Legal watchdog accidentally leaks email addresses of 160 customers

PUBLISHED: 13:53 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11 16 July 2019

The Legal Ombudsman has apologised for the data breach. Image:

The Legal Ombudsman has apologised for the data breach. Image:

The watchdog charged with investigating complaints against solicitors has accidentally leaked the email addresses of around 160 angry customers.

The emails of people who complained to the Legal Ombudsman were shared by the watchdog when it sent a customer satisfaction survey in June to the complainants.

Georgina Clark, 51, from King's Lynn, said she received an email from the Ombudsman on June 18 entitled "Please help us to improve our Customer Service".

But rather than disguising the email addresses of the customers, all addresses were visible. The Ombudsman attempted to recall the email 22 minutes later, but by then it was too late.

It apologised about an hour later saying it had reported the incident to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) which investigates data breaches.

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They said in the email: "We are writing to let you know of a data security breach that involves your personal information.

"We take protection of your personal information very seriously and once again, we apologise for the inconvenience caused."

Mrs Clark, who works as a HR manager, said she has since received about 40 emails from other customers who were now looking at taking legal action against the Ombudsman.

"I am currently exploring the data breach but I am equally frustrated with the service that the Ombudsman provided," she said.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman said: "Our organisation acted promptly and thoroughly in response to the data breach. The ICO has since confirmed that no further action will be required as they were satisfied with the remedial actions taken.

"We would once again like to reiterate to our customers that we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and reassure them the matter has been rapidly remedied."

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