Phone Number Data Breach – Could You Claim Compensation?

If your phone number was compromised in a data breach, it may have caused you considerable stress. You may have also had to pay out of pocket to obtain a new phone number to prevent anyone you don’t know from contacting you. If this is the case, we explain when you may be eligible to make a phone number data breach and claim compensation for the harm you have expereinced.

In addition to setting out the eligibility requirements your case must meet to have a valid case, we will also provide you with some examples of how this particular type of data breach may occur. After suffering a personal data breach, you may be wondering what steps you could take next. We provide you with guidance on the steps you could take to help support you with claiming compensation.

Additionally, this guide will explain the different forms of harm you could be compensated for following a personal data breach and how this compensation is calculated. We end this guide by sharing some of the various benefits of making a compensation claim with one of the No Win No Fee solicitors on our panel.

If you have any questions about claiming data breach compensation, you can contact a friendly member of our advisory team today. They can also offer you free advice for your potential case. You can reach them by:

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Select A Section

  1. Can You Claim For A Phone Number Data Breach?
  2. How Could A Phone Number Data Breach Happen?
  3. What Can You Do After A Personal Data Breach?
  4. How Much Compensation For A Phone Number Data Breach?
  5. Why Make A Personal Data Breach Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
  6. Read More About Data Breach Compensation Claims

Can You Claim For A Phone Number Data Breach?

Any information that could identify you, such as your name, personal phone number and national insurance number, is considered as personal data.

A data controller is usually an organisation that decides why and how your personal info will be processed. Data processors are usually an organisation or agency external to the data controller that processes data on their behalf.

Data controllers and processors must comply with certain rules and procedures when handling personal data. These are laid out by the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, which sit together as data protection laws. Your personal data could be breached if a data controller or processor fails to adhere to these laws.

A personal data breach is classed as a security incident where the accessibility, confidentiality and availability of your personal data is compromised. Data breaches can be caused by human error or deliberate actions, such as a cyberattack, for example.

To be eligible to make a phone number data breach claim, your case will need to meet the following criteria:

  • The data breach occurred due to the actions or inactions of a data controller or processor.
  • Your personal data was involved in this breach.
  • You have suffered psychological harm or financial losses due to the personal data breach.

Is Giving A Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR?

As aforementioned, your personal phone number is classed as personal data. If a data controller or processor were to share your phone number or any other personal data, they must have a lawful basis for doing so. There are a total of six lawful basis‘, and these are:

  • Consent – You have given clear consent for the personal data to be processed.
  • Contract – It is necessary to fulfil a contract.
  • Legal obligation – The process needs to be done so you comply with the law.
  • Vital interests – It’s necessary to protect someone’s life.
  • Public task – It needs to be done so you can complete a task in the public interest or for your official functions.
  • Legitimate interests – It is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party.

If any of these lawful bases apply, then an organisation or individual can legally share your phone number or other personal data with other parties without needing your permission.

To see whether you may be able to make a phone number data breach claim, you can contact our advisors for a free eligibility case check.

How Could A Phone Number Data Breach Happen?

There are several potential scenarios which could lead to your phone number being involved in a data breach. Examples include the following:

  • An email containing your personal data is sent to the wrong email address by your employer due to you and another employee having similar names.
  • Your GP surgery sends a letter containing your personal data to the wrong postal address, despite having your new address on file.
  • A company that holds personal data, including clients’ personal phone numbers, fails to update its cyber security. This allows cyberattackers to gain access to and steal your personal data.

What Can Someone Do With My Phone Number?

If your phone number is exposed or stolen in a data breach, then any unauthorised party that has gained access to this information may use it for a variety of reasons, such as identity theft or relentlessly contacting you. Examples of other schemes your phone number may be used for include the following:

  • Sending you text scams with links to websites that contain malware.
  • Stealing other sensitive information, such as banking details, if you have online accounts linked to your phone number.
  • Your number is used to contact your mobile phone provider in order to reroute and intercept your text messages and calls.
  • Doxxing, which means that your leaked phone number and any other personal data exposed in a data breach is shared online with the public.
  • Your number may be taken over via a SIM swap or account takeover. This may be done in order to target your family members and other contacts.

If your phone number has been shared due to data protection laws not being adhered to, you may be eligible to claim data breach compensation. Contact our advisors for free today to learn more about whether you have a valid case. If our team determines you do, they could potentially connect you with a data breach solicitor on our panel.

Someone holding a phone with the icons for text messaging, calls, and emails hovering above it.

What Can You Do After A Personal Data Breach?

Following a personal data breach, you could gather evidence to help support your case when making a claim for compensation. Some examples of evidence you could gather include:

  • Confirmation that your personal data has been breached. For instance, the organisation responsible for the data breach incident may have sent you an email or letter about what personal data of yours has been compromised.
  • The findings from an Information Commissioner’s Office investigation. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body that enforces data protection laws. Following a breach of your personal data, you could make a report to the ICO. However, this report must be made within 3 months of your last meaningful communication with the organisation responsible for the breach. If the ICO then decide to investigate this breach, their findings could be used as evidence.
  • Evidence that you suffered psychological harm because of the breach. This could include a copy of your medical records confirming that you were diagnosed with a psychological injury. For example, you may suffer with depression or anxiety due to a data breach.
  • Evidence of financial losses you’ve suffered due to the data breach. This could include documents such as credit card or bank statements and even your payslips to prove a loss of earnings.

If a solicitor from our panel supports your data breach claim, then they can assist with gathering evidence to build your case. Contact our advisors for free today to learn more about gathering evidence or working with a solicitor on our panel.

How Much Compensation For A Phone Number Data Breach?

If you make a successful phone number data breach claim, then you may receive compensation for your material and non-material damage.

Non-material damage is the psychological harm you have experienced due to the breach. The amount of compensation that could be awarded for the mental harm you have experienced will be affected by the factors of your case.

Those responsible for calculating your compensation for you non-material damage may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for guidance. This document sets out compensation guidelines for numerous kinds of physical and psychological injuries. You can view some of the compensation figures from this document relating to psychological harm in the table below. Please note that the first entry is not based on the JCG.

Compensation Table

Injury TypeSeverity Of InjuryCompensation Amount
Severe Psychological Injury With Significant Financial LossesSevereUp to £150,000+
Psychiatric Damage - GenerallySevere£66,920 to £141,240
Moderately Severe£23,270 to £66,920
Moderate£7,150 to £23,270
Less Severe£1,880 to £7,150
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Severe£73,050 to £122,850
Moderately Severe£28,250 to £73,050
Moderate£9,980 to £28,250
Less Severe£4,820 to £9,980

Can You Claim For Your Material Damage?

Material damage refers to the financial losses you have suffered due to the personal data breach. For instance, you may have taken time off work that was unpaid while recovering from the psychological injuries caused by the phone number data breach. Lost earnings such as these could potentially be covered by your claim.

However, as we have previously mentioned, any of the financial losses you wish to claim for will need to be proved with evidence.

To find out how much you could potentially be awarded for a data breach, get in touch with our advisors for free today.

Why Make A Personal Data Breach Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?

If you have suffered harm following a phone number data breach, you can contact our advisors and they could review your case for free. If they find that you have a valid claim, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor on our panel.

The solicitors on our panel are able to support data breach claims under the terms of a particular type of No Win No Fee arrangement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). One benefit of such an agreement is that you won’t need to pay your solicitor for their services at the beginning of your claim or while it’s being processed. Also, it usually won’t be necessary to pay for their services if your data breach claim goes ahead but proves unsuccessful.

If your claim succeeds, then the solicitor supporting you will take a legally capped percentage from the compensation paid out to you. This is known as a success fee. The cap ensures that you will receive the majority of data breach compensation awarded for your claim.

To learn more about claiming for a data breach with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor, you can get in touch with our advisors for free today. To reach our team, you can:

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Read More About Data Breach Compensation Claims

Additional data breach claims guides by us:

  • For a more general overview on how claiming data breach compensation works, you can read our essential guide.
  • Have you been affected by a data breach that occurred after a device was lost or stolen? You can learn more about claiming compensation for this type of data breach.
  • If you personal data was breached due to a failure to use BBC, this guide discusses whether you could claim compensation for this type of breach.

Further external resources:

If you have been affected by a phone number data breach, you can contact our advisors to see whether you may be eligible to claim compensation.