Daily Archives: October 20, 2008

Warning to SPCK/SSG Bookshop Customers and Staff: Your Personal Data is At Risk

Pile of rubbish seen through the window

Cambridge, 26 August 2008: Pile of debris seen through the window

Phil Groom writes:

What, exactly, is in these bags and boxes left behind by SSG when this shop was abandoned? Is it merely rubbish?

We will probably never know. But in another shop, now let to new tenants, we found out: amongst other things, personnel records and customer credit card slips.

A former member of staff, who does not wish to be identified, was passing the shop where s/he once worked as the new tenants were moving in. Seeing them clearing out the remains of SSG’s tenancy, s/he asked if s/he could take some of the debris off their hands. “Sure,” they said, and, amongst other things, they handed over a metal filing box that had been left behind.

At home, s/he opened the box and discovered:

… personal material about one staff member who had a disability and was employed with help from […] – there are several of […]’s confidential reports in there. Also included are job applications, staff addresses and phone numbers… there is even a month’s worth of till reconciliations, including the PDQ machine slips, which, if you know anything about the SPCK tills, means that I have a whole batch of credit card details with the full number and start finish dates…

This may be a one-off or it may be more widespread: we have no way of knowing. But if you have shopped in or worked for an SPCK/SSG Bookshop, be aware: your personal data is at risk; identity fraud and credit card scams are a very real possibility. Due diligence on data protection is not being exercised as the former shops are being abandoned.

On Friday I posted about “Two years of horror” – the Brewers’ Legacy to Britain: today, exactly two years on, we begin to see the true colours of that legacy in this act of gross negligence.

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