Britain’s data protection watchdog is warning that a new trade in people’s pension data could be ‘the next PPI scandal’.
The warning follows a Daily Mail investigation which revealed some companies are prepared to sell personal financial details to cold calling companies without the owners’ consent.
The ICO’s Christopher Graham said businesses found to have traded information in such a way could face fines of up to £½ million. What he described as ‘rogue individuals’ could also face criminal penalties if they break the Data Protection Act.
The warning comes just ahead of reforms to the pension market which will give consumers more control over how they access their savings once they turn 55.
The Daily Mail investigation found firms selling private financial information for as little as 5p per record and the information can then be sold on again to fraudsters and cold calling companies.
The worry is that unscrupulous individuals could gain access to the details or elderly and vulnerable people, leaving them open to scams and rip-offs.
Very serious breach
The ICO is liaising with the Pensions Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the police. Said Christopher Graham: “We’ve got to investigate this, but on the face of it this is a very serious breach of the Data Protection Act and there will be consequences.
“We have been warning that pensions selling and accessing pensions information is really the next PPI scandal and we’ve been working very hard to take action against cold-calling companies in this very area.”
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is also concerned about what the Mail revealed.
He said: “The Daily Mail’s investigation has uncovered a matter of serious concern. Targeting people who have saved and done the right thing all their lives is abhorrent. We will follow the ICO’s investigation closely and will not fail to take the necessary action.”
The Gladstone Brookes Promise is your assurance that we never cold call – ever. All of our clients come to us in response to our media and newspaper advertising or by word of mouth. We are also registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office which is your guarantee that we will never supply your details to any third party without your permission.
“The worry is that unscrupulous individuals could gain access to the details or elderly and vulnerable people, leaving them open to scams and rip-offs”