A RECRUITMENT agency accidentally emailed a client with the personal details of more than 4,000 workers after a “computer error”.
The names and addresses of 4,122 agency workers were emailed to a client of Abingdon job agency New Recruits – including details of 2,717 people in Oxfordshire.
Government contractor Dave George, who signed up with the agency three years ago, was shocked to receive the email, which also included his own details.
The 56-year-old, of Evelin Road, Abingdon, said: “I got an email addressed just to me. As soon as I opened it there were thousands of names, addresses and post codes.
“I sent an email back to them because there was a named person on it and asked why they sent it.
“I’ve been told it was a computer glitch. But it’s an excuse, and I thought a rather poor excuse.”
New Recruits, based in Abingdon’s High Street, also has offices in Bicester, Banbury, Swindon and Walsall.
In an email – which the Oxford Mail has seen – the agency’s area manager, Shaun Ashley, apologised to Mr George for the email.
Mr Ashley said in the email: “Due to a computer error in one of our offices, a limited number of people have received a list of names from ourselves.
“Thankfully, the error was spotted and we managed to limit the amount of recipients and the error has now been rectified.
“Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused, please disregard the email.
“Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”
The apology cut little ice with Mr George.
He said: “Some people are ruthless. What’s to stop them getting in touch with these people and asking for their national insurance number and date of birth?
“I have worked for an agency before and that list could be invaluable if you wanted to sell it to another agency.
“If I was quite ruthless I could just sell it on to someone who wanted to carry out identity theft.”
The firm did not respond to the Oxford Mail’s requests for how many people received the list, how it would prevent another leak happening and whether those on the emailed list had been told.
Oxfordshire county councillor for Abingdon South, Neil Fawcett, urged other companies to learn from New Recruits’ mistake.
He said: “It’s very disappointing that a company has revealed personal details in this way.
“I would encourage any companies holding personal data of this kind to make sure they have the best possible security for their data system in place.
“Any company which isn’t sure they are up to date should review their position straight away.”
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