WHSmith 'bug' spreads customer data

A WH Smith shop Image copyright PA
Image caption High Street chain WHSmith is investigating the incident

Thousands of magazine subscribers with WHSmith have received emails containing the details of other customers owing to a processing "bug".

Details including names, addresses and phone numbers have been emailed to other customers.

The information has come from the retailer's "contact us" form, which has then been sent on to others.

Angry customers have complained on social media. WHSmith said that no payment details had been compromised.

"We have been alerted to a systems processing bug by I-subscribe, who manage our magazine subscriptions. It is a bug not a data breach," the retailer said.

"We believe that this has impacted fewer than 22 customers who left a message on the 'contact us' page where this bug was identified, that has resulted in some customers receiving emails that have been misdirected in error."

WHSmith has not revealed how many people received the details of those customers, but it is understood to be thousands.

The BBC has seen some emails which show people using the contact form to complain about the initial problem, in an apparent vicious circle.

WHSmith added that the problematic form had been taken down and those affected were being contacted with an apology.

"We can confirm that this issue has not impacted or compromised any customer passwords or payment details," it said.

The Information Commissioner's Office, which polices data security, said: "We are aware of an incident regarding WHSmith and are making enquiries."

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