Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Loss of personal data from HMRC

I guess most people will have heard about this shocking act of incompetence.

Some CDs being sent between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the National Audit Office (NAO) have gone 'missing'.

These CDs contain child benefit details of 7.25 million families (about 25 million people), with information including names, addresses, dates of birth, bank account and National Insurance numbers.

The status of these discs is unknown and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that so far there is no suggestion that anything dodgy has happened as a result of the discs' loss.

The worrying point here is that if the discs fall into the wrong hands, the information could be exploited for identity fraud.

Advice from ITsafe:
  • Ensure you are following good password procedures as explained by GetSafeOnline - if any of your passwords are things like date of birth or name, these should be changed.
  • Do not give out any personal information or account information if anyone contacts you unexpectedly, and in particular be vigilant for spoof emails, which could, if this additional information became available, look more convincing if they claim to come from HMRC or banks.
  • Monitor your bills, invoices, receipts and bank statement entries for things you do not recognise, and if you find any, inform your bank immediately: if you are the innocent victim of banking fraud you will not have to pay.
Further details on the issue is available from HMRC and from APACS, the Banking organisation:

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