UK's families on fraud alert - info on all families getting child benefit lost!

  1. From BBC

    The government's "basic competence" has been questioned by the Tories after the loss in the post of computer discs with 25m people's personal details on them.
    The child benefit data on them includes names, ages, bank and address details.
    Tory George Osborne said ministers had failed in their duty to protect people, and questioned whether Alistair Darling "is up to the job" of chancellor.
    Mr Darling said he "deeply regretted" what had happened, but stressed there was no evidence of misuse of the data.

    He said banks were monitoring all 7.25 million bank accounts whose details were on the discs, which contained the personal details of all child benefit recipients in the UK.
    People are being urged by both the chancellor and banks to keep a close eye on their accounts "for unusual activity".
    Mr Darling said that anyone who lost money as a result of any misuse of the data would be covered for losses under the banking code.

    Unrecorded delivery
    On Tuesday the chancellor told MPs how the entire child benefit database was sent by a junior official from HMRC in Newcastle to the audit office in London through courier TNT on 18 October.
    The chancellor said the official had broken the rules by downloading the data to disc and sending it by unrecorded delivery.

    But he reassured those affected that police had no reason to believe the discs had found their way into the wrong hands, nor did they have any evidence of it being used for "fraudulent purposes or criminal activity."
    Bosses at the Revenue were not told about what had happened until 8 November and Mr Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown learned about the situation on 10 November.

    The chancellor said he had delayed an emergency statement to the Commons because banks and building societies had asked for time to prepare and make sure security procedures were in place.

    Banking code
    The officials involved waited before informing their superiors in the hope that the discs would be found.
    The Metropolitan Police is leading the hunt for the discs, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which oversees the HMRC, is investigating the security breach.

    A TNT spokesman said that because the discs had not been sent as recorded it was not possible to verify if they had ever been posted. He added that the company would not be responsible for any losses incurred.

    Mr Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said that "people are asking" whether the Chancellor Alistair Darling was up to the job.
    He told BBC Breakfast that the first duty of any government was to protect citizens, and it had failed to do so.
    Mr Darling's job "is clearly on the line", Mr Osborne said, adding that he had a matter of "days or weeks to prove" he was up to the job.

    Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Vince Cable asked: "Where does the buck stop in this government?"
    Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University's computer laboratory thinks the government's strategy of centralising information is too risky.
    He said: "This was an accident waiting to happen and if it hadn't happened in this particular case it would have happened elsewhere."


    National insurance number
    Name, address and birth date
    Partner's details
    Names, sex and age of children
    Bank/savings account details

    Available to the parents, normally mother, of every child in UK under 16
    Older children in full-time education still eligible
    Taken up by almost 100%
    It amounts to £18.10 a week for a first-born child
    For subsequent children - it amounts to £12.10 a week

  2. Amazing total incompetence. Do you realise all the celebs and rich people that are on those discs? Names, addresses, bank details everything. The benefit is not means tested so everyone with a child under 16 gets it regardless of who they are or whether the need it. So Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Prince Edward, Richard Branson, Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney etc. etc. they are all on as well as me!
  3. yup- I'm on it too, plus my bank account- gulp...

    Glynis, that had never occurred to me about all the celeb details- that is quite funny.

    (in a 'not-a-funny-situation-at-all' sort of way, of course)
  4. That eBay listing is no longer available, thank God.

    Unreal. Whoever is responsible for this will fall hard.

    My prayers to our pals on the other side of the pond that you will NOT be afftected by this foul-up.