Questions of cash: How did Big Brother get all these details about my daughter?

 

Q. I recently opened an online saver account linked to my current account and Visa debit card. To verify the transaction I was asked three security questions. These were: which of these phone numbers have you had; which of these addresses have you lived at; and the last, which horrified me, was in which age range is your daughter – and then they gave me her first name and middle initial. I am outraged that this information is known by the financial services companies and used by them. It feels as though Big Brother really exists. I phoned Verified by Visa to complain, and it said the security questions were generated by the credit-reference agency Equifax. I phoned Equifax, who said they only used information supplied by my bank. I phoned my bank who said they have nothing to do with it and it is down to Equifax. I would like to know whether Equifax stores all this information about me or just accesses it from a source. How do they know details about my daughter? Can I veto their use of this? Where can I complain about this intrusion into my privacy and get my daughter's name removed from these files? JN, Surrey.

A. This information is obtained from the electoral register. You removed your family's details from the publicly available version, but credit-reference agencies have access to another version on which those details are retained. They are permitted to access the full version under anti-money laundering legislation. A spokeswoman for Equifax explains: “Equifax holds the information to be able to provide it to lenders. Any information Equifax holds that is supplied by third parties has been provided on the basis of prior notification, or according to regulation. Consumers do have the right to see what data is held about them and are able to query it.” The background to this is that since 2002 there have been two versions of electoral registers: one is called the full register and the other the edited register. Individuals can opt out of the edited register, but not out of the full register. Personal details such as full names and addresses – and, for those coming up their 18th birthday, the date on which they will be 18 – are shown on the full register. This information is not normally available to commercial organisations for individuals who have opted out of the full register. However, the full register can be used by financial-services businesses for anti-money laundering purposes. It was in accordance with this that Equifax provided your personal history and family details to your bank for its security checks. The use of personal information is regulated by the Information Commissioner, whose office confirmed that the statement given to us by Equifax is correct. A spokesman added: “The Data Protection Act does not prevent credit-reference agencies from accessing the full electoral register for limited purposes – including anti-money laundering and vetting applications for credit.” As a goodwill gesture Equifax is offering you a free copy of your credit report. You remain unhappy and have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. But Equifax and your bank operated in line with the legislation, so it is difficult to see what you could achieve.

Q. I have had a Tesco Bonus Credit Card since 2010. My main reason was to accumulate points in Tesco's loyalty scheme. During 2012 I realised my Clubcard number was not accumulating points, despite me spending thousands of pounds on the card. I have been in communication with Tesco over this since December last year, with phone calls and a long email correspondence, but I have got nowhere. The Clubcard people keep referring me to the credit card division of Tesco Bank and they are playing pass the parcel with me. Eventually the customer service department sorted out the current problem and points are now being awarded to my card, but it seems Tesco is incapable of awarding me the backdated points I missed out on over the last few years. I feel cheated. PM, by email.

A. The problem, it seems, is about Tesco's database management, but the problem has now been resolved. A Tesco spokesman says: “We did not meet our high standards of customer service. We have apologised to [the reader], backdated his Clubcard points and taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.”

Q. I changed gas and electricity supplier from Npower to Co-operative Energy on 15 January. I received a statement from Npower saying it owed me £466.36 on electricity, but it will not refund this until the gas account is finalised. I have phoned Npower repeatedly since January and was eventually told in April that there was a dispute over the final gas reading. I had not been made aware of this. I have provided the current reading by phone and email. I was then given a complaint number at the beginning of May. In spite of phoning three times since then the matter has not progressed. I understand they have a further eight weeks to resolve this before I can take action through the ombudsman. I have been complaining to Npower since February. PL, Sheffield.

A. Npower says the original final reading for your transfer of gas supplies was disputed and a new meter reading was required. Given the time that had elapsed already prior to us taking up the matter with Npower, the dispute was escalated when we contacted the company. A new reading was then agreed between the two suppliers. This left a balance owing to you of a much smaller amount of £180.43. This has now been paid to you by Npower, along with a goodwill payment of £50.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
Jeffrey Archer holds up a copy of 'Kane and Abel', a book he says was ripped-off by Bollywood
books
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Fay Weldon suggested authors should tailor their work for Kindle readers
books
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

    Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

    Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

    £36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers