Which? reveals huge data sharing issue

Personal and financial data is being traded on a ‘huge scale’ – and sometimes illegally – according to an investigation by Which?

Undercover researchers from the consumer group contacted 14 companies that sell data and managed to access personal information of about half a million people over the age of 50, including details about their salary and pensions.

Which? claims 10 of the firms failed to carry out proper checks to see if the researchers were from a registered company and many of the companies were in breach of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidelines.

During its investigation, Which? found: a company prepared to sell 500,000 pieces of personal information for 4p each. This included phone numbers and addresses; another firm listed more than 2,000 people with incomes of more than £35,000 for 66p an item; and a company which sent a list of phone numbers, even though most of the owners were registered with the opt-out Telephone Preference Service.

‘Our investigation highlights that sensitive personal and financial data is being traded on a huge scale, with some companies apparently willing to sell to anyone who comes calling,’ said Harry Rose, Which? Money editor.