Who can be trusted with confidential data

Posted by Ian Carpenter in Identity Theft on 13 August 2013 - Ian is Operations Director at checkmyfile

Any data breach is particularly embarrassing for the organisation involved. Processes are usually reviewed, heads are almost certainly rolled and undertakings with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are typically signed.

The shame is there for all to see, but imagine the reaction at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) when it discovered that it had sent 32,000 pages and 81 audio files of confidential information to the wrong person.

The SFO had just completed an investigation involving aerospace firm, BAE Systems, when it realised that the documents had been missing for a year. The organisation has confirmed that it has recovered 98% of the information which was sent in error. The recipient of the information has not been named.

The incident is being taken seriously by the SFO, with a spokesperson stating, “Any loss of data is a serious matter and the SFO has taken action to ensure no further material can be wrongly sent out. More generally, the Director of the SFO has instigated an independent wide-ranging review of all the organisation's business processes.”

It is a depressing sign of the times that we have come to expect similar breaches at our local council or at our nearest NHS trust, but in this case it’s hard to look beyond the act that the SFO was set up to protect us against fraud, not make matters worse.

The ICO has come down heavily on other organisations with hefty fines being issued recently, but more is clearly needed. A spokesperson for the ICO explains, “We have been made aware of a possible data breach involving the Serious Fraud Office. We will be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.”

Fraud is a serious matter and regular data breaches such as these do little to reduce the ever increasing misuse of personal information. Fines against government funded organisations can only have so much impact, and unless there is a cultural shift in how confidential information is processed these data breaches will, unfortunately, continue to happen.

Ian Carpenter is Operations Director at checkmyfile, has a degree in Business Studies, and is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Credit Management. He can be contacted at ian.carpenter@checkmyfile.com

How To Check if Someone Is Using Your Identity For Fraud

Scams and fraudsters may have evolved to become more sophisticated over time, but when it comes to fighting back, one piece of advice has stayed true: If you’re concerned that you might have fallen victim to identity fraud or want to better protect yourself against it, your Credit Report is one of the best places to turn.

Published on 3 Apr 2019 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Affected by the Marriott Hack? Here’s What To Do

If you’re one of the 500 million consumers to have stayed in a Marriott-owned Starwood chain hotel in the past four years, there’s a chance your personal information could have been compromised in what could be the second biggest ever data breach.

Published on 30 Nov 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Tesco Online Grocery List Disappears

After well over 10 years of using Tesco’s online grocery service, all of sudden, all of my Tesco order history has disappeared, alongside all the information stored in My Favourites – purchases made in-store and online over the past 13 months, My Usuals, and My Shopping Lists.

Published on 9 Oct 2018 by Barry Stamp

Full Article

Are linked addresses on your credit file a bad thing

Your Credit Report can surprise you: it can include reference to an address you have long-forgotten about or sometimes even an address you have never heard of, which is one of the reasons it’s important to check in every now and then.

Published on 30 Jul 2018 by Ian Carpenter

Full Article

Loan Fee Fraud: The £3.5 Million a Year Scam

For people facing financial hardship, sometimes taking out a loan to tide things over can seem like the most viable solution. But if you’re out of work or have a lower-than-average credit rating, it can be harder to get credit from mainstream lenders and mean that more expensive forms of finance in the sub-prime market are the only viable option. It often feels like a hopeless situation.

Published on 8 Jun 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Protecting yourself against identity theft online

Modern day fraudsters are now able to use the internet as a helpful tool to acquire a vast amount of information about an individual just from using their name. From this, they start to build a portfolio of data that they can then use to obtain credit, bank accounts and sign up for other services. By following a few simple steps you can help to reduce the risk of being exposed to a fraudster online.

Published on 22 May 2018 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article

Personal Data in the Wake of Facebook/Cambridge Analytica

Strange as it might sound to some, huge numbers of people routinely complete online surveys through Facebook to find out which football player they are most like, which Hogwarts house they should be in or how much money they will be earning in 2050. The truth is, every time you volunteer seemingly innocuous information or consent to share profile information with an app, your data is probably going somewhere to be used for another purpose.

Published on 17 Apr 2018 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Identity Fraud: What To Do If It Happens To You

Year on year, there has been a substantial rise in the number of identity fraud cases being reported to organisations such as Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service. It’s no real surprise when you consider the crime can be committed from the comfort of someone’s home without ever having to risk showing their face.

Published on 6 Feb 2018 by George Coburn

Full Article

What's a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) & Why is it on my Report?

PEP stands for Politically Exposed Person, which would typically relate to an individual who has a prominent public title or function. If you receive this classification, often you will have to undergo additional security checks when applying for finance. Your credit file will tell you if you have been identified as a PEP, however for most people it isn’t something they’ll need to worry about.

Published on 8 Jan 2018 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Brits continuing to fall for HMRC and Apple gift card scam

At the face of it, it seems a bit odd that the company responsible for collecting taxes would request payment from individuals in the form of an Apple iTunes gift card, but according to Action Fraud, this scam has continued to be profitable for fraudsters. The scheme first came to light in May last year and Action Fraud have received hundreds of complaints since then.

Published on 30 Jan 2017 by George Coburn

Full Article
keyboard_arrow_left

keyboard_arrow_right

We are rated number 1 for customer service on