Argos has acted to improve online shoppers’ security after it emerged an undisclosed number of customers’ credit card details could have been made vulnerable to fraud.

The retailer, owned by Home Retail Group, had sent shoppers’ unencrypted credit card and security details in emails confirming their orders. If fraudsters accessed such emails they would potentially be able to steal the sensitive data.

The problem emerged after an Argos customer, Tony Graham, noticed the information in an order confirmation sent to him and alerted specialist magazine PC Pro.

An Argos spokesman said: “Argos takes the security of its customers’ data extremely seriously. Argos was contacted by the customer referred to and has taken remedial action. We also contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said breaches of individuals’ privacy are taken “very seriously” and organisations should have adequate safeguards. She said: “We will be looking into how the data breach occurred and will consider what remedial action needs to be taken to prevent any further breaches.”

Home Retail was scheduled to issue a trading update as Retail Week went to press.