Issued By
Cumbria County Council

DATA PROTECTION SCAM ALERT BY TRADING STANDARDS & OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING

Cumbria Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading want to hear from you if you’ve received a letter headed ‘Crown Data Collection Enforcement Agency’. The letters marked ‘Urgent Notice’ invite businesses to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. To do this the letter instructs you to complete the attached form and return it together with the £95 fee to Crown Data Collection Enforcement Agency at 193 Market Street, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 1HF.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Cumbria Trading Standards, said “The letter looks very official. This firm seem to be taking advantage of recent changes in the Data Protection Act. To find out if your business needs to register, I suggest that you contact the Data Protection Registry direct by ‘phoning 01625 545745 or log on to www.dpr.gov.uk . Registration, if required, will cost just £35”.

In the last 2 weeks Cumbria Trading Standards have had 16 enquiries from businesses from all parts of the County who have received this letter. This scam mirrors closely an earlier mailshot in November 2002 by a firm from Warrington called Data Protection Agency Services, which resulted in over 200 businesses contacting Cumbria Trading Standards.

Notes for Editors:

1. Any business receiving the Crown Data letter is invited to contact their local Trading Standards office, who will forward their details to the Office of Fair Trading.

2. Trading Standards Offices in Cumbria are based at:

County Offices, Kendal   Tel: 01539 773577
74 Abbey Road, Barrow in Furness   Tel: 01229 894520
13 Earl Street, Carlisle   Tel: 01228 607447
Fairfield, Station Road, Cockermouth   Tel: 01900 325980
Richmond House, Catherine Street, Whitehaven   Tel: 01946 852880

3. The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 1/3/00. It sets rules for processing personal information and applies to some paper records as well as those held on computer.

4. For more information about this press release contact Patrick Thomas on 01539 773591 or Phil Ashcroft on 01539 773586 at Cumbria Trading Standards.