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Doorstep lenders lose 1.4 million customer records

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by Jan Harris
Doorstep lenders lose 1.4 million customer records

Financial Services Limited and Shopacheck, which are both part of the Cattles Group, are writing to 1.4 million customers, warning them that back-up storage tapes containing their personal details have been lost.

The storage tapes contained the names, addresses and payment histories of 600,000 customers and the names and addresses of another 800,000.

They also contained HR data about 18,000 current and former employees of the Cattles Group.

The loss of the tapes, from the company’s office in Birstall, West Yorkshire, was discovered at the end of November and customers were contacted by letter the following month.

The Cattles Group has been criticised for not ensuring that the data was encrypted and correctly monitored and it has appointed a data security specialist to review security procedures across all its businesses.

The security breach is being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office which has the power to impose a £500,000 fine if a data breach has occurred.

Cattles group said: “There is no evidence that the information has fallen into the wrong hands or been used maliciously.

However, Cattles takes its obligations to protect the personal data of its customers and staff extremely seriously, and we deeply regret what has happened,” it added.

Payday loans companies such Financial Services Limited and Shopacheck have expanded in recent months as a result of the economic downturn.

With household incomes stretched by the high cost of living, tax increases and pay freezes many people are turning to doorstep lenders to cover their living costs.

A recent survey suggested that one million Britons took out a payday loan in 2010 to pay their mortgage or rent.

This type of loan allows customers to borrow small amounts, usually less than £400, for up to a month, but the annual percentage rate (APR) can be more than 4,000.

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News posted: January 9, 2012

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