Despite the fact that banks are forever lecturing their customers about personal security, and the risk of id theft, it seems that when it comes to practicing what they preach they are found to be wanting.
It has been revealed that high street banks are dumping details of their customers' accounts on the street.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, says that he has received "highly disturbing" evidence that personal information, including bank statements and loan applications, are being left in bin bags on streets throughout the UK.
Needless to say, this exposes the banks' customers to a severe risk of id theft and fraud. Thomas is considering taking enforcement action against those financial institutions that are failing to apply adequate security over customer details. They could face unlimited fines.
His office is investigating; the Post Office, HSBC, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Thomas is quoted in an interview saying:
"There have been cases now which have quite strong prima facie evidence which we are urgently investigating, of banks' rubbish bags found on the public highway outside banks.
And I have seen some of these where, open up the rubbish bag and there you find bank statements".
Cases being examined by his office include an application for a current account (which had the individual's name, address, date of birth, telephone number, previous address, current account number, mother's maiden names and place of birth) which was found in the rubbish.
Detective Chief Inspector Derek Robertson has warned that criminal gangs have infiltrated about 10% of Glasgow's financial call centres, stealing customers' identities and robbing them of thousands of pounds.
Another nail in the coffin of the already tarnished reputation of Britain's financial services industry.
To read the full interview with Richard Thomas, visit The Thomas Interview.