Barely a day goes by without something being mentioned in the press about ID fraud. A typical headline followed a recent BBC investigation into high street banks’ handling of financial details, loudly exclaiming that ‘banks dump personal data in the street’.This is a public relations disaster for the financial services industry. You can imagine what the customers who read this stuff are thinking – if I can’t trust these businesses with my data, who can I trust? I was shocked by the revelations in this particular story – and ironically it broke at the beginning of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week. Over the past year there has been a steady stream of information about the dos and don’ts of ID fraud, and fraud in general, from the police, the government and financial bodies. This advice has centred around protecting our personal data which ranges from our name and address to more specific information such as credit card pin numbers. ID fraud has been growing at an alarming rate and as a result many people are now investing in shredders or finding other ways to be more careful with their data. It’s a shame then that so-called trustworthy institutions such as banks have evidently not kept their side of the legal and fiduciary bargain by protecting customers’ data. There will be further ramifications. The Information Commissioner’s Office says it will be investigating the cases concerned. There is a good chance of serious fines for those involved. The problem is that these are not isolated cases. This looks increasingly like a systemic problem. At the heart of the issue lies management controls and training. Staff must understand the importance of the information they hold and how important it is to dispose of it securely. Secure shredding services are now common and most lenders should be taking measures such as this. Mortgage application forms contain vast amounts of data. A mortgage application form would be a fraudster’s dream – all that information in one place just waiting to be cloned. But this latest media episode unfortunately has the ring of Nero fiddling while Rome burns about it. The BBC’s investigation has been damaging and a substantial public relations exercise will now be needed to restore public confidence that data is being guarded to an acceptable degree. Many customers who are taking the correct steps to protect their data will quite rightly be outraged at the cavalier approach the high street institutions take to the protection of their data. The BBC should be congratulated on an excellent piece of investigative journalism. This story has done a great public service and now the financial industry awaits the outcome of the Information Commissioner’s investigation. For a few it will make uncomfortable reading – and rightly so.
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Packager Trafalgar Square Solutions celebrated its official launch party last week at a gala event sponsored by edeus. Based in Wandsworth, south London, joint managing director Michael Franklyn (far left), formerly worked at BM Solutions and The Mortgage Operation. Franklyn says: “The event was a great success. All the brokers have worked with our team […]
The City of London says research that names it as the worst polluter is unjustifiable because of uncertainties with data. The Liberal Democrat Party recently released research that showed the City of London is the top polluter in the UK and emits 55 times more carbon dioxide per head than the lowest area, Hackney.However, a […]
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Steve Webb, Director of Policy and External Communications, Royal London New analysis by mutual insurer Royal London has found that over three million people working for larger employers are failing to take up around £2bn a year which their employers have offered to contribute to their workplace pension schemes. In many workplaces, workers pay a […]
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