurance fraud has took on a whole new perspective as in the past it was based around insurance companies being scammed whereas now people are actually being punished through such fraudulent schemes, not only are people’s insurance premiums dramatically increasing due to the fact of the amount of insurance claims being put through but innocent drivers are being put in the firing line as they are being blamed for accidents which was the others sides fault or people are setting up accidents so other people are at blame. Not only is this increasing disturbing and frightening but also very dangerous for car users.

Medical Negligence FraudFraud within the medical negligence claims area is rare but not as much as it was in the past however there still is not a lot of room for victims of medical negligence to create fraudulent claims nor is it clear whether patients can claim fraudulent medical negligence as much of the work done in medicine is highly documented and recorded for the sake of the patient as much as to keep efficient hospital records. It is entirely possible for victims of medical negligence to slightly exaggerate the consequences of the negligence but most that are involved in medical negligence suffer greatly anyway. It is possible for victims to state greater pain amounts or psychological injuries that never took place and are difficult to verify. If you believe that you have been a victim of medical negligence and you have a valid claim then you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim. The medical negligence process must not be taken lightly especially if the negligence suffered is quite severe and it is vital to always be prepared. Medical negligence is the omission or act of a health care worker that a service that has been provided is below the standard expected and as a result such a service has caused a victim to experience further ill health as a direct consequence.

In America fraud and the health care industry is not so rare as medical insurance is acquired for people to receive medical treatment, if people do not have the funds to have medical insurance then it is up to the Government to provide sufficient health care treatment and this leaves room for the health care provider to make fraudulent health care claims.

Health Care Industry and Fraudulent Activity

The National Audit Office has produced figures which show that patient fraud was costs the NHS around 112 million yearly and the figures are only estimated and it has been stated that another 81 million of the NHS funding was said to be at risk of such fraud. The estimated patient fraud is guaranteed to rise as it has not been taken into consideration the amount of fraud committed by contractors and NHS Trusts. The NHS Counter Fraud Service has estimated these figures after an investigation took place in to actions of fraud within the NHS.

Fraud and embezzlement within the NHS pose risks and consequences to patients. The Health Care and Social Act of 2012 was set to implement changes to how the NHS worked but did not adequately address the area of fraud correctly as it is vital so that fraudulent activity is to be policed correctly and new structures to combat such fraud to be implemented which critics have said has not happened. It has also been brought to attention that resources to address fraud functions have been decreased allowing such fraud within the NHS to take place. In turn this may have a huge effect on patient care and treatment as massive some of monies may be lost through fraudulent activity.

It has been made clear that through new government policies connected to the NHS that due to the suggestions and even increase of private medical firms to deliver NHS services there is very likely to be an increase in fraudulent activity. As more health services are being contracted out the government has been advised that fraudulent activity is likely to increase. The ‘principal-agent’ theory clearly states that any person or organisation contracted out is more than likely self-interested and only aimed to concentrate on their own business needs and gaining maximum profit.

Types of Medical Negligence and Fraud

Fraud can take place within the health industry within a number of ways these may include;

  • A health care worker stating that they have the correct qualifications and training for the job when in reality then are not trained to the standard they state.
  • A doctor from a foreign country may show the correct qualifications on paper but they may have been forged in some way so extra care and attention must be taken when reviewing paper work.
  • Fraud may take place within the cosmetic industry in as much as cosmetic providers stating they are medically trained to carry out work such as Botox and filler injections but in reality do not have any medical training.
  • Beauty salon and beauty spa may pose qualified personal but the staff do not have the training to accompany it.

More insight to medical negligence can be found at .gov and you can gain government insight in to medical negligence and the processes involved.

 

October 6, 20160 commentsRead More
What You Need To Know About Car Accident Crash for Cash Scams

What You Need To Know About Car Accident Crash for Cash Scams

Car accident claim scam adviceThe Insurance Fraud Bureau issued a report recently stating that Crash for Cash scams cost the UK approximately £340m every year. The increasing incidence of Crash for Cash scams is alarming for motorists around the UK. If you are the unfortunate victim of one these scams, even if your insurance company covers the payout, you still end up paying for it because you pay an increased premium when you renew your insurance.

 

 

The Civil Liability Act of 2018 reform changes were expected to lessen the number and the expense of minor road accident collisions (RTA) on or after 31st May 2021. The changes were likewise expected to stop the various overstated or fraudulent claims that were being made which unavoidably were causing Insurance charges to rise.

There has been some new law changes in the amount of compensation victims can receive for whiplash. There has been comments that these new law changes could reduce the amount of crash for cash incidents. If you have been the victim of a crash for cash accident and as a result you are injured you will need legal advice. You could also calculate the amount of compensation you could receive you could use this tool to calculate how much compensation you could be entitled to. These new standards presented tariff damages for RTA whiplash injuries; expanding the cut off on material cases to the little cases track from £1,000 to £5,000. For certain special cases being made for weak street clients, for example cyclists and pedestrians, whose small claims cases limit stays at £1,000.

The New Ministry of justice portal was designed to make it easy for injured road accident victims to claim compensation without the need of a solicitor however a lot of solicitors disagree. Many lawyers in the UK have campaigned against this new system and said it takes away injured victims access to justice away by them not getting legal advice from a solicitor.

 

Statistics taken in 2021 from the new reforms

Its understood that only one in ten consumers attempted to use the new MOJ RTA portal system without the support of a lawyer or other professional representative.

So What Exactly Is A Car Accident Crash For Cash Scam?

Most people in the UK are aware that they are entitled to claim compensation if they are injured in a car accident or vehicle accident that is due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence. While this is great news for innocent road accident victims, there are a few people who try and game the system to make some quick, easy cash.  A Crash for Cash scam is one in which a criminal orchestrates an accident with the specific intention of making a fraudulent insurance claim. If you have been the victim of a car accident claim scam and as a result you are injured you are entitled to claim personal injury to find out https://www.legalexpert.co.uk/how-to-claim/how-much-compensation-for-car-accident-claims/. Alot of these crash for cash scams are dangerous and can cause injuries to the innocent victims involved.

There are several different ways that they do this. Some of the more common scenarios include:

  • In an induced scenario, the driver slams the brakes suddenly for no apparent reason, causing the car behind to crash into them with full force. They then insist that it was the fault of the driver in the car behind them and immediately provide the victim with the details of their insurance company.
  • In another induced scenario, the driver flashes their indicator light at a junction to tell the car behind that they are letting them go and then deliberately crashes into the car.
  • In a staged car accident claim, two accomplices crash their cars into one another or the fraudster damages their car with a sledgehammer in such a way that it looks like it was damaged in an accident.
  • Some people submit false claims for accidents that did not even happen.

Fraudsters who are planning a Crash for Cash scam do not just pick out their victims at random. They look for drivers who are more likely to have full insurance but less likely to take a stand or fight back when accused of causing the car accident. Elderly men and women and mothers with children are at highest risk of becoming victims to this scam.

How A Crash For Cash Scam Affects You

If you happen to be a victim of a Crash for Cash scam, the driver will insist that the accident was your fault and within a couple of weeks you can expect to hear from your insurance company with details of the other driver’s claims. More often than not, the claim will be highly exaggerated with inflated expenses for injuries, usually severe spinal injuries or whiplash as well as car repair and car hire expenses.

Yes, you will feel a sense of relief in knowing that your insurance company will fight or settle the claim on your behalf, but ultimately you will pay the price. After any accident, you forfeit your ‘no claim’ bonus, which means you end up paying a higher premium when you renew your insurance.

Know The Signs

Given the increasing rate of Crash for Cash scams in the UK, it does pay to know the potential signs and be vigilant while driving. Watch for these signs:

  • The driver in the car ahead of you is unpredictable and driving erratically. The driver may be driving unusually slowly or speeds up and slows down for no apparent reason.
  • The brake lights of the car ahead of you are not working. Fraudsters planning on pulling one of these scams often disable their brake lights so it catches you off-guard when they brake suddenly and a crash is inevitable.
  • The driver or the passengers in the car ahead of you seem to be paying more attention to your vehicle rather than the road ahead of them.
  • The car ahead of you indicates that they are allowing you to pull out but you see no clear indication that they are actually turning. Use your judgment and slow down a bit to be sure that the car is actually turning before you overtake.

https://youtu.be/0Efj7aqYu4o

 

What To Do If You Are Victim Of A Cash For Crash Scam

Despite taking all precautions, you could still end up as a victim. Here are a few things you should and should not do if you suspect that you are a victim of a scam:

  • Insist on calling the police to sort things out. In most cases the offending driver will prefer to let you go and will back off.
  • Never admit liability for anything, no matter what the other driver says.
  • Do not challenge the driver directly, as this could put you in an even more dangerous situation, especially if the area is fairly deserted.
  • Make a record of what happened. Write down notes in your note book. Get photographs of the scene. Do this carefully, especially if you are using your phone as you do not want to get that snatched away, leaving you even more vulnerable.
  •  Obtain the contact information of independent witnesses. Be very careful who to approach though as very often fraudsters operate in gangs and will have some of their own members around to pose as witnesses.
  • As soon as you manage to get away from the scene, inform your insurance company about the incident. Make sure you tell them about your suspicions.
  • Report the incident to the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

 

It is always a good idea to get free legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer after you have been in any road accident, especially if you suspect that you have been the victim of a Crash for Cash scam. If you were injured in the accident, a personal injury lawyer will help you file a claim for compensation. If you were not injured, a personal injury lawyer will give you expert legal advice about your rights and your next course of action.

 

As an added level of security and to have a solid eye-witness to support their innocence many drivers in the UK are choosing to install dashboard video cameras that capture everything in the event of any accident,

 

Helpful Links

The Civil Liability Act of 2018 reform changes were expected to lessen the number and the expense of minor road accident collisions (RTA) on or after 31st May 2021. The changes were likewise expected to stop the various overstated or fraudulent claims that were being made which unavoidably were causing Insurance charges to rise.

There has been some new law changes in the amount of compensation victims can receive for whiplash. There has been comments that these new law changes could reduce the amount of crash for cash incidents. If you have been the victim of a crash for cash accident and as a result you are injured you will need legal advice. You could also calculate the amount of compensation you could receive by visiting this free compensation calculator tool for more information. These new standards presented tariff damages for RTA whiplash injuries; expanding the cut off on material cases to the little cases track from £1,000 to £5,000. For certain special cases being made for weak street clients, for example cyclists and pedestrians, whose small claims cases limit stays at £1,000.

The New Ministry of justice portal was designed to make it easy for injured road accident victims to claim compensation without the need of a solicitor however a lot of solicitors disagree. Many lawyers in the UK have campaigned against this new system and said it takes away injured victims access to justice away by them not getting legal advice from a solicitor.

 

Statistics taken in 2021 from the new reforms

Government Whiplash Reforms

October 5, 20160 commentsRead More
Fraud Invades the Internet

Fraud Invades the Internet

We’re taught at a young age to be mindful of who we interact with. While the world is full of good people, there are some who aim to capitalize on the naivete’ of others. Criminals pose as friends or salesmen, they gain your trust, and then they take steps to profit from your misfortune. These kinds of actions used to be limited to phone calls or door-to-door schemes. Now they take place online. Online fraud makes up a majority of the fraud you’ll see today. Criminals frequently cruise social networking sites to find favourable fraud victims. Residents of the U.K. should be vigilant as fraudulent schemes continue to materialize.

Remember that if something seems to good to be true, then it probably is. It is easy for people to mask their true identity online, and you have to take steps to protect your identity from those people. People who commit fraud are selfish people. Their goal is to obtain money at the expense of others. A computer gives a criminal a mask to hide behind. Sometimes networks of criminals conduct phishing schoemes in order to gain access to personal information. Once someone has your personal information, such as; social security number, full name, birthdate, family information or bank information, they can use it to open new accounts.

Always pay close attention to who you’re talking to, whether they are online or in person. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the better off you will be in the long-run.

July 22, 20140 commentsRead More