Who is the Post Office sharing your bank details with?
How much of your personal information would a con man need? Does it depend on your age? Would an older person be easier to con than a younger one?
What if someone called you from a business you had just called yesterday? Or called you from your bank- the actual branch you use? Would that work? If someone had your full name, address, telephone number and partial bank details, it could be relatively easy for a shady sort to extract additional information and take you to the cleaners.
But it seems, the Post Office don’t care very much about your personal information. We were contacted on behalf of a ninety year old woman who was confused about the information held in her online mypostoffice.co.uk account for her telephone and broadband services. Although she doesn’t have the most common name in the world, her account was showing the details of another woman with the same name, living 100 miles away. She contacted the Post Office about this on 16 June. After numerous telephone calls, and failures to call her back, they advised the matter was fixed. It wasn’t. Over a week later, the very personal details are still available to the wrong person.
The lady in question does not have a desperately unusual name, but neither is it John Smith. We can only wonder whose details every John Smith can see. Her name is also an old fashioned name, suggesting the potential fraud victim is also of an older generation.
We asked the Post Office for a comment. Customer service weren’t sure if they had a press officer and as a huge surprise, have failed to get back to us. So we tried calling the Press Office, and were promised a response within three hours. We're still waiting. The ICO have been informed of the matter and have advised the lady make a formal complaint.
So are you a Post Office telephone/broadband customer? Do you know who’s looking at your details?
We finally got a statement from the Post Office. They said "We would like to apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused... This was due to a technical error. We would like to reassure her this is an isolated incident and have thoroughly investigated the matter to ensure this does not happen again in the future. We take the security of our customer’s personal information very seriously.”
However, at the time of writing the 'error' has not been fixed, customer services "admit there have been failings" and the technical team are still investigating how this happened. And surely if they don't know how it happened, they cannot be sure this is an isolated incident. We would be very pleased to hear from any Post Office customers, particularly those with more than one email address, who can check their online mypostoffice.co.uk accounts to check they can only see their own data...