A “GALLING” data breach saw a woman mistakenly sent debt collection letters intended for other people, writes Jack Thomson

Bridgewater Housing Association has been left “extremely disappointed” by the blunder that it claimed was a “one-off” and completely out of its hands. 

The social housing provider in Erskine uses a firm of sheriff officers to pursue customers who owe money for work carried out. 

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The firm in turn uses a separate mailing firm to send letters out to these customers but an error in their procedures saw a customer receive other people’s information. 

Ian McLean, chief executive of Bridgewater Housing Association, said: “We are extremely disappointed at this information security breach. 

“Bridgewater takes people’s information and its security very seriously and we have invested a great deal of time, effort and money in preparing for the implementation of the new GDP regulations so this is all the more galling, particularly since it was not of our making and was completely out of our hands. 

“We have of course been talking to the Information Commissioner about it.” 

Bridgewater has assured that only one person has mistakenly received information containing the names and addresses of other people, as well as how much they owe. 

Mr McLean added: “We have met with the sherrif officers and received a full detailed explanation as to how this error occurred. 

“They have been left in no doubt as to our disappointment about this. 

“They have contacted the person who received the letters to apologise and requested the return of the letters which were not meant for them.

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“Bridgewater have written to the customers whose details were mistakenly shared to tell them what has happened and to apologise for the mistake.”

Mr McLean has also been told the situation will not happen again.

He said: “We have concluded that this is a “one off” anomaly connected to the operation of a software package and which has been sorted. 

“We have been assured that it will not occur again.”

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