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A top official from the banking industry has said the public sector is a major target for online fraud.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers Association, said areas such as tax credits have become major targets for fraudsters and there needs to be better information sharing between the public and private sectors to combat the trend.

She was speaking at the Identity Management across the Public Sector conference, organised by Kable. She said the issue is not getting the profile needed to deal with it, and that people need to be more careful in protecting their own information.

"For tax credits, last year about £1.7bn was overpaid," she said. "No doubt the government got some of it back, but a lot is written off. It's more open to attack and the money is harder to reclaim than elsewhere.

"A lot of information sharing takes place, but more needs to take place."

She added that it is easier for commercial organisations to reinvest savings from information sharing as, unlike government departments, they do not have to go back to ministers for approval.

Knight also said that people are increasingly being asked to provide a visual proof of identity, and that they are reacting in different ways. Many of the older generation object, while younger people see it as a normal part of life.

"Electronic verification is becoming more important," she said. "Historically we relied on the customer producing documents, but it is not necessarily the only way of confirming identity."

She added that there is also a trend towards two factor authentication, which involves the use of a physical key and a password.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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