Thursday, 10 June 2010

OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy

OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy - 10/06/2010
OFT’s review to tackle data accuracy
The Office of Fair Trading is considering a more thorough review of data accuracy elements in its debt collection guidance, after an industry lobbying campaign.

The OFT’s much delayed review of its debt collection guidance is due to focus in part on the issue of data accuracy, specifically concerns where people are chased for debts on the basis of false or wrong information provided by creditors to debt collection companies.

The Credit Services Association has been lobbying the OFT to act more decisively, through its review, on data quality, tracing and creditors’ responsibilities.

After fears that the regulator might not have considered these concerns in sufficient depth, the CSA persuaded the OFT to take a much more comprehensive review of responsibilities over data quality and seek feedback from major trade bodies. The OFT was previously believed to be conducting only a minor update to its guidance.

Peter Wallwork (pictured), chief executive of the CSA and Debt Buyers & Sellers Group (DBSG), said the OFT’s decision to consult with major stakeholders has been largely achieved through the association’s continued dialogue with the regulator.

Tracing remains one of the toughest challenges for debt collection agencies (DCAs) and an area that generates most complaints.

Wallwork said: "Unless and until the OFT confronts the issue of data accuracy, the businesses at the end of the collections cycle – notably our members – will continue to shoulder the blame for things that go wrong that are invariably beyond their control."

CSA members handle more than 15 million cases annually but not all of the information they receive about debtors is accurate.

The trade body said it is not uncommon for the information to contain an out-of-date address or an incorrect initial. This can result in a mis-trace that invariably means that innocent individuals are caught up in the process.

There is also no agreed mechanism for correcting that data so that if and when it is passed on to another agency, or an agency is pursuing multiple debts, the same mistake is not repeated.

Wallwork added: "Of course, the creditor cannot be held responsible for all data issues but there is still much they can do to help the process. We have actively lobbied for a full review to sort this issue once and for all.

"Why should the collections agency be blamed for the quality of data over which they have no control, and why should debtors be allowed to abscond without leaving their creditors a forwarding address?

"The OFT must tackle the issue the right way around and the association must encourage better data accuracy."

The review of the guidance, first mooted more than 12 months ago, is now not expected before July.

Source: Credit Today

Monday, 17 May 2010

National Change of Address Service Update

You may have already heard the announcement by Royal Mail of changes to their National Change of Address (NCOA) and Universal Suppression Service (USS) services. The old services will be withdrawn and replaced by two new services, NCOA Suppress and NCOA Update, from 1st July 2010. Both of the new services use data obtained from Royal Mail's Redirection service whereby consumers who have moved have mail addressed to their old house forwarded automatically to their new address. The redirection service typically operates for a period of between one and twelve months.
The NCOA Suppress file replaces the old USS service and provides gone-away suppression or permanent flagging. Redirection data only appears on this file when the redirection has expired.
The NCOA Update service allows new addresses to replace the old address or to be added to your file. Redirections that are active and those that have lapsed will appear on this file although not all redirections will be present as customers may opt out when they complete Royal Mail's Redirection form.
Royal Mail require that all users of the new services sign an End User Licence (EUL) before they can use the service. Unfortunately, even if you have signed an EUL for the old service it will still be necessary to sign the new EUL.
The good news is that CNM is ready to implement the new services as soon as the new files are ready. If you are a regular user of NCOA from CNM then you will not notice the changeover apart from the signing the new EUL.
UPDATE: The new NCOA files will not be available from Royal Mail until 12 July. The old services will be in use until then.

CNM Development Team

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Free Data Audit


There aren't many things in life that are FREE!

However if you send us your data for an audit we automatically provide you with a free data audit report to detail any issues that we find with your data.
The audit is Free with no obligation to purchase and normally takes just a few hours.

So if you want something  for free that can really help your business and give you an insight into your data, don't hesitate to contact us.

CNM Data Cleansing


CNM Team

Friday, 16 April 2010

What is Data Cleansing?

Data Cleansing is the process for ensuring that data sets are accurate and consistent. The term Data Cleansing covers a very broad range of data processing stages and involves various other databases and data sets to establish the accuracy of data.

One of the first processes that takes place in data cleansing is to check and update the addresses to ensure that they are Postcode Address File (PAF) compliant. Once we have updated all the addresses to make them as accurate as possible we now load the file into a our de-duplication system which finds any duplicated records and removes them into a separate file.

Now we have a unique file with an up-to-date and accurate set of addresses for each of our records we can begin to check the names against the addresses to ensure that the person still resides at the given address. If it is found that the person has moved addresses we will overwrite the old address with the new address and no change is made if the person is living at the address stated.

Now we have confirmed that the people in the dataset reside at the appropriate address we also need to ensure that they have not died recently. This is a very important stage of Data Cleansing as contacting the relatives of people who have just died is not only upsetting to the recipient but is also brand damaging. To check for deceased the file is checked against a national database registry of the deceased.

So to recap so far we have checked the addresses are correct, that the person in each record resides at the given address and ensured that they are still living.

So what's next, well that all depends on how you keep in touch with your clients. If you send out regular mailings then the above is adequate for your needs, but if you plan on contacting them by telephone we need to ensure that the telephone numbers are accurate. In order to add or update telephone numbers in the dataset we need to check them against a database that contains all of the phone numbers within the UK. The numbers are matched by name and address and in most cases only the surname is required.

I hope that gives you some insight into how data cleansing work, please keep checking back on this post as it will be updated regularly.

You can read more here: What is Data Cleansing


CNM Team

.tel site goes live

Hi All,

Just to announce that our site has now gone live, please give us a visit and let us know what you think.

A new blog coming soon to let you all no how to create your own .tel site.

Thanks for reading
CNM Development Team

Security: Zeus botnet exploits unpatched PDF flaw

Researchers spot first widespread attack using Reader, Acrobat design flaw

The Zeus botnet is now using an unpatched flaw in Adobe's PDF document format to infect users with malicious code, security researchers said today.

The attacks come less than a week after other experts predicted that hackers would soon exploit the "/Launch" design flaw in PDF documents to install malware on unsuspecting users' computers.

Zeus botnet exploits unpatched PDF flaw

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Get a Free Data Audit

Free Data Audit The quality of your customer database is continually degenerating, by carrying out a Free Data Audit we are able to analyse the quality of your data and identify any quality issues.  These may include:
  1. Duplicate Records
  2. Deceased Records
  3. Gone-Away Records
  4. Inaccurate Addresses & Postcodes
  5. Registration to Preference Services
We will provide you with a detailed report and further explanation of our findings.  We can also give you an idea of cost savings and ways to minimise potential damage to brand image by mailing to those who have registered to receive no mailings, or those deceased.
By maintaining the quality of your mailing or customer database, it allows you to:
  1. Verify Contact Details
  2. Improve Sales
  3. Enhance Data Accuracy
  4. Improve Address Quality
  5. Remove Out Of Date and Duplicate Records
To find out more about this and other services that we offer please use our enquiry form or visit our contacts page for further contact information.
Click here to view a sample of our Data Audit. (pdf doc)

CNM make PGP Encryption available

Data Encryption
CNM supports the OpenPGP encryption standard. Two popular software packages that comply with OpenPGP are PGP (from PGP Corporation) and GnuPG (Gnu Privacy Guard or GPG). In addition there are many other less-common packages that implement OpenPGP. OpenPGP is a public key encryption methodology that requires the exchange of public keys. Therefore, some minor setup is required before files can be encrypted.

CNM Encryption

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a computer program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication. PGP is often used for signing, encrypting and decrypting e-mails to increase the security of e-mail communications. It was created by Philip Zimmermann in 1991.
PGP and similar products follow the OpenPGP standard (RFC 4880) for encrypting and decrypting data.

Read More:

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Debt Tracing Services

CNM Limited has worked with Credit Reference data for many years providing fully automated batch tracing services to the debt recovery and credit services sector.
Our Tracing Service allows you to select the exact criteria of matches you require:
  • Exact Matches based on Forename, Surname and Date of Birth
  • Name & Date of Birth search capability
  • Select only New Trace Addresses less than 12 months old
  • Mortality Checking at Original and New Address
  • Telephone Number Appending with Ex-directory Flagging
  • Date of Birth Verification and Appending where none supplied
  • Neighbours Information – Names, Addresses and Telephone Numbers
How to send your data:
Simply email your data to us in your preferred format (CSV is recommended) and we ask that the following information be supplied to ensure the most accurate matches are achieved:
  • Title
  • Forename
  • Surname
  • Address and Postcode
  • Date of Birth
When to expect your results:
We aim to return data within 48 hours of receipt although 24 hours is usually achieved.

Tracing Service

Consumer Data

The database contains over 37 million records with profiled information.  Again it is updated daily/weekly and contains over 300 different profiles.
  • Ages of Occupants
  • Family Make-Up
  • House Value & Condition
  • Years Resident
  • Has a Telephone
  • Sex of Occupants
  • Affluence Level: e.g. Rich/Average
  • Sub-Prime Characteristics: e.g. CCJ’s
  • Use of Credit Card, Loans, etc
  • Income Levels, Job Type

All Databases

All databases are run on a regular basis against the appropriate suppression files, e.g. National change of address, Mortality, Business Suppression File, Postcode Address File. Data is also screened against Preference files such as TPS, CTPS, MPS, and FPS. Ensuring that delivered data is mailable and/or callable depending upon requirements for usage.
The above lists are a sample of the most common attributes selected; there are many other selections that can be made to build the mailing list that you require.

Consumer Profiled Data


De-duplication is an integrated function of name and address processing that allows us to build highly refined matchkeys at premise, family and individual level on consumer databases or premise, business, department or individual contact level on business to business databases.
Comprehensive reports are provided to keep you fully informed and enable you to have full visibility and control of your data.


This is the process of merging two or more mailing files to produce one net mailing file.  Detecting duplicates in this process is particularly important, either when using in-house databases to avoid duplicate mailings, or when renting mailing lists to reduce costs and again avoid duplicate mailings.

De Duplication 


Purity is produced from Acxiom’s InfoBase File and is compiled from the information derived from product warranties, product registrations, lifestyle questionnaires and magazine subscriptions, in conjunction with other external reference files. Every year 12.6 per cent of UK residents move house, creating 5.5 million changes of address. Purity is a suppression file that eliminates individuals known to be no longer living at an address with 98.1 per cent accuracy. It is a list of 17 million non-residents, i.e. people who are known for definite not to live at an address anymore, because someone else at that address has more recently responded via a survey or a warranty card.
This file is complied from over 20 years experience of collecting and processing accurate targeted data. It has been proven that 30% of gone-aways recorded by postal returns are false, therefore Purity has deliberately excluded any postal returns to prevent over suppression, and is based purely upon validated non-residents.


Mortality Screening

Mortascreen Mortascreen is the largest and most comprehensive source of both recent and historic data currently available. The file contains over 6 million records and is updated monthly with around 45,000 of the most recent deaths. These records are obtained from a number of sources to ensure the best possible coverage without compromising reliability. Sources include leading funeral providers, insurance companies, probate records and a unique registration scheme. Mortascreen covers over 85% of all deaths in the UK with over 92% of all records being fully verified. Mortascreen is perfect for cleansing any cold list, prior to mailing and for general database management, however please be aware that Mortascreen is licensed for the purpose of direct marketing, it may not be used for credit screening or fraud detection purposes. For this purpose the Halo file is available.


Halo is a unique system which addresses the requirement for the effective and early detection of deceased fraud. Halo was developed to allow credit related organisations, such as debt recovery companies, access to deceased information.
Confidence Indicators are available for both Mortascreen and Halo to show the originating source of the deceased information.
These indicators include:
Governmental Records – Official certified deaths.
Funeral Directors – Records supplied by agreement after burial or cremation.
Data Exchange – Through major UK insurance companies.
Deceased Preference Service – Consumer collection service.
Royal Mail Returns – Information supplied direct from consumers stating that a person formerly resident at the address is now deceased.

The Bereavement Register

The Bereavement Register (TBR) is compiled and managed by The REaD Group. TBR data is unique in that it has the consent of the bereaved, therefore you do not suppress records where the bereaved still want to receive the mail. Because it contains all non assumed actual death data it does not contain confidence indicators. Notifications of deaths are updated onto TBR in as little as two weeks after someone has died. The data is updated monthly and contains nearly 3 million records since its launch in 2000.
The Register is backed by the UK Government and 96% of UK Registrars, and is compiled in partnership with:
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • The Ministry of Defence
  • The National Association of Funeral Directors
  • The National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors
  • The Home Office
  • The Department of Heath
  • The NHS
  • Directgov
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Cruse Bereavement Care

Mortality Screening

National Change Of Address

The National Change of Address (NCOA) file is sourced from Royal Mail Redirection Service. It provides the ability to identify not only the fact that the customer has moved but also offers details of where that customer has moved to. The file is built through the capture of detailed information from customers who register their move with Royal Mail. It can be used either to suppress gone-aways or to locate lost or missing customers.
The NCOA file is updated monthly and contains just over 17 million records. Details of movers date back as far as April 1994 right up to the present day. Updates number approximately 100,000 per month. Names are only removed from the file if specifically requested by the addressee.

National Change of Address

Gone Away Suppression

The Gone Away Suppression (GAS) file is the most comprehensive suppression file currently available, it currently holds over 26 million records containing information on individuals who have moved location since 1992. The database is collated by collecting both negative data (move outs) and positive data (move ins). In the UK 3,200,000 people move house every year - up to 7,000 every day.
The file not only contains those individuals that have moved house but also includes approximately 86% of deaths in the UK, however the file does not allow for the unique identification of deceased and movers. With an independently audited accuracy rating of 98.2%, it represents the pinnacle of suppression accuracy.

In the time it has taken you to read this page approximately 3 people will have moved to a new home, are they on your marketing list?

Contact CNM to get a FREE audit

Gone Away Suppression

Mailing Preference Service (MPS)

The Mailing Preference Service was introduced to support the consumer’s right to choose the mail they wished to receive.  The Register allows Direct Mailing companies to adjust their lists accordingly. It gives respect to the customer’s choice and helps companies to market considerately, ethically and economically.
The Baby Mailing Preference Service is in place to reduce the number of baby-related mailings individuals receive, where the parents have recently suffered the death of a baby.
Although adhering to the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is not a legal requirement, members of the independent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and responsible direct marketing companies, follow a comprehensive code of practice in order to avoid sending unwanted mailings and upsetting potential customers.

How does the service work?

You supply us with your address, including title, forename and surname, where available, and we match your addresses against the MPS file, flagging those individuals and addresses that have subscribed to the scheme.

Mailing Preference Service 

Fax Preference Service (FPS)

Unreceptive or even aggressive prospects have always been an overhead for Fax Marketing campaigns. An unwanted fax is at best a waste of time and Facsimile costs and at worst can alienate the fax recipient to the extent that they will not purchase from your company through other channels.
On 1st May, 1999 the previously voluntary code of practice was enshrined in law. It is now illegal to send a direct marketing fax to a number that has been registered with the scheme more than 28 days previously. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will enforce the law and the potential penalties are severe. Both the 28 day rule and availability of daily updates dictate that Facsimile numbers must be screened, at the very least, every 28 days and against the current version of the FPS file.

How does the service work?

You need only supply your facsimile numbers, although the addition of a unique reference number for your own match back purposes is always a good idea. The service matches your facsimile numbers against the FPS file, flagging those numbers that have subscribed to the scheme.

Fax Preference Service

Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

  Unreceptive or even aggressive prospects have always been an overhead for marketing campaigns. An unwanted call or mailing is at best a waste of time and money and at worst can alienate the recipient.
On 1st May, 1999 the previously voluntary code of practice was enshrined in law. The Telephone Preference Service, The Corporate Telephone Preference Service and The Fax Preference Service now make it illegal to make a direct marketing call or send a fax to a consumer, sole trader or (except in Scotland) a partnership that registered with the scheme more than 28 days previously. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will enforce the law and the potential penalties are severe. Both the 28 day rule and availability of daily updates dictate that telephone numbers must be screened, at the very least, every 28 days and against the current version of the TPS file.

How does telephone preference service screening work?

You need only supply your telephone numbers although the addition of a unique reference number for your own match back purposes is always a good idea. We match your telephone numbers against the TPS file flagging or suppressing those numbers that have subscribed to the telephone preference service scheme. This is a fast and efficient service providing turnaround in minutes rather than hours.

Telephone Preference Service

Telephone Number Appending

CNM has been providing tele-appending services since 1994. We have access to an electronic directory of 27 million telephone numbers and XD flags. The directory is updated daily with upto 100,000 changes on any day.
We understand that errors in your telephone numbers will result in wasted operator time, upset diallers, incur unnecessary cost, and potentially damage your brand. We also understand that match rates must be maximised and therefore employ additional referencing tools to enhance the availability of correct and accurate telephone numbers.
We understand that data is dynamic, and needs maintenance. We are constantly developing our services to meet these changes; Postcode Address File (PAF) cross-checks to ensure accurate address matching and STD Code and number verification to assess telephone number viability. We can also reduce your wastage by cross-checking your data against many industry files, such as Deceased, Gone-away and Movers information.

How does the service work?

You supply requests made up of names, addresses, and postcodes.  CNM then uses computer searching to match your requests with telephone numbers.  The use of advanced computer systems and technology makes it fast, accurate, efficient and cost effective.

Telephone Number Appending

Data Cleansing

Data Cleansing Data cleansing is the process of updating inaccurate or redundant data to improve accuracy, quality, validity, integrity, completeness and uniqueness. Data deteriorates very quickly therefore it is recommended that data should be cleansed every month to ensure that it is accurate.

Data Accuracy

Data accuracy is one of the most important elements of a successful data driven marketing campaign that meets both sales targets and return on investment. Inaccurate data costs money and quickly reduces the effectiveness of direct marketing campaigns.

Our Data Cleansing Services

We have been providing our clients with data cleansing services for many years and have invested much of our time and effort into improving our data cleansing process to become a leading supplier of data cleansing services within the UK. Most of the services we offer are listed in the menu on the right of this page, if you require a service that is not listed please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your options.
To obtain a quotation or enquire about any of our services we offer click here

Data Cleaning Services