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First Response issues ID theft alert after burglary

Precautionary alert

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First Response Finance has warned thousands of UK customers to be wary of suspicious transactions on their accounts following the theft of storage discs from the finance firm's offices near Manchester.

Server equipment containing customer data was stolen in a break-in at its Leigh offices late last month, prompting the firm to issue a precautionary alert. Bank and card details for both current and previous customers, as well as First Response workers, was potentially exposed as a result of the burglary. However the firm stresses that a "sophisticated level of equipment and knowledge" would be needed to access the data.

First Response said the Customer alert is purely a precaution and that the risk posed by the attack are "minimal". It has alerted affected customers' banks directly. Nonetheless it advises customers to keep an eye out for "unusual transactions on their accounts", asking them to advise their banks directly of any suspicious transactions, or "unexpected offers of finance or credit". More detailed advice can be found in an alert posted on the firm's website here.

A representative for the firm was reluctant to say what exactly had been swiped beyond saying it was equipment from a server rather than backup tapes. It's unclear whether or not the data was encrypted.

Greater Manchester police are investigating the burglary, which First Response has reported to the Information Commissioner. First Response Finance is a specialist firm that handles the financing of hire purchase agreements for motor vehicles and the like. ®

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