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Banks play loose strokes with their customers’ details

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A number of banks and other financial institutions have been slammed for placing customers’ personal information in rubbish bins outside their own premises.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has wrung a pledge from each of them that they will act according to the rules of the Data Protection Act in future. Failure to do so will result in prosecution by the ICO.

“It is unacceptable for banks and other organisations to carelessly discard their customers’ information,” said IOC deputy commissioner David Smith.

The institutions involved are HBOS, Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scarborough Building Society, Clydesdale Bank and a raft of other High Street providers.

The Post Office and the Immigration Advisory Service were also found to have breached the guidelines.

The IOC warnings came in the wake of a BBC Watchdog investigation, which found widespread evidence of carelessness with personal information, including details of a £500,000 bank transfer outside a branch of a major High Street bank in Nottingham.

“These revelations leave me practically speechless,” said retired bank employee, Willie Foster. “In my era, confidential information about customers was sacred and anyone found treating it in a cavalier way was dismissed instantly.

“I can only think that standards have slipped and we are all worse off for that.”


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