HUNDREDS of Standard Life customers had their personal and financial details made public after a blunder by the insurance giant.
The firm claims its security procedures have been tightened after sending out policy documents to the wrong customers.
One person received the financial details of 27 other customers and the mix-up is understood to have affected up to 300 people.
Standard Life has written to apologise and ask for wrongly released information to be returned. In a statement it said:
"Any personal data which we collect, record or use in any way will have appropriate safeguards applied to it to ensure that we comply with the Data Protection Act 1998."
But the error has sparked fears that the leaked details will put customers at risk of fraud.
Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, says identity theft was up 20 per cent last year to an all-time high of 414 million.
Standard Life's profits rose by 55 per cent in 2006, to 614m. It also announced plans to cut up to 1000 jobs to save a further 100m.