How often do you hear people say: “If it seems too good to be true, then it most probably is…”?
This saying came to mind when we found out that some companies are purporting to sell delegate information from specific events. Emails from a third party company are issued to exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike and claim that they are selling delegate or visitor data from XYZ event.
The first we know of a scam is when a client calls us in a panic to ask if we’ve had a data breach because one or several of their exhibitors have been contacted to ask if they would like to purchase the delegate data from the very event where they are due to exhibit. We check our extensive logs just to double check that our standard protection procedures didn’t miss anything and then we reassure them that there hasn’t been a breach and that it is a scam.
We’re seeing these scams more often now, so I’m sure it’s happening with other registration providers too.
Maybe these scams could actually help to convince companies that their data is actually worth something - that if it is valuable enough for a third party to target and pretend to have it for sale, then it must be worth something, and worth protecting?
Data is a valuable commodity – I’ve spoken before about how valuable data is but it’s not just the cost of the data at stake. According to a study published recently, severe cyber break-ins permanently strip an average of 1.8% off a company’s stock price. Putting that 1.8% drop into context, that dip represents a permanent loss of £120m for a typical FTSE 100 business.
Another issue to be aware of is that people who have suffered distress as a result of a data protection breach can now claim compensation. Under the Data Protection Act, people have a right to claim compensation if they suffer damage or distress as a result of violations of a section of the Act by organisations that hold their personal data.
We were the first badging and registration company to be certified secure when we achieved our ISO27001:2013 in information security management. It’s an annual audit, which we have just passed yet again, so we know that the registration data we hold and process for our clients is as safe as it can possibly be.
So, beware the scammers; don’t buy any data that you feel is too good to be true; and make sure yours is protected - because a data breach could cost much, much more that you’d ever considered.