The Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday announced that "two
password-protected discs containing a full copy of HMRCs entire data in relation to
the payment of child benefit were sent to the NAO, by HMRCs internal post system
operated by the courier TNT. The package was not recorded or registered."
Commenting on the loss of personal data by HMRC, Lynne Jones said:
"This is a major error by HMRC with clear implications for many families in
Birmimngham. "We all have a responsibility now to watch our accounts closely, and
ensure that we report any suspicious behaviour either to HMRC or our banks."
"Learning from this current debacle, l very much hope that the
Government will re-visit its commitment to establishing a central ID register which is
completely unnecessary in relation to international requirements on biometric
passports/IDcards but which has enormous potential for criminals and terrorists."
If you have any concerns, please contact HMRC on 0845 302 1444 between
8am and 8pm on any day of the week (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and new Years Day).
If you see any suspicious activity in your bank statements, please
contact your bank immediately.
Keep your personal and confidential documents secure
Regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for unusual
Regularly obtain a copy of your credit report from credit reference
agencies Callcredit, Equifax or Experian, and monitor it for discrepancies
When you move home, redirect your mail from your old address to your
new address for at least a year.
Always shred before disposing of documentation bank and credit
card statements, utility bills, receipts, direct mail containing any personal information,
mortgage applications etc
Going away? If you're planning to be away from home, youll want
to make sure you dont leave any obvious clues, like a pile of mail on your doormat,
contact Royal Mail about their 'Keepsafe' service which will hold your mail for up to two
months, and deliver it on your return. For more information visit www.royalmail.com
Never give out any personal information to unidentified individuals or
organisations who contact you by phone, email or face-to-face
for information on different types of fraud
Never respond to e-mails asking for personal or financial information.
Be especially careful when sending personal information over the internet.
If you receive an email that warns, with little or no notice, that an
account will be shut down unless you reconfirm billing or security information, you should
not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the institution cited in the
email using a telephone number or web site address you know to be genuine.
Use up-to-date anti-virus software and a personal firewall and, if your
computer uses the Microsoft Windows operating system, keep it updated from the Microsoft
website. Be extra careful if using Internet cafes or any PC which is not your own and over
which you have no control. If in doubt, a good place to get help and guidance on how to
stay safe online is your bank's website. Check regularly for specific information and
guidance on protecting your PC and yourself online.
Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting
financial information through a web site, look for the lock icon on the
browser's status bar. It signals that personal information is secure during transmission.
Never give personal information to people calling from companies you
have not dealt with before. Always check the identity of these people by calling them
back. Obtain their office number from directory enquiries and then confirm their position
with the switchboard before speaking to them
If you have been a victim of identity fraud involving the use of
plastic cards, online banking or cheques, the matter should be reported direct to the
financial institution concerned. They will then be responsible for further investigation
and, where appropriate, onward reporting to the police. Other incidents should be reported
to the relevant organisation and, dependent on their advice, to your local police station.