ICO hits Bank of Scotland with £75,000 fine over fax blunder

The bank repeatedly sent out customer information to the wrong recipients

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has served the Bank of Scotland with a fine of £75,000 after customers' account details were repeatedly faxed to the wrong recipients.

Customer information sent out included payslips, bank statements, account details and mortgage applications, along with customers' names, addresses and contact details.

The documents were faxed over a three year period, with the first incident reported to the bank in February 2009 by a third party organisation.

At least 21 documents were faxed to the unnamed third party organisation during this time, with another member of the public receiving a further 10 misdirected faxes.

Both parties had fax numbers there were one digit outside the intended recipient, which was a department within the bank that routinely uploads documents onto the bank's system.

Bank of Scotland was informed of the error on numerous occasions, but continued to make the same mistake. The ICO was eventually made aware of the matter by the third party organisation.

A spokesperson for the bank said: "The security of our customers' data is always our key priority. We apologise that, due to human error, a very small number of documents relating to 32 customers were unfortunately misdirected. This occurred over a period in which several million customer documents, using the same process, were correctly received.

"No customer suffered any harm or detriment as a result of this error. We are continually reviewing our processes to ensure our customers' information remains safe".

The Bank continued to send faxes containing customer details in error, even once the ICO had begun investigating the breaches.

Stephen Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at the ICO said: "The Bank of Scotland has continually failed to address the problems raised over its insecure use of fax machines. To send a person's financial records to the wrong fax number once is careless. To do so continually over a three year period, despite being aware of the problem, is unforgiveable and in clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

"Let us not forget that this information would have been all a criminal would ever need to carry out identity fraud. Today's penalty reflects the seriousness of this case."

In other news, the ICO recently had to return a 250,000 fine it imposed on Scottish Border Council for carelessly disposing paper records, after the Information Rights Tribunal ruled that the amount was excessive.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags icosecurityInformation Commissioner's OfficeBank of Scotlandpublic sector

More about ICO

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Derek du Preez

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place