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AIBU?

To have reported this in work today?

81 replies

Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:18

I work in a press office. Someone (claiming to be a journalist, I can’t verify that he was) called us this morning with a media enquiry, he provided me with a booking reference for the customer that his article was going to be about. I spent a large part of the day diligently investigating his media enquiry and it turns out the booking reference he gave me doesn’t exist on any of our internal systems and we had no record of the customer (he gave us their name) being involved with our company either. I decided to pass this to our legal team to investigate as I don’t think he was contacting us in good faith. My colleague (junior to me) says I overreacted by passing this to legal to look into to. Was I being unreasonable? I’m almost certain his enquiry wasn’t genuine (a few more reasons why but can’t go into them on here).

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Am I being unreasonable?

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:20

Sorry if I’m being vague, I can’t really go into detail on here so trying to keep it less identifying

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MolliciousIntent · 22/09/2022 18:21

Honestly, I don't know what you expect anyone on here to be able to tell you, surely it depends completely on what your company policy is?

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PortiaWithNoBreaks · 22/09/2022 18:22

I don’t know much about your industry. Was the enquiry about personal details of a person/thing that are not otherwise public knowledge? If so it sounds like you absolutely did the right thing in not divulging this information if you cannot trust the source of the enquiry.

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ProseccoStorm · 22/09/2022 18:24

I'm in a security aware industry and I would absolutely have reported.

We have reported similar concerns in the past. Better to be safe.

In my company you'd be in trouble for not reporting, particularly if you have out any sensitive info.

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:24

PortiaWithNoBreaks · 22/09/2022 18:22

I don’t know much about your industry. Was the enquiry about personal details of a person/thing that are not otherwise public knowledge? If so it sounds like you absolutely did the right thing in not divulging this information if you cannot trust the source of the enquiry.

He was planning to write a story about a customer’s negative experience with our business. But we couldn’t verify that this customer (if the customer even does exist) he was talking to actually had a booking with our company

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IQuitUponAStar · 22/09/2022 18:24

It's often better to check this sort of thing than get caught out when it's published!

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JustAWeirdoWithNoName · 22/09/2022 18:24

If in doubt, report it. The legal team will decide whether it's something they ought to pursue 🤷

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NeverDropYourMooncup · 22/09/2022 18:25

No, you did the right thing. Its better to be too careful than risk letting information out to the wrong person.

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:25

There was no sensitive info given out and he didn’t ask for any. He just asked for a statement on the “customers” experience

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:27

He was claiming to be from a news publication but was contacting us from a personal email so I do plan to reach out to the publication he was claiming to be from to see if I can verify him. If I verify him then it means there’s someone out there telling journalists they’ve had a negative experience as a customer of us when they haven’t

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:27

My colleague said i overreacted as it was probably just a “prank”!!

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Popaholic · 22/09/2022 18:27

Yanbu. The guidance you should always follow in this situation is follow your instinct and better to over-report than under-report. You should also keep line management or senior management informed.

All sorts of phishing activities exist and the contact could have been part of an attempt to elicit information that the external person should not have access to.

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JamesBondOO7 · 22/09/2022 18:27

Why on Earth did you not start off by checking the "booking number"?

And, what the heck can the "legal team" do, lol.

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:29

JamesBondOO7 · 22/09/2022 18:27

Why on Earth did you not start off by checking the "booking number"?

And, what the heck can the "legal team" do, lol.

He wouldn’t give me the booking reference when he first called. He said he would have to ask the customer for it. Then he rang me back with it and then I looked into it and then found that the reference doesn’t exist at our end

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AtLeastPretendToCare · 22/09/2022 18:30

What exactly are you expecting legal to do here? Sounds like someone wasted your time and gave you the runaround. Which is frustrating. But not something I would expect a legal team to look into unless there is more that you haven’t told us.

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PuppyMonkey · 22/09/2022 18:31

I think I’d have just replied to him saying that you couldn’t help because the booking ref didn’t exist on your system. Confused

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:32

AtLeastPretendToCare · 22/09/2022 18:30

What exactly are you expecting legal to do here? Sounds like someone wasted your time and gave you the runaround. Which is frustrating. But not something I would expect a legal team to look into unless there is more that you haven’t told us.

When I contacted him back to say the booking reference didn’t exist, he said he published the story an hour ago so that’s another reason why I contacted legal

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Enjoysomerum · 22/09/2022 18:34

I think it's fine. Even if they just keep it for info. If anything else happens related to this/ the person speaks to someone else at or about your company it helps to build a picture of what's going on. If the legal team don't think it warrants investigating further then they won't.

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PuppyMonkey · 22/09/2022 18:38

When I contacted him back to say the booking reference didn’t exist, he said he published the story an hour ago so that’s another reason why I contacted legal

You could have mentioned that bit in your OP.Grin

Did you tell your boss?

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wackamole · 22/09/2022 18:40

If it's the policy to report suspicious inquiries to Legal and this felt suspicious to you, then you were right to report it. Legal will know whether to investigate it further; perhaps it's not of immediate concern but best to be aware in case it happens again/to someone else in PR. You'd be wasting a lot more time if you didn't report something that turned out to be a problem. If in doubt, though, I'd check with your boss rather than a junior colleague (or MN!)

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MajesticElephant · 22/09/2022 18:48

Your company should have a policy for media requests and if they don’t then it’s to your manager, or someone else appropriate. Sounds like you did the right thing!

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lannistunut · 22/09/2022 18:50

I think what you did was fine, we discuss things internally all the time. It is better for people to be aware.

I would ignore your junior colleague, what do they know anyway - do they have special knowledge/experience?

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Intothewoodland · 22/09/2022 18:52

I am in the same industry as you. I would possibly log as an adverse incident but would be unlikely to report to legal unless that's company policy.

I would presume the journalist was a freelancer (hence email address).

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ConstantNameChangers · 22/09/2022 18:58

have you reported yourself for a gdpr breech?

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Sunshineforeverandever · 22/09/2022 18:58

Intothewoodland · 22/09/2022 18:52

I am in the same industry as you. I would possibly log as an adverse incident but would be unlikely to report to legal unless that's company policy.

I would presume the journalist was a freelancer (hence email address).

There’s nothing in company policy about reporting it to legal. I am the head of the department but unfortunately don’t have authority to change our policies. Right from the moment he first contacted me it felt odd, unlike any media enquiry I have dealt with ever, it just felt odd. I can’t put my finger on why it felt odd but it just did

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