Feeds

NAO urged to investigate identity fraud

Gov depts under fire for lax security

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.