Bank sends couple wrong account details

A BANKING group which prides itself on security today apologised to a Westerfield couple after mailing them the account details of two complete strangers – along with a leaflet warning of identity theft.

A BANKING group which prides itself on security today apologised to a Westerfield couple after mailing them the account details of two complete strangers - along with a leaflet warning of identity theft.

Alliance & Leicester has pledged to improve procedures at its Ipswich branch after the bungle, which saw Maggie Williamson and her husband Joe sent the name and account number of another couple.

Mrs Williamson, of Lower Road, was shocked to open the letter and find the details of a Mr and Mrs Bowler.

The mother of two said: "I've got no idea who that person is.


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"Whoever has printed that letter has not even checked the details.

"Now I'm concerned that my details might be going out to other people."

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The letter, requesting change of address details from the Bowlers, was signed by a customer advisor from the Westgate Street branch.

It was accompanied by a pamphlet declaring: "Alliance & Leicester is committed to safeguarding your finances. By working together, we can beat the fraudster!"

The banking group, which was behind the slogan "You get a smarter investor at the Alliance & Leicester", has such strict security policies that when The Evening Star tried to look into the matter an employee could not discuss the complaint because of data protection rules.

They insisted we forward a letter of authorisation signed by Mrs Williamson containing her account number.

That has left the customer services manager at The Evening Star wondering how such a serious error slipped through the data protection net undetected.

Mrs Williamson said: "They should be more careful.

"You've got the name and the account number, if someone has a mind to do account fraud they are halfway there."

An Alliance & Leicester spokeswoman said the blunder happened when a staff member mistakenly typed in another customer's name and account number.

She said: "We are sincerely sorry for any undue stress or concern caused to Mr and Mrs Williamson and would like to say that this is an isolated incident. However the complaint has been sent to the relevant area to be flagged up as a service improvement issue for the future.

"It is almost certainly the case that Mr and Mrs Williamson's details have not been sent out to any other customer."

She added that even if the details had been mistakenly sent out, in order to use them the relevant passbook, ATM card or other form of identification would be needed.

She said: "We do take customer confidentiality very seriously and we are very sorry that on this occasion a mistake was made."

Jemma Smith of Card Watch, a company for the prevention of fraud, said: "There is no way this information could have been used to buy things off the internet or telephone as the customer's Christian names would have been needed.

"Even if this information had been included there may still have been problems for any fraudster trying to use it as many companies now ask for the security number along the back of the card and the address of the car holder."

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