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HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft (Read 26,029 times)
Dave
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HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Nov 20th, 2007 at 5:35pm
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/nov/20/economicpolicy.scamsandfraud

<<
What information was on the lost discs?

The chancellor has confirmed that the discs contained all of the information relating to child benefits payments in the UK - data relating to 25 million individuals from 7.25 million families. This includes names, addresses, dates of birth and bank account details for every claimant, as well as their child benefit and national insurance numbers. Details of the children for whom benefits were claimed were also on the disc.

[...]

Where can I find out more?

HMRC has set up a helpline to answer claimants' questions. The number is 0845 302 1444.

>>>

Of course, let's fleece them some more.  Roll Eyes  Angry
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« Last Edit: Nov 20th, 2007 at 5:35pm by Dave »  
 
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Heinz
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #1 - Nov 20th, 2007 at 5:59pm
 
From the SayNoTo0870 database:

0191 225 1144
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After years of ignoring govt. guidelines & RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers using 0845 numbers, Essex County Council changed to 0345 numbers on 2 November 2015
WWW  
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Dave
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #2 - Nov 20th, 2007 at 6:55pm
 

The Child Benefit contact page here lists that number as the overseas alternative for Crown Servants.

The "international" number for Child Benefit is given as 0191 225 1000. Do they cut you off if they find you are calling this one from the UK? Is that why the other is listed in our database?
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« Last Edit: Nov 21st, 2007 at 1:53pm by DaveM »  
 
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #3 - Nov 20th, 2007 at 10:06pm
 
Right, let me get this straight, when Mattel had a few issues with toys, they managed first with a geographic, then with a freephone number for enquiries. A government office - that is likely to be inundated with calls - gives us a flipping 0845 number, and expects us to pay for the privilege of trying to sort out the mess of their own creation?!?! Ludicrous!
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Dave
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #4 - Nov 20th, 2007 at 10:27pm
 
Another story from The Register:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/20/hmrc_huge_data_loss/

Quote:
Still, the Inland Revenue issued the following statement for worried recipients of child benefit: "If you are concerned about the potential HMRC data compromise, please telephone the HMRC dedicated Child Benefit Helpline on 0845 302 1444. Whilst there is no evidence that the lost data has fallen into criminal hands we have produced customer advice, containing questions and answers, as well as top tips on spotting and stopping ID theft."

Aside from the 0845 number, where do we start with that?  Roll Eyes

How about you get your own house in order?
No evidence? Well that doesn't mean that the discs aren't with someone who intends to use them. With 25 million entries to go at there's no rush to attempt to use some of them. It's not like a list of bank card PINs that can be changed.
And if they do turn up, who's to say that they haven't been copied?
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #5 - Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:34am
 
Dave wrote on Nov 20th, 2007 at 10:27pm:
And if they do turn up, who's to say that they haven't been copied?

Indeed ... I was watching some TV drama the other day.  They were trying to retrieve a disc or memory card or something, with a list of agents (spies!) that had fallen into the wrong hands.  They got the disc back in the end, after it had been shown to have been loaded up in various bad-guys computers.  Phew, we're all safe now. end of program.   Eh??? No search for copies, no hunting down the laptops it's been used in and wiping cache files, swap files, hibernation files etc...

Once a digital file gets out into the wild, there is almost no chance of getting rid of it again.  It's not like it's a bit of microfilm or a printed document, where you can be pretty sure there's only going to be one of them...  Copies just spread...

Since we are in receipt of child benefit, it seems that our personal details are going to be out there now, with bank account details, and details of our children!  And that's the same for almost half the population of the country!   I suppose I should hope that, should the data indeed find it's way into the wrong hands, that security-by-obscurity has a chance of working, and we don't get hit for anything.  But I'll still be keeping an eye on the bank accounts a lot more closely now...
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #6 - Nov 21st, 2007 at 11:27am
 
irrelevant wrote on Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:34am:
Indeed ... I was watching some TV drama the other day.  They were trying to retrieve a disc or memory card or something, with a list of agents (spies!) that had fallen into the wrong hands.


I don't suppose that TV drama happened to be Spooks, did it? Cheesy
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #7 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:10am
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/11/22/nosplit/dt...

Letters to the Telegraph

<<
Sir - Has the hapless Chancellor of Exchequer no moral fibre? To set up a telephone helpline for families who have had their information put at risk with the lost computer discs, using an 0845 number rather than the free 0800, is contemptible.

Why should the public have to pay for the HMRC's incompetence?

James Kirkbright, Shillingstone, Dorset
>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #8 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:11am
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/22/ncustoms122.xml

Anger as millions pay to ring lost data helpline
By Richard Edwards, Gordon Rayner and Lucy Cockcroft
Last Updated: 12:30am GMT 22/11/2007

<<
Government officials were accused of "rubbing salt into the wounds" of those caught up in the lost personal data crisis yesterday by charging millions of worried families for calling the official helpline.

There was anger that an "0845" number, which charges the same tariff as a local call, was being used by HM Revenue and Customs to offer advice to the people whose child benefit records it had lost, rather than a freephone number.

The Tories and taxpayers' groups claimed the decision "rubbed salt into the wounds" of claimants.

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said: "The Government has put the security of every family bank account at risk and now they are charging the very same families above the usual rate when they ring up for advice."

One reader on The Daily Telegraph website wrote: "Isn't that adding insult to injury?"

The HMRC issued the advice helpline 0845 302 1444 after disclosing that sensitive details of every child benefit claimant had been lost in the post. It was inundated with calls yesterday.

Mark Wallace, the director of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "It is disgraceful that, having incompetently put 25 million people at risk of fraud and identity theft, HMRC now expects those affected to pay to phone the helpline."

The HMRC defended its decision and claimed it would not be making any money out of the helpline, the proceeds from which go to the phone providers.

A spokesman said: "We do not operate any free lines; it's a local rate number. If they are concerned about the cost we will take their number and call them back."

Calls to 0845 numbers from mobile phones can cost up to 12½p a minute.

[...]
>>
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« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:14am by idb »  

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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #9 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:16am
 
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article3182303.ece

The Public: Nervous customers check bank accounts
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Published: 22 November 2007

<<
[...]

The Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said the use of an 0845 number for the child benefit hotline was "rubbing salt into the wounds" of the millions of families affected by the fiasco. High demand would also result in callers being put on hold, it warned, predicting a total bill running into millions of pounds.

Campaign director Mark Wallace said: "It is absolutely disgraceful that, having incompetently put 25 million people at risk of fraud and identity theft, HMRC now expects those affected to pay to phone the helpline."

[...]
>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #10 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:17am
 
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/money/consumer_affairs/article291...

Brace yourselves for new wave of e-mail scams, say security experts Rhys Blakely

<<
[...]

Callers ringing the HMRC helpline (0845 3021444) about their missing personal data are being charged at least 10p from a landline, or 30p to 40p a minute for mobile phone users. The use of 0845 numbers is in breach of guidance from Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, which backs the use of 03 numbers for public services
>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #11 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:19am
 
http://www.precisionmarketing.co.uk/Articles/255410/An+accident+waiting+to+happe...

An accident waiting to happen

<<
[...]

While it may be music to the ears of credit reference agencies, the Government has made the very brave step of setting up an 0845 number to give people advice on how to deal with the crisis. Glad to see it profiting from the whole fiasco…

Charlie McKelvey,

Editor,

Precision Marketing

>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #12 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 10:42am
 
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1025434_anger_over_helpline_cost
"Ofcom said calling an 0845 number from a BT line would cost around 3p per minute but may be more expensive from a mobile."

[Okay maybe the reporter isn't quoting Ofcom correctly, but...]

What sort of cloud cuckoo land does Ofcom live in? "MAY BE MORE EXPENSIVE" I'm sorry, but can Ofcom give a SINGLE example of where it's NOT more expensive to call an 0845 number from a mobile?! As far as I'm aware:
1) It costs A LOT more to dial an 084 number from a mobile than it costs from a land line.
2) It costs A LOT more to dial an 084 number from a mobile than an 01/02/03 number from a mobile.

F***wits!

Angry


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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #13 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:13pm
 
http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1835062007

ANGER AT CHARGES FOR LOST DATA HELPLINE CALLS

<<
[...]

HM REVENUE and Customs came under further attack yesterday for charging millions of people whose personal data it lost to call a helpline for advice.

The Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said the use of an 0845 number was "rubbing salt into the wounds" of claimants.

High demand would also result in callers being put on hold, it predicted, increasing a total bill it estimated could run into millions of pounds.

Campaign director Mark Wallace said: "It is absolutely disgraceful that, having incompetently put 25 million people at risk of fraud and identity theft, HMRC now expects those affected to pay to phone the helpline.

"This scandalous failure has caused a lot of anxiety and could yet cost people a great deal of money. Making people pay for advice on securing personal data that should have been safe in the first place just rubs salt into the wound."

But HMRC defended its decision to use an existing paid-for helpline and said anyone concerned about the cost could give their number and be called back.

A spokesman also insisted there was surplus capacity available to deal with increased call volumes.

"We do not operate any free lines; it's a local rate number. If they are concerned about the cost we will take their number and call them back," he said.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said calling an 0845 number from a BT Option 1 Together package would cost around 3p per minute, which is the same as dialling an 02 or 01 number. But calls to 0845 numbers from mobile phones may be more expensive than calling a landline, depending on which tariff is being used.

Calls to 0845 numbers may generate revenue for the recipient if the organisation takes up that option. An HMRC spokeswoman said its 0845 number was the existing child benefit number which was charged at local rate and was not revenue-sharing.

The Ofcom spokeswoman said the telecoms regulator supported the use of 03 numbers by public bodies because these had the same charges for calls from both landlines and mobile phones and did not have a revenue-sharing option.

[...]
>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #14 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 1:35pm
 
Quote:
"An HMRC spokeswoman said its 0845 number was the existing child benefit number which was charged at local rate and was not revenue-sharing."


These people need sacked for gross misconduct.

1) it's not local rate, as COI, ASA and Ofcom has said on numerous occasions. Ofcom should fine them for telling such lies.
2) it IS revenue-sharing, perhaps not with HMRC, but certainly with the terminating telco. The IT/telecoms team at HMRC are incompetent if they have negotiated a contract with their telecoms supplier that uses 0845 numbers, and doesn't see them getting any of the revenue.
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