A stranger’s data has turned up on my British Gas account

·1-min read
<span>Photograph: Alamy</span>
Photograph: Alamy

Recently, I logged into my British Gas account and found it was in my name, but with a different address, phone number and bank account number. British Gas kept insisting I must have had another account. Eventually, after a month, it removed the stranger’s details without explaining what happened. Today, I received my monthly bill, which showed a wrong amount and a wrong credit, and found my account was now in the name of an Andrew Fuller*, with his email address and balance but my address. What’s going on?
MP, Loughborough

You and at least one other customer have been put in a potentially risky situation by British Gas’s negligence. Its response is not reassuring. It tells me that a data synchronisation error resulted in your account being associated with Andrew Fuller’s email address, and that a system fault reversed the correction. British Gas says: “We’re really sorry for what has happened. An isolated system fault led to an account mix-up, but we’ve put things right to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Individuals who are concerned about how their personal data has been handled can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), but only if the company has failed to resolve the matter. You complaint has been resolved, in as much as your account is back in your name, and you have no evidence your details were revealed to others. If it happens again, consider reporting it to the ICO.

* Name has been changed

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