UK - The Pensions Trust has written to 109,000 members of six of its pension schemes, after a laptop computer containing confidential data was stolen last March.

The theft occurred at the offices in Marlow, Buckinghamshire of NorthgateArinso, a global HR software and services provider used by the Pensions Trust. The laptop was held in a locked room in a secure building but officials said that police think the aim was to steal the computer itself rather than personal details.

The Pensions Trust runs 39 multi-employer schemes for the charitable and non-profit making sector.

The schemes affected were Social Housing, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Independent Schools, Flexible Retirement Plan, Growth Plan (Series 1,2 & 3) and Unified Ethical Plan.

The data, which was correct as of May 2007 and had been transferred to the laptop for training purposes, included the names, dates of birth, employer, national insurance numbers, salary details and, for individuals already receiving their pensions, their bank details. Some addresses were also in the database.

The information was password-protected and the police said there was no evidence that any of the data had been accessed or used.

The Pension Trust has since hired CIFAS, a membership organisation dedicated to the prevention of financial crime which provides fraud prevention services, to protect all individuals whose details were contained in the stolen laptop. It has also written to all the employers participating in its schemes, and set up a helpline for employers and members.

Lynda Howe, chair of trustees of the Pensions Trust, said: "The Pensions Trust has now withdrawn access to personal member data from NorthgateArinso and has also instructed them to delete any existing personal member data they hold."

Meanwhile, NorthgateArinso has hired independent specialists to conduct a review.

It has also banned the inputting of customer data on to portable computer equipment.

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