Being the victim of a data breach can be incredibly stressful, especially if you aren’t sure what steps to take next. That’s where this post should come in handy…
Unfortunately, data breaches are practically daily across multiple industries and sectors. As organizations hold mass amounts of data, it’s only natural that there is an inherent risk that said data could fall into the wrong hands.
The NHS is one such organization that has been found guilty of exposing data belonging to members of the public or employees on multiple occasions. Given that the data the NHS holds can be incredibly personal and sensitive, data breaches in the NHS can have severe consequences.
If the NHS has breached your data, there are several steps you should take to minimize the potential impact on your life. We’ll be discussing those steps in the following post, so be sure to read on below to find out more.
7 Steps You Should Take if You are the Victim of an NHS Data Breach
1. Monitor Your Emails Closely
Suppose you’re the victim of an NHS data breach. In that case, it’s more than possible that any unauthorized parties who have accessed your personal information will try to extract further information from you by using scam emails.
If you have been notified that your data has been compromised, make sure you closely monitor any emails you receive, even if they appear to be from a reputable source or the NHS themselves. These could be sophisticated ‘phishing’ attacks that are designed to get you to reveal sensitive information, such as your bank account details.
On that same note, you should always be wary of any links in these emails. If an organization requires you to take a certain action, they will usually direct you to head to their website directly, rather than following a link sent in an email.
2. Freeze Your Credit
If you know that your personal details have been revealed in an NHS data breach, you may not be certain what information is no longer secure – including your bank or credit card details.
This is why it’s a good idea to speak to your bank or credit card company as soon as possible to let them know that your data may have been compromised. They can then cancel any certain cards, freeze your credit, and monitor any large transactions that may be fraudulent.
Even after this, you should also carefully check any statements yourself to ensure there aren’t any suspicious transactions.
3. Install Internet Security Software
If the NHS has breached your data, your chances of becoming a victim of fraud will increase dramatically.
So, for that reason, you should make sure you have security and antivirus software installed on your devices and that they are up to date.
4. Contact the Authorities
Any organization that experiences a data breach is legally required to report the incident to the relevant authorities. Of course, that also applies to the NHS. However, if you have reason to believe that you are the victim of a data breach, and the NHS has not acknowledged this, you can self-report it.
First, it’s a good idea to report any data breach to Action Fraud. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime. It’s run by the City of London Police in partnership with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), so a report to Action Fraud will help to ensure that a breach will be properly investigated.
You should also report an NHS data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO will be able to launch an investigation and determine whether your data has been mismanaged.
5. Change Your Passwords
An obvious tip, perhaps, but it’s certainly one that’s easy to forget. Whenever you’re the victim of a data breach, it’s good practice to change the passwords to any important accounts you have – especially if you use a similar password across the board.
If you find it challenging to remember multiple new passwords, you can use a secure password manager to store them for you.
6. Register With the Cifas Protective Registration Service
If you are the victim of an NHS data breach, you can register with the Cifas fraud prevention service. Doing so will mean that your name and personal details will be flagged in their National Fraud Database, which various companies use to check if people are at risk of fraud.
The Cifas Protective Registration Service costs £25 for two years.
7. Speak to a Data Breach Claims Specialist
You may be in a position to take legal action against the NHS if it can be proven that they failed to uphold their legal obligations regarding data security.
Where this is the case, you should speak to a data breach claims specialist, who can guide you through the details of your case, what steps you need to take to bring forward a claim, and what you may be entitled to if your claim is successful.
Is It Right to Take Action Against the NHS?
It may feel wrong to take action against the NHS. Many of us would agree that they do an excellent job under difficult circumstances and, without them, we would be much worse off.
However, given that most NHS data breaches are caused by human error, action needs to be taken to ensure that they are held accountable and that the issue is much less likely to be repeated in the future.
Have You Been the Victim of an NHS Data Breach?
And there we have it! In this post, we’ve discussed some of the steps you can take if you are unfortunate enough to have been the victim of an NHS data breach.
Have you ever been the victim of an NHS data breach in the past? What steps did you take to ensure you were well protected? Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained data breach professional. Be sure to consult a data breach professional if you seek advice about a breach of your data. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.