Feeds

NAO urged to investigate identity fraud

Gov depts under fire for lax security

Website security in corporate America

An MP has called upon the National Audit Office (NAO) to look into allegations that organised criminal gangs paid civil servants to steal thousands of people's identities from government databases.

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk and member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, has written to NAO head John Bourn, asking him to investigate the security of personal data held by government departments. Bacon emphasised reports of identity theft from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs and said these should be treated as a matter of urgency.

It emerged at the end of last year that the identities of up to 13,000 civil servants had been stolen from the DWP and used in tax credit fraud. Bacon said he is concerned this was only the tip of the iceberg.

He told Bourn in his letter: "I understand (the tax credit fraud) incident may only be one of a series of episodes of significant organised fraud involving the theft of personal identities from government databases.

"It is of great concern that the departments remain open to organised fraud on such a substantial scale and that their ability to account for how they spend public money is getting worse rather than better.

"I would be most grateful if you would investigate urgently the failure of these government departments to protect personal identities from fraudsters."

An NAO spokesperson told Government Computing News: "We are looking into the letter and giving it some thought and will respond to Richard Bacon when we have decided what to do."

Between April and November 2005 about 40,000 new applications for tax credits and 22,000 existing claims were stopped because of suspected fraud.

The government was forced to close an official website that allowed people to apply for tax credits online because it was being targeted by criminals.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.