This leak of highly confidential information is an acute embarrassment to the advice group, which prides itself on its guidance given to consumers about the dangers of online purchases.
On its website it goes so far as to promise its users ‘convenience and peace of mind’ when they shop as well as a legal service in case where ‘something does go wrong’.
And Kim Lavely, deputy director of the Consumers’ Association, admitted that something had indeed gone wrong.
He said the leak was due to a security flaw in the Tax Calc site, forcing the Consumers’ Association to close it down.
‘As soon as we were alerted to the flaw, we removed all personal and financial details from the Tax Calc site.
‘We have already commissioned an independent security expert to conduct a thorough audit of the security of this site,’ he added.
Lavely said the site would remain shut until the ‘problem had been resolved’.
Furthermore, the Consumers’ Association has promised to contact all customers who had bought Tax Calc from this website and ‘inform them that their personal and financial details have been compromised’ and advise them to cancel their credit cards.
In addition, anyone who purchased the product can ring 0800 920 150 toll free for more information.