A report in the Daily Telegraph indicates that, just three years after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) lost the confidential details of 25 million taxpayers another serious breach of security has occurred.
The concerns follow after a woman in Bedfordshire received mailings from seven different organisations all duplicating the same mistake that had been made in her name by HMRC. Susan Jones from Bedford began to receive letters from HMRC addressed to “Susan Margaret Margaret” and shortly afterwards received mailings addressed the same way from Direct Line insurance, Churchill Home Insurance, Sun Life Direct funeral care, the Dog’s Trust, Macmillan cancer support and the Salvation Army, all of whom would have bought the data, unaware of its source, from suppliers in the direct marketing sector.
An HMRC spokesman, who didn’t want to be identified, told the newspaper “We are bound by strict rules of confidentiality which prohibit the department from selling on customer details. HMRC takes data security extremely seriously”
Let’s hope its more seriously than they take the customer service they’re paid to give. According to a public accounts committee report this is “poor” based on the fact that HMRC failed to answer 45 million telephone calls from members of the public seeking help on tax and benefits last year.