Feeds

ID fraudsters target job centre staff

Tax credit portal scam may hit 13,000

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Crooks may have defrauded the UK tax credit system out of millions after exploiting a lack of safeguards in an internet site designed to service claimants.

HM Revenue & Customs shut down its tax credit portal website at the start of December after uncovering an attempt to defraud the system using the identities of Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff.

Initially it was thought that up to 1,500 job centre workers might have had personal information stolen. Now it is feared that up to 13,000 job centre staff might have been exposed to attack, with some reporting fraudulent claims made in their name. Fraudsters are reckoned to have secured the National Insurance numbers, names and dates of birth of thousands of job centre staff working in London, Glasgow, Lancashire and Pembrokeshire.

The information obtained was enough to make fraudulent tax credit claims redirected upon false addresses and accounts controlled by crooks. False claims of up to £1,000 a year appear to have been siphoned into fraudsters' bank accounts, PCS spokesman Alex Flynn told The Independent. "Some people have had shadow bank accounts set up and their money diverted to that account. Other people have had their accounts hijacked," he said.

HM Revenue & Customs said "a criminal investigation" had begun into the fraudsters' use of the DWP staffers identities. The PCS trade union is seeking information about the scale of the fraud.

An anonymous job centre employee told the BBC that nine in ten staffers in his office had been affected. "I went to work on Tuesday. I called the helpline. I was on the phone for 15 minutes and eventually was told that a claim had been made in my name. My greatest worry is that if these people have got our identity details they can apply for loans, open up bank accounts and two or three years down the line that's your credit rating destroyed." (One bright spot is that afected staff can get through to the helpline at all.

This is not the first IT-related crisis to hit the tax credit system, which was established in its present form two years ago as a means to pay the new working tax credits and child tax credits. EDS was fired by the revenue after the system it put in place degenerated into chaos, with families being over-paid credits, only to be hit with big claw-back demands from the department. Last October, the National Audit Office claimed in October estimated that mistakes by claimants - along with fraud - had resulted in over payments of £460m. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.