Illegal Use of Personal Information?

  douglas1973 14:22 28 Jan 2008

On 26 January a Winter 2008 Sales brochure was received in the post from Joseph Turner, mens' shirtmakers in Yorkshire. Surprisingly it was addressed to my wife, not to me. Receiving this out of the blue concerned us as we suspected that someone might have been using our credit card details as curiously happened about a year ago with T.M. Lewin Shirtmakers,London, a firm that we also had never had any dealings with (on finding out we had our cards replaced). I sent an email to Joseph Turner voicing my concerns and asking how they had obtained our names and address. They replied promptly saying that they had bought our names and address from a company called Experian (who provide credit reports). Some time ago I remember contemplating, out of curiosity, asking for a report on myself from them but at the last minute backed out from doing so because of the cost. This is the only instance where I can imagine that they obtained my personal details though I do sometimes visit the Upmystreet website where Experian advertise (are they connected?). My question is: Are they legally entitled to sell our personal data?

  Clapton is God 14:34 28 Jan 2008

"Are they legally entitled to sell our personal data?"

Yes, they are.

And, believe it or not, one of the biggest sellers of personal data is the DVLA

  Clapton is God 14:35 28 Jan 2008
  wiz-king 14:58 28 Jan 2008

Most catalogues and websites have a box where you can tick to stop firms selling your data to other firms, but it is often hard to find. Another good data source is survey forms, which your wife may have filled in, most of them are shared round amongst many firms.

  interzone55 15:01 28 Jan 2008

Experian & Equifax are the main credit rating agencies in the UK. They have everyone's details.

It's quite scary when you sign up with them for a credit report, because they have details of every loan & credit agreement you've ever had.

One important point. If you find an error on your account you'll have to correct it through both agencies, as I've just found out when an error I corrected (added a note of correction) two years ago on Experian was still showing on Equifax.

  lofty29 15:25 28 Jan 2008

You will have to face up to it, as soon as anyone has your name,address, and t/number everyone has access to it.

  douglas1973 15:30 28 Jan 2008

Thanks everybody. As you say, I will have to live with it. Can't quite see the point of the Data Protection Act but I don't understand anything anymore...

  spuds 16:47 28 Jan 2008

Go into any public library, and ask to see the electoral register. You may find all your details there on public display.

  Kemistri 16:53 28 Jan 2008

"....I remember contemplating, out of curiosity, asking for a report on myself from them but at the last minute backed out from doing so because of the cost."

What - £2? You can even get it for no outlay if you're willing to take a free trial and then cancel it.

  PalaeoBill 17:08 28 Jan 2008

On several occasions on different trips to the USA my credit card was refused. There was never a problem using it in the UK over many years. Correspondence with the card vendor failed to identify the problem so I closed the account. I then got a different one through my bank which has worked just fine. But since I closed the original account I have had junk mail on a daily basis from just about every credit card vendor I can think of. I wondered why this was, my bank denied it had anything to do with them and I had reached the point that I was paranoid about browsing the internet. (I had looked at a few credit card sites to see what deals were available before I got one through the bank). It never occured to me that it could be down to a company like Equifax or Experian.

  ened 17:35 28 Jan 2008

Your name and details can be bandied about to all and sundry, yet,if a crime is committed against you (like illegal use of your details) you are not allowed to be told who it is because of the Data Protection Act.

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