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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact and data security: contact with third parties: receiving information - addresses/telephone numbers

The general rule when dealing with unauthorised third parties is that we can receive information but we must not disclose information or conduct a two way conversation unless we have prior authority from the customer. If you are faced with a situation where a third party is offering vital or useful information then you should

  • make a note of the information
  • record who the third party is and
  • their relationship to the customer (if any).

You should then note all this information on the IDMS notes and other HoD notes where necessary.

You should be careful not to inadvertently give out any information to a third party and not allow yourself to be led into giving it away. If you are asked for confirmation or information you should explain that you are unable to disclose any information without the customers consent and where necessary ask the customer to call in.

If the third party is calling to set up a TTP or make payment on behalf of the customer, see DMBM511645.

Unauthorised third party gives you a new address or telephone number

Occasionally you will be in a situation where you are speaking to a third party (inbound or outbound) who has no relation to the customer but has new information which may help you locate the customer, for example new owner of premises, or customer has moved as advised by an ex partner, family member, landlord or housemate. Often they will have a new address for the customer or provide you with a new telephone number and it is of a benefit to us to accept and take note of this information. However you should not change any permanent details until the information has been verified.

If when attempting to contact a customer you are given a new address/telephone number from a third arty, then you should

  • take the information and record in the notes

    • In capitals that this is an UNVERIFIED address/telephone number
    • who gave you the information
    • and if possible the relationship to the customer or who the third party is.

For example:

‘’8899956 O UNVERIFIED ADDRESS. Third party, Mr A Brown, new owner of 72 East Way, Bloomingdale, BJ3 0AK said T/P had moved to 31 Rockit Drive, Springmoor, PB3 2DL……’’

You should then call the customer if there is a new telephone number

If the customer answers

  • update the main designatory details with the new telephone number and
  • complete verification as normal
  • ask for the new address as appropriate
  • note the record accordingly

If the customer does not answer or the telephone number is identified as not being correct

continue with normal recovery procedures

  • usually by writing to the customer
  • if address is also incorrect or not known, RLS procedures
  • note the record accordingly

If you do not have a new telephone number to verify a new address

  • write to the customer using SEES letter DMGEN10 (indirect taxes should issue a VAT484/INDC20 from SEES) and
  • B/F for 7 days

If the customer responds

  • update the main designatory details with the new address and
  • continue recovery action as normal.

If the customer does not respond or you find out that the address is not correct

  • continue with normal missing customer/RLS procedures.