Benefit letter blunder

A MAN from Great Cornard has received an Ipswich woman’s benefit details in a council blunder – less than three months after his mother was also sent another person’s information, writes Elliot Pinkham.

Nathan Adams, 23, opened a housing benefits letter from Babergh District Council to find a letter addressed to a woman in Ipswich, asking for her proof of Job Seekers Allowance entitlement, sent from Ipswich Borough Council.

“My first reaction was ‘Who’s got my details, then?’ I was totally shocked when I came across the letter – I’m not even part of Ipswich Borough,” said Mr Adams.

“If I wasn’t an honest person, I could cause a big fuss with these details, I could commit fraud. If someone could do that with mine, then it’s really scary.”

In September, Mr Adams’ mother, Sonia Holland, from Second Avenue in Sudbury, received another woman’s benefit entitlement details along with her own.

“It happened to my mum and it also happened to my friend’s mum, too,” said Mr Adams.

“I’d like the councils to get themselves sorted. Simple mistakes like this can be prevented.”

Miss Holland said she had heard of another person from Glemsford receiving the wrong details as well.

“When Nathan told me he’d got that letter, I just didn’t believe it,” she said.

“Babergh District Council told me it would make sure this wouldn’t happen again but there’s now three other people it has happened to.

“One day it will happen and someone will commit fraud and that person will be unaware of it. The council is not double checking it has the right person’s information – it is just shoving letters in an envelope.

“As far as I’m concerned, when it’s anything to do with the council, you can forget about data protection.”

A spokeswoman for the shared revenues partnership said: “We want to apologise for this error and stress that we are tightening procedures to prevent it from happening again.”