Is Data Protection Really Protecting Us?

Phishing is when emails, texts or any form of contact is made – (looking as though it’s from a respectable company or business) in hope of gaining private information such as passwords and credentials. This is known to be one of the most common forms of cyber threats. There have been many cases where people have fallen for these tricks and have sadly ended up in never-ending scams or end up losing a lot of money. There are other practices such as, selling things on websites like eBay, and the seller doesn’t own or have access to the item that they are advertising. These fraudulent activities are not far off from phishing which is, unfortunately, a problem that can’t be quickly solved due to the intelligence of the scammers behind it.

 

A woman was on gumtree looking for a car. The women were told to meet the seller in Birmingham for a cash in hand transaction in return for the car. Upon arrival, she was met by people with armed guns in a car – alongside women threatening her to pass the money to her which the buyer had in the envelope. The buyer said she spoke to a man when she first made the ‘meeting arrangements’ and was surprised to see a woman. Their buyer called the seller who said he was at work, but after the buyer saw the armed people in the car which the woman (seller) come out of, she got scared and drove straight to the police station, telling the man on the phone that she gave the money to the woman. Below, there is a full story on the event.

 

 

I spoke to someone from the Data Protection Team at Sitel and here is what they had to say.

Q: How do you store data?

A: When we recruit people, their information stays stored away in a very safe place that no one can get hold of. Security and data protection play a very important part of our business just as it should at most.

 

Q: Why do you think in most cases, cases involving phishing, fraudulent schemes or scams are automatically pointed at those in control of data protection?

A: I think it’s because of the amount of data that are stored. People always need someone to blame when something goes wrong. The fact that a lot of sensitive information is shared with us and in most cases – people don’t tend to read the terms and conditions when they’re passing their information on. A lot of businesses also add that third parties are allowed to access your information and if that companies’ security isn’t as tight as ours – or whatever company they’ve taken your information from, then that’s how easy it is for your information to be shared among~ a lot of different platforms and conclude with us, as Data Protectors, being blamed. Which in all fairness, makes a lot of sense.

 

Q: Have you faced any issues involving data protection within your business?

A: Here at SITEL, we work with a lot of different businesses. I remember an ex-employee said she received an email from the company she was working from, it was a big name but I’m unsure whether I can disclose that information to you – but anyway, I remember she came into work saying she had received an email from this company, prompting her to click on a link. This was the first time we’ve heard about this happen here and we explained to her never to click on any links in emails, especially when they’re asking for money,

 

Q: In your own opinion, do you feel that the Data Protection Act of 1998, is secure enough for us to trust it?

A: In all honesty, the technology back in 1998, in comparison to what we have today is a big difference. Purely because of this, I’m not saying the act shouldn’t be trusted but I’m saying the security should definitely be questioned. Maybe an updated version should come out which complies a little bit more with today’s technology. For as long as technology continues to progress, it’s almost impossible to say anything is secure – especially not our sensitive information with hackers and all.

 

Q: What do you feel could be done in order to avoid future scams?

A: I think that people should just be very cautious of their terms and conditions. Maybe if they were shorter, people would actually read them. That way, it’s easy to opt out of giving information out to third parties. In terms of online, I think everyone needs to be extra careful when online.

 

With the advance of technology, there is no way that the intelligence behind these ‘cyber threats’ can be beaten. It’s up to us as civilians, to be careful online and be alert as to where we put down our personal information as this could easily backfire on us, leaving individuals scammed. Do not under any circumstance, reveal bank details over email or make transactions through phone calls. Any respectable company such as HMRC, your bank, Apple, PayPal, would never call or email you, asking for your card numbers are security codes. Be aware of what to say and stay safe online. Bringing it closer to home, Research undertaken by cloud data intelligence company OnDMARC has found that only a fifth of West Midlands local authorities has implemented DMARC, the government-backed email authentication protocol that blocks spoof emails appearing to come from the council. Again, contact the council to validate before giving out any personal information in order to avoid fraudulent activity including identity theft.

Sychelle-Kristina Yanda

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