SBI will “redesign” Window Envelopes to safeguard PAN & Other Details

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State Bank of India will redesign its envelopes which they used for the purpose of dispatching tax refund cheques of customers in order to cover their PAN (Permanent Account Number) and contact numbers.

This decision has been taken by the SBI authorities after an activist raised this issue where the indispensable personal information was visible to anyone, which may result in mishandle, said the bank authority.

The decision has came forth after 16 months from when Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra brought the issue to the light where the window envelopes used by the bank for dispatching tax refund cheques purpose, makes it easy for someone to glance through Permanent Account Number (PAN) and contact number of the tax payer and can misuse it.

The complainer wrote to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) Governor Urijit Patel claiming that SBI was violating its directions on ‘protection of customer’s information’ by sending crucial information about customers in “unsecured envelopes”.

…these systematic failures by banks must be breaching the personal information of very large numbers of people. I had reported this matter at the highest level in SBI…, but as of now no one has even blinked … and breaching of people’s personal information is continuing,
he wrote to the RBI Governor on November 28.

He also said that he had been “pleading” to the higher authority of the SBI for the past 16 months to ensure to adhere with RBI directions, but nothing has changed.

Once RBI referred the matter to the bank i.e. SBI, the bank responded by saying that

the envelops (window envelops) in which income tax refunded orders are being dispatched to various assesses will be redesigned, so that the PAN number is not visible to anyone.

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