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Clients fret over lost'n found bills

(Global Times)

15:20, September 20, 2011

Dozens of clients were anxious about someone getting their hands on their banking details and misusing the protected information on Monday, after hundreds of unopened credit card bills were discovered by a local resident at a Pudong New Area recycling station in Shanghai.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, responsible for issuing the bills, blamed postal services for the situation, saying the mail should have never turned up like that at the site in the district's Zhuqiao town.

"All envelopes had postage stamps and should have been sent to the corresponding addresses," a senior official from Shanghai Pudong Development Bank's credit card center, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times on Monday. "We expect the mail we issue to be delivered to our clients."

The senior official added that the bank follows strict procedures designed to ensure that mail containing personal banking information is handled appropriately, so that the privacy of clients is protected.

"In the event of a mailing problem, affected notices are returned to the bank, where they are kept on file for six months before they are properly destroyed," she said. "Bills should never end up at recycling stations without going through a shredder first."

The bank on Monday, meanwhile, tried to calm concerned customers like Ma Wei, who worried about her home address and banking information winding up in the wrong hands and subsequently being used for credit fraud.

"What if I'm held to charges that aren't mine?" she told the Global Times on Monday.

But the senior officer said that since its credit card bills do not print the account number in full and given that personal information of credit card holders – including security digits and telephone numbers – is omitted for protection, the chances of fraud remain low.

In response to the bank's criticism on Monday, the Pudong Post Office denied it was to blame, saying that an investigation had been started to determine how the bills wound up at the recycling station.

"No evidence suggests that the bills were wrongly disposed of by the post office at this time," Zhang Jianhua, deputy director of the post office told the Global Times on Monday. "But, the public can be assured that we're taking the case seriously and working hard to find out what went wrong."

Postal officers caught discarding mail without authorization risk up to two years in jail, according to Chinese law.

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