What to do with a data breach notice?

It is all very well receiving a data breach notification, but what can you do with it to eliminate or mitigate damage of a data loss or resultant identity theft?

Another data breach yesterday …

Consumers have various avenues open to them to investigate whether they have been directly affected by a data breach. They may firstly obtain a credit report from a credit reference agency to identify any unusual activity or credit taken in their name illegally. This is a statutory right and should cost only £2. Identity thefts may also be reported to the police, and a crime reference number obtained. Consumers may also put a freeze on their bank accounts, or notify the fraud prevention teams at their bank to be on alert for suspicious activity.

Consumers may also register with the CIFAS Protective Registration Scheme. CIFAS is a not-for-profit organisation that helps to protect those whose identity is at risk due to crime or loss of data.

Upon registration, a CIFAS warning flag is placed against registrants’ addresses marked Category ‘0’ which indicates the individual has been recorded on the CIFAS database for their protection. CIFAS members when undertaking a search against registrants’ addresses will see “CIFAS-DO NOT REJECT-VALIDATION REQUIRED”.

As a result of the entry CIFAS members receiving credit applications will undertake additional verification checks to ascertain that the applicant is genuine and not a fraudster trying to commit identity theft. This may mean that consumers experience delays while their credentials are fully checked out, but offers reassurance that their identity is protected against fraudulent applications in their name.

As the public become more well informed about data breaches and their consequences, we might well expect more “for profit” organisations to crop up offering the latest and greatest in credit restitution services. This would provide an automatic means for consumers to restore theior credit record to the state it was in before an identity theft. It may well be that financial institutions and other companies which handle crucial personal data will start to offer these to consumers in order to promote an image of responsibility and deveop trust with consumers.

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