What Is A Wrong Postal Address Data Breach?

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated on 5th March 2024. This guide will explain who is eligible to make a claim for compensation if a wrong postal address data breach caused you mental or financial harm and resulted from a breach of your data protection rights.

If an organisation sends a letter or document containing your personal data to an incorrect address, then your personal information is at risk of being viewed by an unauthorised person. Consequently, you may suffer financially or experience stress due to the data breach. In this guide, we look at if you are eligible to make a personal data breach claim following such an incident.

If a postal address data breach harmed you, you might be eligible to claim compensation. Please get in touch with Advice.co.uk to speak to a claims specialist. If you meet the criteria to make a data breach compensation claim, our panel of solicitors could offer to handle your claim.

Make your enquiry by contacting us today:

  • Call our helpline on 0161 696 9685
  • Please fill out our online claims form to reach us
  • Or you can ask an advisor any questions you may have about claiming using the Advice widget below

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What Are Wrong Postal Address Data Breach Claims?

Personal data breaches are security issues which affect the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data at an organisation. An incorrect address data breach is an incident where a data controller or processor posts a letter or document containing personal data to an incorrect address.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s governing body for upholding information rights. Each fiscal quarter they produce statistics following data security incidents that have been reported to them. These are known as the data security incident trends. From the financial 2nd quarter of 2019 to the financial 2nd quarter of 2022, there were 3,408 incidents that involved data posted or faxed to the incorrect recipient.

Moreover, the UK General Data Protection Regulation UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act DPA 2018 are both leading data protection legislation that must be adhered to by data controllers and processors. Generally, data controllers are organisations that will determine the means by which your data will be processed, and a processor may be hired to act on behalf of the controller.

Organisations should do the following:

  • Train employees in correct, safe data management.
  • Have tried and tested internal processes for handling data.
  • Have an organised mailing system to avoid misdelivery of data.

Please contact Advice.co.uk if an organisation sent your data to an address that is not yours and you believe you are eligible for compensation.

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What Could Cause A Wrong Postal Address Data Breach?

You may wonder how an organisation could send your personal information to an incorrect recipient. Often human error will cause a data breach. Let’s look at some causes of the misdelivery of data:

  • An administrator makes an error and writes an incorrect address when sending a letter or document by post.
  • There is an error with an organisation’s automated mailing system. Therefore the organisation sends personal data to an incorrect recipient.
  • A data subject tells an organisation they have moved house, but the organisation fails to update the information. So the organisation sends the person’s letter to their old address.

How Could A Wrong Postal Address Data Breach Impact You?

If the security of your personal information is compromised because of a wrong postal address data breach, the incident can harm you mentally and financially.

If a healthcare organisation sends a medical letter containing your personal health data to the wrong person, this could mean personal and confidential medical information has been shared with a party that has no authority to see it. Therefore you could experience emotional distress or mental health injuries because your sensitive data was breached.

Similarly, if a bank or building society were to send out information that contained personal financial details to the wrong address, someone could have access to data that could be used to steal funds from your account.

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Steps To Take After A Data Security Incident

If you believe an organisation or private company has breached your personal data, then you have the right to contact the person responsible for data protection to make a data protection complaint.

Under data protection law, if an organisation suffers a data breach involving your personal data and affecting your rights and freedoms, they must inform you of the breach without delay. They also have to report this incident to the ICO. Again you can contact the organisations where the breach has taken place and make a complaint.

However, if you receive an unsatisfactory response, you do not understand, or no response at all, you can escalate your complaint internally and proceed to make your own report to the ICO.

The ICO could investigate the organisation and impose a penalty. Please note the ICO is unlikely to investigate an older incident. So make sure you wait no longer than 12 weeks after the last proper contact with the organisation to contact the ICO.

The ICO can not award compensation to data breach victims. Please call our claims team to find out how to start your own personal data breach claim.

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Calculating A Settlement If Your Data Was Breached 

If you make a successful claim for a wrong postal address data breach, then you may receive compensation for material and non-material damage.

Non-material damage refers to the psychological harm you have suffered due to the personal data 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 valuing your claim may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for help. This document provides compensation guidelines for numerous kinds of physical and psychological injuries. You can view some of the compensation figures from this document in the table below. Take note that the first entry is not based on the JCG.

Mental Health InjurySeverityAbout The InjuryPayout
Significant psychological harm and financial lossesSignificant Settlements could include compensation for significant emotional damage and your financial losses, for example, damage to your credit score.Up to £250,000+
Mental Injury (Generally)SevereAll areas of the person's life are severely impacted and the prognosis is poor. £54,830 - £115,730
Mental Injury (Generally)Moderately SevereThe impact has been similar to above. However, the overall prognosis is better.£19,070 - £54,830
Mental Injury (Generally)ModerateThey have experienced problems in everyday life, but are now recovering to a degree.£5,860 - £19,070
Mental Injury (Generally)Less SevereAwards are dependent on how much daily life and sleep patterns are affected. £1,540 - £5,860
PTSDSevereMental health issues so severe the person is unable to function as they did before the trauma.£59,860 - £100,670
PTSDModerately SevereIf this person can get professional help, they could have a better prognosis.£23,150 - £59,860
PTSDModerateWhile largely recovered, the person could have experienced problems across different parts of their life.£8,180 - £23,150
PTSDLess SevereAfter one to two years there will have been a virtually full recovery.£3,950 - £8,180

Material damage refers to the financial losses you have experienced because of the personal data breach. For example, you may have taken unpaid time off work while recovering from psychological injuries the data breach has caused. These lost earnings could potentially be claimed back. However, you would need to provide evidence of this loss with documentation such as wage slips or bank statements.

For more advice about how much you could claim for a personal data breach, contact our advisors for free today.

Begin Your Wrong Postal Address Data Breach Claim

If you meet the eligibility criteria to claim data breach compensation, you may wish to have legal representation during the claims process. A data breach solicitor could help ease the process for you.

One of the data breach solicitors from our panel could support your claim for a postal data breach. Our panel generally offer their legal services under a type of No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When a No Win No Fee solicitor handles your claim for a wrong address data breach, they won’t ask for upfront payments to cover their services. They also don’t charge ongoing service fees. Additionally, there won’t be a fee payable for their work on your wrong recipient case if you are not awarded data breach compensation.

However, a success fee will be taken out of your awarded compensation if your claim for a wrong address data breach has a successful outcome. This amount is a legally capped percentage.

If you need any free legal advice about claiming compensation under the data protection laws, get in touch with our claims team. The free consultation will provide you with a valuation of your potential data breach compensation, and discuss how you could gather evidence and evaluate your claim. If you satisfy the eligibility requirements, you could be connected to one of the solicitors from our panel.

To discuss multiple letters going to the wrong addresses:

  • Contact us online, and a member of the claims team will call you back.
  • Call 0161 696 9685
  • Ask about postal data breaches in our live chat.

Data breach solicitor at a desk with a book and forms

If you were the intended recipient of post that went to the wrong person, a solicitor could help you claim data breach compensation.

More Information On Dealing With Data Breaches

The following resources may be helpful if you want to claim compensation for a data breach or require more advice.

How To Claim For A Witness GDPR Data Breach

How To Make A Lost Records Data Breach Compensation Claim

Recruitment Agency UK GDPR Data Breach – When Could You Claim Compensation?

Find out when you can claim for a speed ticket letter data breach if sent to the wrong address

An ICO guide to special category data, a type of sensitive data

Your right to access your personal data from a public body

An NHS guide to generalised anxiety disorder

If a wrong postal address data breach has harmed you, we hope this guide has provided help.