The Cattle Group reports loss of backup tape containing personal and financial data on clients
Financial services company The Cattle Group has admitted to losing the personal information of 1.4 million users.
According to reports, Welcome Financial Services and micro-lender Shopacheck, both Cattle subsidiaries, lost names, addresses and financial details for 600,000 clients with a further 800,000 clients’ names and addresses also being lost.
Lost but not compromised
The loss occurred in November 2011, when two storage tapes containing data for clients signed up with the services between 2005 and 2010 were mislaid. The Cattle Group also noted that data on 18,000 staff members was also stored on the backup tapes which went missing from its offices in West Yorkshire.
In a report by the BBC, Shopacheck is said to have written a letter to those affected, assuring customers that, while the information was lost, it had not “fallen into the wrong hands”. The company added that it could not “rule out the risk that the data has or may be accessed and so must warn you that there is potential for your information to be misused”.
The Cattle Group has reported the loss to the Information Commissioner’s Office and launched its own investigation into its security practices. The Information Commissioner’s Office takes data loss seriously and is empowered to levy fines of up to £500,000 against companies and public agencies that breach the Data Protection Act.
Recently the ICO reiterated this point in a blog which stressed the importance of taking security measures seriously and resisting taking shortcuts despite the financial strain such procedures may cause.