Do you know who you give your information to?

“Excuse me, do you have a few minutes to spare?” is the usual opening line from a ‘chugger’ the name now given to the groups of young people that are in the High Street,
usually in a diamond or square formation, to stop people and ask them to donate to the charity they represent. The name comes from combining charity with mugger….

Now, the vast majority of people walk straight past them, not making eye contact or by
just ignoring them but some still feel it impolite or support the charity so they stop and have a ‘chat’ with one of the chuggers.

They are always very pleasant and have a clip-board on which they have a series of
structured questions to follow and to get the most information about you they can without you realising it. This is done by asking non-related questions such as;

“Are you a home owner?

“Where do you shop?”

“What type of car do you drive?” etc, etc…..

You find yourself answering all these questions (and a lot more besides!) as they all sound innocuous but what are you actually telling this stranger, standing in front of you? You are giving them a profile of your lifestyles and they can then score the questions and at the end they will ask you something like “So, would you be able to donate £10 a month to save ancient buildings?” Because you have already given them so much information their calculations show that this is the probable amount of money you could afford and once you are asked they will try and persuade you to agree.

When you have finally been persuaded that this is what you want to do they produce another piece of paper, the direct debit mandate or credit/debit card mandate. Now this is where common sense should prevail, the chugger is asking you for your bank or card details so they can fill the form in for you but instead of just asking them for the form to complete at home for yourself, a lot of people just give them the information, in the middle of a busy street……..

What happens to all this information you have just given them? The chugger is meant to either give you a data protection statement to read or explain to you who will be processing (using) your information, who they will share it with and also give you the chance to say you do not want them to pass it on to anyone else. They should also make sure that once you have signed the form to agree to what you want to do, the form is kept safe and secure, rather than what normally happens where they add it to some others in a plastic folder they are holding.

So, what can you do? If you want to donate to the charity, ask the chugger for a leaflet
explaining about what they do and it will also show you how to donate, safely! Do not give out your personal information on the street, especially not your bank details, as this is the easiest way to lose your identity.

If you have any concerns that you or your company may not be processing personal
information in line with the Act, please feel free to contact KPG Professional Services on or by calling 07413 943228 for help and guidance.

About KPG Professional Services

Kevin has been working in the Data Protection field for over 20 years with The Post Office, Royal Mail Marketing, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association Ltd. He is also trained in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and has supplied expertise and support in this discipline for the past 4 years. In his leisure time Kevin is a presenter on Hospital Radio, an SRU rugby referee and referee coach and also the stadium announcer at McDiarmid Park for his team St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League.
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