Feeds

Home Office tackles ID fraud. By hiring one

Oops...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Home Office has gone that extra mile to prove the true costs of identity fraud to us all - it's been conned, big-time. Confronted with a fake doctor one would ideally stride smartly off in the other direction, but in the case of fraudster Barian Baluchi the Home Office opted for funding his clinic, using him as an asylum-seeker health policy adviser and letting him be an expert witness in 1,500 immigration appeals tribunal cases.

Baluchi's earnings from his imaginative career in medicine are reported to be in the region of £1.5 million, and of course (you can almost hear the Home Office saying this) it couldn't have happened if we'd had ID cards. He acquired indefinite leave to remain status in the early 1980 through marriage, but his big career move came in 1998 when he registered as a doctor with the General Medical Council under EU procedures. The GMC, bless, is claimed to have done this on the strength his qualification as a doctor and psychiatrist in Madrid in the 1980s, under the name of Antonio Carrillo-Gómez. One can see the clear similarities between the names. But a Madrid doctor of that name does indeed exist.

Wouldn't have happened if we'd had ID cards. Except of course a Spanish doctor would have had a Spanish ID card. And a British resident (i.e. Baluchi) would have had an ID card, and would just have had to convince the GMC that this genuine identity had for some reason qualified under an entirely different and Spanish name. We have no idea how you'd do that either, but we doubt it'd have been harder than what he did do. Presumably he must have relied, as is the way of good fraudsters, on there being one born every minute. Which is what the Home Office and sundry Government departments and charities proceeded to prove.

According to the report Baluchi "used a string of fake qualifications to set himself up as a leading clinician". The fake qualifications bit is easy, any fool can get these, but it's the second bit that must have taken some talent. Within something like five years he had parlayed no track record at all into "leading clinician." He would have been helped to some extent by the legal system's need for expert witnesses, and to some considerable extent by the immigration legal industry which has been almost entirely generated by the Home Office. This fast-growing business needs experts, many more experts than it needed in 1998, so it's entirely appropriate that the Home Office itself made a significant contribution to strengthening the man's fraudulently-obtained credentials; it needed to believe in him.

Meanwhile the case of Michael Edwards-Hammond, arrested recently for impersonating a police officer at Windsor Castle, shows us how the police handle ID fraudsters. Give him a motorcycle escort? Search and detain people for him? Yes, 'fraid so.

Edwards-Hammond, reports the Telegraph, has been something of a specialist in impersonating a police officer, to the police, and has a string of scalps and previous offences. He has claimed to be a surgeon on his way to save the life of a child and been given a motorcycle escort by the Met. He has had police search innocent members of the public, and an Asian family taken into a custody. And he has had several harmless pedestrians held at gunpoint near Downing Street. That one must have taken confidence.

How, under any circumstances, you stop the forces of law and order saluting people they believe to be their superiors and doing what they say is a puzzle. "Yes chief constable, and I'm the Lord Lyon King of Arms. I'm just going to take your fingerprints now, sir..." That's really going to happen, isn't it? ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.