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A woman was “weirded out” after getting “creepy” messages from a city sightseeing bus tour worker – who got her number from a text and trace form.
Kat Kingsley, 25, provided her details after getting on an Original Tour bus in Windsor, Surrey, on Thursday, September 10, in case she needed to be contacted after a coronavirus outbreak.
The nanny, who boarded the bus with a child she was looking after, received a message three days later from the driver.
He wrote: “Basically, the other day after you left, I felt silly keep looking around to see if I could spot you again.
"Yesterday they sent me again to ******and I felt even more silly realising I was still hoping to see you. Along with the idea of this stupid message you've been living in my head (not really good conditions but the rent is cheap and there is plenty of free room) for three days by now, sweet ****. Joking, joking, joking.
"So today I decided to stop being silly and go full stupid and write you, knowing all the risk involved in using data that's not supposed to be for me.
"Don't get me wrong, mainly I'm just so zealous and professional to test, in advance, a totally random phone number to see if it is correct in case the NHS will need it in the future…
"Anyway, apart all the due apologies you owe me for all this silliness and stupidity you generated in me, I need you to tell me something to make me finally realise that that smile wasn't that gorgeous and it's not really you, but the fact that I like all the kats in general."
Kat, from Hayle, Cornwall, was left shaking after having to report the incident.
She said: "I bought a ticket off the man, I cannot remember his name, only that he was Italian, and before getting on the bus I had to sign my name and number on the track and trace paper which was a clipboard he was holding.
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"We got on the bus, had a great time, said our goodbyes. This was on Thursday.
"Then on Sunday night at about 10pm, I received very strange messages from the bus ticket man.
"At first I was pretty shocked, I never thought this would happen to me – but I figured I'd wait until the morning to ask for advice from people.
"When I woke up I thought about it more and more, and realised how big of an issue this actually is.
"Not only that, but he had mentioned the child's name in the messages as well. So as a duty of care for the child, I had to report it anyway.
"I suffer from situational anxiety, and I was so anxious not only that this had happened, but the fact I had to go and tell the family that unfortunately their child is involved.
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"I was quite literally shaking all morning, when I told the parents. I have a number for a man that works for the company to give me a formal apology, but I'm not sure how I want to follow through yet.
"I would just urge people to be cautious as the system is not very safe and needs re-evaluating.
"Now I don't think I will give my details over again. I'm going to be wary of everywhere else."
The company has now launched an investigation and said it "takes the matter extremely seriously”.
Kat said she feels the whole test and trace system now needs re-evaluating, and warned others of the dangers of giving over their personal details.
She added: "The government really need to re-assess the track and trace system. All it'd take is for the wrong person to get the wrong information and somebody could end up in a much worse position than I.
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"I want to know how our government can make our data safer.
"I just sort of stared at the messages trying to figure it out. It seems like a small thing when you first look at it, but when you look into it you realise it's much bigger."
Original Tour said if the incident was "proven from our investigation, this is totally unacceptable" and it would take appropriate action.
A spokesperson added: "It goes against the values of our organisation entirely."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "The unauthorised use of customers' information provided for contact tracing is unacceptable and every business must comply with all data protection legislation."
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