Woolies shoppers face receipt skip dump horror

Jeremy Phillips

The Daily Mail reports today that hundreds of customers of the recently-collapsed Woolworths retail chain in the United Kingdom are at risk of identity theft and financial fraud following the revelation that one of its now-closed stores has been dumping till receipts in a skip. The details abandoned in this fashion are customer signatures, full bank account numbers and expiry dates, relating to customers at its Loughton, Essex, branch.

Dave Whitelegg, author of the IT Security Expert blog, is quoted as saying that the receipts would sell for up to £10 each on the black market, usually via websites known as “dumping grounds’. Woolworths is now in administration and all 807 stores have closed.

This episode raises interesting “what to do next” issues. The article suggests that administrators Deloitte may have to write to each of the customers involved, to notify them that their financial details could have been compromised. Once so advised, customers may then need to close accounts, check statements and apply for new bank cards and PIN numbers. 

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