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UK.gov inflates ID theft risk

ID-card selling bunkum

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The UK government has come out with yet another questionable study to support its obsessive bent to impose ID cards on the British public. Once again, ID fraud figures as the reason why Brits need expensive biometric proofs of identity.

A Home Office study claims ID fraud costs Britain £1.7bn. But most of these losses have either been overstated or represent nothing to do with ID fraud, an investigation by Silicon.com has discovered.

Figures for the theft of a credit or debit card, missing trader, VAT fraud, and even the cost of police time in investigating con men trying to get into homes, have been added together with genuine ID fraud by the government in a hamfisted attempt to artificially inflate its figures. A full breakdown of the government's figures can be found here (PDF).

But as Silicon notes, actual ID fraud losses are a third of Home Office estimates at around £494m. The Home Office concedes establishing ID fraud losses are an inexact science, but maintains that its £1.7bn figure is only a "conservative estimate". This explanation has failed to convince the Liberal Democrats, which slams the government's "fraudulent" ID fraud figures.

"On the one hand the government’s figures are full of holes. On the other, they are peddling claptrap about the effectiveness of an ID card in combating identity fraud,", said MP Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman. "For example, it is impossible to see how an ID card would reduce credit card fraud unless we are going to be expected to show our ID card every time we make a purchase." ®

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