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HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft (Read 26,012 times)
irrelevant
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #15 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 4:19pm
 
jgxenite wrote on 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


lol.  Sorry; Bionic Woman. (The new one..)   I really must catc up with Spooks though.
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #16 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 6:44pm
 
I trust that everyone who has contributed to this thread has written to his/her MP in the strongest possible terms reminding him/her of the 7/7 fiasco and asking why "lessons have" NOT "been learned"

Also they should have e-mailed everyone on their list to do likewise.

Fabian
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #17 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 9:30pm
 
Quote:
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."

We should note that Mr Wallace's organisation uses an 0845 number. So he misses the point about the premium above a 01/02 call. Pot and kettle..... Roll Eyes

Quote:
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.

So they admit aiding and abetting telcos in making higher profits.

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.

The call rate is the same for all 0845 numbers from any one provider, choose whether they are revenue sharing or not.
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« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2007 at 9:39pm by Dave »  
 
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jgxenite
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(OTRe: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #18 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 10:42pm
 
irrelevant wrote on Nov 22nd, 2007 at 4:19pm:
lol.  Sorry; Bionic Woman. (The new one..)   I really must catc up with Spooks though.


Off topic I know, but the new series is really good actually Smiley. Can't wait for the next episode (on BBC Three... not One lol).

Back on topic, isn't it a bit hypocritical for this Taxpayers' Alliance guy to be going on about 0845 numbers when their organisation uses one? Oh, and Fabian, remind me what 7/7 fiasco that was? (I know what 7/7 was, I just don't know about it in regards to telcos...)
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« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2007 at 10:44pm by jgxenite »  

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sherbert
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Reply #19 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 9:13am
 
Not only do they lose our information, we have to pay if we need to make an enquiry... See this..... Angry


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/22/ncustoms122.xml
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Re: HMRC
Reply #20 - Nov 22nd, 2007 at 9:55am
 
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #21 - Nov 25th, 2007 at 12:21pm
 
From Yorkshire Post

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Discs-fiasco-call-charges-39rub.3512314.jp

Published Thursday 22 November 2007

Discs fiasco call charges 'rub salt into wound'

HM Revenue and Customs came under further attack last night 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, 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 already 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.

"The Government need to get their act together."

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 chooses to take up that option.

An HMRC spokeswoman said its 0845 number was the existing Child Benefit number which is charged at local rate and is not revenue-sharing.

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

A spokeswoman for the Ofcom Consumer Panel, an independent body which advises the telecoms regulator, said: "The Ofcom Consumer Panel, as distinct from Ofcom, has always said that all Government helpline numbers should be geographical and not revenue-generating."
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #22 - Dec 1st, 2007 at 1:23am
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/dec/01/consumeraffairs.moneysupplement

Hotline burns a hole in your pocket

Phone charges: After losing your records, HM Revenue and Customs is piling on the agony by charging for a costly 0845 number if you call. Richard Colbey and Rupert Jones report

Richard Colby and Rupert Jones The Guardian Saturday December 1 2007

<<
First, HM Revenue & Customs loses the personal records of 25 million people, including dates of birth and bank account details. Now it is adding insult to injury by inviting them to ring a pricey 0845 number if they want to discuss their worries.

Letters of apology from the taxman have been dropping through millions of letterboxes over the past few days. They carry details of the official advice line that people should ring if they experience any problems: 0845 302 1444.

But what the letter omits to mention is that calls to this number will cost up to 40p a minute from a mobile phone. Furthermore, by only making an 0845 number available, the Revenue appears to be flouting guidelines from another government department which is trying to encourage take-up of cheaper "03" numbers.

The Revenue says it is "not making a penny" from calls to its helpline ... but somebody is.

The taxman is certainly not alone in using a number with an 08 prefix - they are everywhere, with official bodies, charities and companies routinely using them for helplines and order lines. 0845, like those beginning 0844, 0870 and 0871, are "premium rate" to the extent that the caller pays a premium over the usual charge.

0871 and 0870 numbers tend to be the most expensive, and big-name companies and organisations that use these include Barclaycard, the National Trust, electrical retailer Comet and Vodafone.

When you ring one of these numbers, you can often find yourself on hold for a long time, so it is no surprise to discover that in 2003, calls to numbers with an 08 prefix cost UK consumers £850m. And the saynoto0870.com website points out that if you have an "inclusive landline calls" phone package it is very rare that 0844, 0845, 0870 or 0871 numbers are included in your "free minutes" allocation, unlike normal numbers.

Ringing the Revenue & Customs line might not cost too much from a landline - BT charges 2p a minute during the day, plus a 6p per call fee - but it is a different story if you use your mobile. T-Mobile and Vodafone charge their pay-as-you-go customers up to 40p and 30p a minute respectively, though the network 3 "only" charges 12p a minute.

A Revenue & Customs spokesman says: "Our current policy is to operate all our customer-facing helplines using an 0845 prefix, as the department believes this strikes the right balance of cost between the customer and the public purse. HMRC pays to subsidise the cost of calls through this arrangement."

He adds that the department also favours 0845 numbers because they can be routed anywhere in the UK. "This allows us to route calls to the contact centre best able to handle them at the time of each respective call," says the spokesman, who adds that Revenue & Customs does not share revenue from calls with telecoms suppliers "or make any money whatsoever from using 0845 numbers". The taxman may not be making any money, but the telecoms companies are.

Industry regulator Ofcom says it does not have the power to dictate what numbers government departments use. However, it points out that the Central Office of Information, another government department, has issued guidelines to public sector bodies which state that if they are going to offer an 08 number of any type, they should also be offering a standard number (beginning with 01 or 02) as well, and that ideally, they should really be considering one of the new 03 numbers.

Calls to 03 numbers cost the same or less than calls to 01 and 02 numbers, and, needless to say, they are cheaper than calling 0845. They have been introduced by Ofcom as an alternative for official bodies and other organisations that consumers can have confidence in. Ofcom itself now uses 03 numbers, as does the RSPCA and the Ministry of Defence - so maybe it is time for the Revenue to switch over, too.

While the row about the Revenue data bungle rumbles on, Bangladesh has been the object of the world's pity this week as it deals with the cyclone that killed thousands of people.

UK charities are playing their part in helping the millions affected, but some people will be surprised at the decision by Oxfam to use an 0870 number (0870 333 2500) for its donation phone line. The charity acknowledges that it generates "a very small income" from the calls - typically 0.65p a minute, "but only once we have exceeded a threshold". A spokesman says a major benefit of Oxfam using a "non-geographic" number is that calls can be routed anywhere, and he adds: "We are in the process of sourcing a set of 03 numbers which we will be moving to." The Disasters Emergency Committee's Bangladesh cyclone appeal also uses an 0870 number.

...
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idb
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #23 - Dec 1st, 2007 at 1:24am
 
...

Meanwhile, it emerged earlier this year that hundreds of doctors' surgeries have started bringing in 0844 numbers for patients to call. The Department of Health has advised GPs that they should stop using them. These calls cost up to 40p a minute when made from mobiles, and many surgeries have installed a queuing system, which means patients will be kept on line for several minutes when calling. The National Health Service Act 1977 provides for situations where practices are able to charge patients. These calls do not fall into any of them. Although the department has so far only approached the issue on the basis of giving "guidance," it could well be able to use the Act to prohibit them.

There is some good news for the public in that measures designed to tackle the problems surrounding expensive 0870 calls come into force in the spring. This shake-up will mean that all calls to these numbers will have to cost the same as standard calls to numbers with an 01 or 02 prefix. Companies that want to carry on charging the higher rate will have to warn of the call's cost at the start.

Back in 2006, Ofcom looked into the use of 0845 numbers, though it said it "did not think the level of consumer concern was quite the same as with 0870 numbers".

However, it says it is now "considering reviewing" 0845 numbers next year. So if the taxman doesn't want to have the telecoms regulator breathing down his neck, he'd be well advised to join the 03 switchover.

How to avoid the rip-offs
· If "08" numbers make you see red, log on to saynoto0870.com, which provides alternative geographical numbers (usually beginning with 01 or 02) for many well-known companies and organisations. It is currently running a petition against 08 numbers being used by GPs.

· One tip is to "pretend" to be calling from abroad. "Many companies advertise a separate number that can be used when calling from abroad. This usually begins +44. There is nothing to stop you using this from the UK (it is a normal rate telephone call), and will be included in any inclusive minutes provided by your landline or mobile phone provider," says the website.

· Feeding the address of a company's head office into Google should produce its proper number.

· Another way is via the company's website. Root around and you will often find the names and numbers of senior staff. Getting through to someone whose job is not meant to involve dealing with customers is often an advantage. If faced with hints that they will be called again if something isn't done quickly, they will usually arrange to put you in touch with the right person fairly speedily.
>>
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #24 - Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:28am
 
And now ---- Blundering DVLA sent the details of 1,200 drivers to wrong addresses[size=14][/size]

"Drivers who are worried that their motoring details might have gone astray should contact the DVLA on               0870 240 0009."    Daily Mail today.

DVLA PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT
"Having made a complete horlicks of the security of your private information we, the DVLA, would like 20 or 30 million of you to phone our rip-off helpline so that we can make another few million quid out of our blunder.  

We hope all you motorists appreciate our astute business sense in never failing to make a fast buck out of as many gullible ordinary people as possible and that you are proud of our total incompetence combined with unscrupulous exploitation of our mistakes.      

You will no doubt marvel at our incredibly efficient speed of response having noticed the prime example provided by HMRC in putting the financial security of half the population of the country at risk and then cleverly issuing a premium phone number to maximise their profit from a first class maladministration.    

We hope you will notice that we are potentially going to make a much greater profit out of our low level fourth class misdemeanour.    Our crass underhand snivelling greed at your expense knows no bounds and we promise to continue to develop and enhance our ability to deceive.

We would like to place on record our appreciation to you all for retaining a Government which encourages this type of enterprise from your uncivil servants and to assure you all that the patients are still firmly in control of the funny farm."

                                      --------------  END ----------------


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=5002...
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« Last Edit: Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:49am by loddon »  
Campaignagainstripofftelecoms  
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #25 - Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:39am
 
OMFG... remind me when the next general election is coming up so can get rid of this absolutely c**p government?!  Angry
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« Last Edit: Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:39am by jgxenite »  

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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #26 - Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:45am
 
loddon wrote on Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:28am:
And now ---- Blundering DVLA sent the details of 1,200 drivers to wrong addresses

"Drivers who are worried that their motoring details might have gone astray should contact the DVLA on               0870 240 0009."    Daily Mail today.


On the BBC News website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7131506.stm) they actually give an 0800 number for the DVLA :

Anyone who fears they may have received the wrong details from the DVLA should call them on 0800 085 2333.
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« Last Edit: Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:45am by jgxenite »  

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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #27 - Dec 7th, 2007 at 10:34am
 
jgxenite wrote on Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:39am:
OMFG... remind me when the next general election is coming up so can get rid of this absolutely c**p government?!  Angry

They know they're rumbled now and detested by the vast majority of the population so it'll be at the last possible moment in 2009 - so they can keep their noses in the trough for the longest amount of time.
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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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Reply #28 - Jan 3rd, 2008 at 7:48pm
 
I received a letter from the DVLA this week, following my request for a duplicate licence.
The respondents letter gives a geographical contact number  01 792 788 008.
Is this a change in policy?

/\/\ike
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Re: HMRC leaves millions open to identity theft
Reply #29 - Jan 4th, 2008 at 6:49pm
 
idb wrote on Dec 1st, 2007 at 1:23am:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/dec/01/consumeraffairs.moneysupplement

Hotline burns a hole in your pocket

Phone charges: After losing your records, HM Revenue and Customs is piling on the agony by charging for a costly 0845 number if you call. Richard Colbey and Rupert Jones report

Richard Colby and Rupert Jones The Guardian Saturday December 1 2007

<<
First, HM Revenue & Customs loses the personal records of 25 million people, including dates of birth and bank account details. Now it is adding insult to injury by inviting them to ring a pricey 0845 number if they want to discuss their worries.

Letters of apology from the taxman have been dropping through millions of letterboxes over the past few days. They carry details of the official advice line that people should ring if they experience any problems: 0845 302 1444.

But what the letter omits to mention is that calls to this number will cost up to 40p a minute from a mobile phone. Furthermore, by only making an 0845 number available, the Revenue appears to be flouting guidelines from another government department which is trying to encourage take-up of cheaper "03" numbers.

The Revenue says it is "not making a penny" from calls to its helpline ... but somebody is
.

The taxman is certainly not alone in using a number with an 08 prefix - they are everywhere, with official bodies, charities and companies routinely using them for helplines and order lines. 0845, like those beginning 0844, 0870 and 0871, are "premium rate" to the extent that the caller pays a premium over the usual charge.

0871 and 0870 numbers tend to be the most expensive, and big-name companies and organisations that use these include Barclaycard, the National Trust, electrical retailer Comet and Vodafone.

When you ring one of these numbers, you can often find yourself on hold for a long time, so it is no surprise to discover that in 2003, calls to numbers with an 08 prefix cost UK consumers £850m. And the saynoto0870.com website points out that if you have an "inclusive landline calls" phone package it is very rare that 0844, 0845, 0870 or 0871 numbers are included in your "free minutes" allocation, unlike normal numbers.

Ringing the Revenue & Customs line might not cost too much from a landline - BT charges 2p a minute during the day, plus a 6p per call fee - but it is a different story if you use your mobile. T-Mobile and Vodafone charge their pay-as-you-go customers up to 40p and 30p a minute respectively, though the network 3 "only" charges 12p a minute.

A Revenue & Customs spokesman says: "Our current policy is to operate all our customer-facing helplines using an 0845 prefix, as the department believes this strikes the right balance of cost between the customer and the public purse. HMRC pays to subsidise the cost of calls through this arrangement."

He adds that the department also favours 0845 numbers because they can be routed anywhere in the UK. "This allows us to route calls to the contact centre best able to handle them at the time of each respective call," says the spokesman, who adds that Revenue & Customs does not share revenue from calls with telecoms suppliers "or make any money whatsoever from using 0845 numbers". The taxman may not be making any money, but the telecoms companies are.

Industry regulator Ofcom says it does not have the power to dictate what numbers government departments use. However, it points out that the Central Office of Information, another government department, has issued guidelines to public sector bodies which state that if they are going to offer an 08 number of any type, they should also be offering a standard number (beginning with 01 or 02) as well, and that ideally, they should really be considering one of the new 03 numbers.

Calls to 03 numbers cost the same or less than calls to 01 and 02 numbers, and, needless to say, they are cheaper than calling 0845. They have been introduced by Ofcom as an alternative for official bodies and other organisations that consumers can have confidence in. Ofcom itself now uses 03 numbers, as does the RSPCA and the Ministry of Defence - so maybe it is time for the Revenue to switch over, too.

While the row about the Revenue data bungle rumbles on, Bangladesh has been the object of the world's pity this week as it deals with the cyclone that killed thousands of people.

UK charities are playing their part in helping the millions affected, but some people will be surprised at the decision by Oxfam to use an 0870 number (0870 333 2500) for its donation phone line. The charity acknowledges that it generates "a very small income" from the calls - typically 0.65p a minute, "but only once we have exceeded a threshold". A spokesman says a major benefit of Oxfam using a "non-geographic" number is that calls can be routed anywhere, and he adds: "We are in the process of sourcing a set of 03 numbers which we will be moving to." The Disasters Emergency Committee's Bangladesh cyclone appeal also uses an 0870 number.

...


The Revenue is making money from the 0845 scam , taking tax from the 0845 provider and also VAT from the calls.Alan
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« Last Edit: Jan 4th, 2008 at 7:02pm by alan99 »  
 
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