A NEW warning has gone out about firms trying to trick companies with false claims about services to register them under the 1998 Data Protection Act.

Holders of most personal data must pay an annual fee of £35 to the Information Commissioner and give a description of the personal data they process.

But several organisations have written to businesses nationwide with official-looking names and often claiming the letter is a Final Notice saying they must pay a fee of £95 plus VAT to register.

It is feared organisations still not familiar with data protection law may be tricked.

Several Huddersfield businesses have complained to the Examiner that they have received this sort of letter and wondered if they should pay.

The Information Commissioner, a Government Office, has said they should not - and if they receive these letters they should complain to West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service or even the police.

The Information Commissioner's office is in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Data holders can register with Information Commissioner directly for £35.

A spokeswoman for the office said: "The only genuine Information Commissioner's office is this one in Wilmslow.

"It has come to our attention that individuals posing as `collectors on behalf of data protection' are writing to businesses or even visiting them requesting payment for Data Protection Registration.

"These `collectors' may even produce identification cards and receipt books."

She added: "There is no connection between the Information Commissioner and such individuals. The Commissioner advises those approached in this way not to make any payment and to notify the local police."

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has now published a long list of companies trying to get money in this way.

The companies claim they will send the information on to the Information Commissioner.

The spokeswoman said: "The Commissioner is keen to make clear there is no connection between this office and these businesses.

"He has been disturbed that a number of people have been confused and troubled by the wording and tone of some of the correspondence issued by these businesses.

"His office is co-operating with other relevant authorities who are exploring what action might be taken."


* Data Protection Act Registration Service, 51 Brackley, St Georges, Manchester M15 4FS.

* Data Protection Agency Services Ltd, 37-39 Shakespeares St, Southport PR8 5AB.

* Data Protection Agency Registration Services Ltd, Unit 5, Omega House, Capital Business Park, Kirkby Bank Rd, Kirkby, Liverpool L33 7SY.

* Data Protection Agency Registration Services, Omega House, Lloyds Buildings, 126-128 Stanford St Central, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 6AG.

* Data Protection Agency Registrations, 2 Ambleside Road, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire FY8 2LJ.

* Data Protection Agency Registrations, Criterion House, 3 Thorngrove Ave, Baguley, Manchester M23 9PQ.

* Data Protection Registration Agency, Rugby House, 23 Rugby Drive, Aintree, Liverpool L10 8JU.

* Data Protection Registration Agency, Hyde House, 6 Plain Pitt St, Hyde Cheshire SK14 4QL.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Padgate House, 19a Princess Ave, Padgate, Warrington WA1 3TS.

* Data Registration Services Agency, 5 Little Wade, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 4LE.

* Data Protection Agency Services, 64 Brownley Road, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 1PY.

* Data Protection Enforcement Agency (Data Protection Act Registration Service), Murlain Centre, Union St, Chester CH1 1QP.

* Data Protection (Renewals), Hawks House, 2 Talman Grove, Ashton in Makerfield WN4 8XW.

* Data Processing Protection Corporation, DPPC, PO Box 56, Guisborough TS14 6WT.

* Crown Data Collection Enforcement Agency, 193 Market St, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 1HF.

* Data Protection Corporation, PO Box 56, Guisborough TS14 6WT.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Summerseat House, Liverpool L3 6HB.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Fleetwood House, Fleetwood FY7 7BH.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Harrington House, 90 Harrington Road, South Norwood, London SE25 4LY.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Atlantic House, 1st Floor, 56 Ramsbottom Street, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 3AN.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Hyde House, 193 Market Street, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 1HF.

* Data Protection Agency Services, 4 Haslow Place, Blackpool FY3 7PE.

* Data Protection Bureau, PO BOX 10899, Birmingham B29 6ZR.

* Data Protection (Renewals), Hilton House, 71-73 Chapel Street, Manchester M3 5BZ.

* Data Protection Enforcement Agency, Hilton House, 71-73 Chapel Street, Manchester, M3 5BZ.

* Data Protection Agency Services, Sherbourne House, 80 Sherbourne Road, Blackpool FY1 2PQ.

* Data Protection Registration Services, Waterside House, Railshead Road, Isleworth TW7 7BY.

* DPAS (Renewals), 30 Myers Road West, Crosby L23 0RU.

* Data Protection (Renewals), Browning House, 19 Hallgarth Terrace, Ferry Hill, County Durham DL17 8HZ.