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HM Revenue compromises data of millions

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21/11/2007

HM Revenue has admitted losing sensitive data of millions of child benefit claimants, inclusing their sort codes, bank account and national insurance numbers and personal details. There is no evidence that the data has fallen into criminal hands. 

Paul Smee, APACS chief executive, said: “Whilst this incident is extremely serious, at this stage customers should not be unduly concerned. The banking industry has done all it can to protect its customers accounts and will continue to do so. In the event that anyone is the innocent victim of fraud as a result of this incident customers can have peace of mind that they enjoy protection under the Banking Code which means that they should not suffer any financial loss as a result.

“There is no need for customers to ask for a new account or to contact their bank or building society. There is no evidence of an increase in suspicious activity on those customers’ accounts since the data was mislaid on 18th October.We are confident that every action has been taken by HMRC and the banking industry to minimise the risk of any fraud.”

But Kevin Mountford, head of savings and current accounts at price comparison site, moneysupermarket.com said customers should be worried. “Everyone must take immediate action to take stock of their finances. There are 25 million people in imminent danger of suffering identity theft and financial losses. The person in possession of these discs has names, addresses, dates of birth, National Insurance Numbers and bank account details – everything needed to conduct a massive fraud. This is an absolutely unacceptable breach – probably the most serious one in British banking history.”

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