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Which? reports on Britain's Banks data Breaches

The Telegraph has today reported that a recent Which? consumer survey found that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) received well over 500 complaints about possible data breaches by eight of Britain’s biggest banks.

The 515 complaints have been suggested to be merely ‘the tip of the iceburg’; mainly because only 1 in 10 people have heard of the ICO.

The Telegraph reported that Barclays was the bank with the most suspected breaches with 116 complaints, followed by Lloyds TSB with 114 and Santander with 103, and that more than half of all complaints arose from firms failing to provide customers with copies of the data held about them properly.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: “Banks and building societies hold incredibly sensitive information and the impact on customers can be serious if they mishandle it, from affecting credit ratings to leaving people open to fraud.

“Consumers who suffer financial loss or stress as a result of data mismanagement by firms should be entitled to compensation.

“Regulators need to impose much tougher sanctions on firms who are lax with people’s data as the message clearly isn’t getting through.”

A spokesman for the ICO said: “While the number of upheld complaints is small compared to the millions of bank accounts in the UK, mishandling of financial information can have a serious effect on individuals’ lives. It needs to be looked after properly and customer’s data protection rights respected.

A spokesman for the British Bankers’ Association said: “All of the UK’s banks take data privacy extremely seriously. All complaints are fully and immediately investigated and remedial action taken where necessary to ensure no harm comes to any customer.”

To read the report in full, go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/8533596/Britains-banks-breaching-data-protection-rules.html now.