Elsewhere online
September 01, 2015

Survey Error Brings Hundreds of Charity Calls to Elderly Man

Amid a growing outcry in Britain over serial charity solicitations of the elderly, the Daily Mail traces how an 87-year-old dementia sufferer received more than 700 cold calls from nonprofit groups, some of which sold his personal details to questionable companies.

Samuel Rae was hit by the bombardment after he filled out a lifestyle survey but neglected to check a box indicating he did not want his details shared. He ended up on a list that was purchased by dozens of charities, including prominent groups such as Unicef, the British Red Cross, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Several nonprofits sold the list on to commercial companies, including some that have been investigated for alleged prize scams targeting vulnerable people.

Mr. Rae lost more than $50,000 in cons perpetrated by organizations that accessed his details, according to his son. The United Kingdom Information Commissioner's Office, which enforces data and privacy regulations, said it would investigate whether any charities violated the law in their handling of Mr. Rae's information.