Personal and financial data is being traded on a ‘huge scale’, sometimes illegally and for as little as 4p, consumer group Which? has revealed.
Investigating 14 companies that sell data, Which? gained access to the personal data of half a million over 50s, including details of their salaries and pensions. Ten of the 14 firms reportedly failed to carry out proper checks on the researchers, breaching guidelines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
In order to share data, companies must show consumers have “knowingly and freely given” their full consent.
However, during the investigation Which? found one company prepared to sell 500,000 pieces of personal information for 4p each; another firm offering details of 2000 people with incomes over £35k for 66p an item and one business even sent a list of phone numbers, even though most of the owners had opted-out of data sharing via the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Harry Rose, Which? Money editor, commented: “Our investigation highlights that sensitive personal and financial data is being traded on a huge scale, with some companies apparently willing to sell to anyone who comes calling.”
At present, Which? advises consumer not to share their data with third parties as such information can help scammers.