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Full names, ID numbers, phone numbers, amounts owed to creditors and other personal information about indebted consumers is being sold by data vendors to debt counsellors for anything from 55c a "lead". If you've responded to advertisements online offering to reduce your instalments to creditors and to protect your assets from them, or if your debts have been handed to debt collectors, then data vendors could be in possession of your personal information - and selling it. This is despite the fact that when it is fully implemented, the Protection of Personal Information Act will make this unlawful, according to the Information Regulator. An e-mail sent from DataTech Advertising to a debt counsellor said: "We have access to debt collection data. These are people being harassed by debt collectors to recover debt or to make payment arrangements." The e-mail contained a sample showing how much information is provided per lead. It includes the full name, ID number, "handed over balance" a...

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