HMRC offers £20k reward for ID goldmine CDs
Insult, meet injury
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is offering a reward of £20,000 for information leading to the recovery of the lost child benefit data discs.
The discs, with information on 25m people, were lost in mid-November en route from a child benefit office in Sunderland to the National Audit Office.
Estimates of the potential value of the discs to identity thieves and other crooks vary widely, but all are well north of £20,000. The Liberal Democrat acting leader Vince Cable reckoned on £60 per record giving a total value of £1.5bn.
The Metropolitan Police investigation has now been reduced - 47 detectives were involved in early searches, but this has fallen to 32. Police have been searching for the missing data since 18 November.
The Met said the search had been particularly difficult due to how common computer discs are and the number and size of offices which needed searching. Computers were forensically examined to verify witness accounts.
The statement said: "The main searches have concluded and we are now extending to areas that require searches or enquiries to be made in order to rule them out. However, indications suggest that these locations are less likely to have been a transit route for the parcel than the areas already searched."
The offer of £20,000 is primarily aimed at encouraging HMRC, Child Benefit, National Audit Office and Treasury staff to look for the discs, but is open to anyone. Staff were told that finding the discs and handing them to their union representative or line manager would not amount to a criminal offence. The discs are marked TCO and were contained in CD cases within a Jiffy bag that was inside a yellow envelope. The envelope was addressed to the NAO on Buckingham Palace Road, London. ®
Enclosed is your reward cheque
Just imagine it:
"Dear person who recoverered our embarrasing lost data and saved our skins; enclosed is the monetary reward we promised":
A cheque for £8,670
That's £20,000 minus 40% PAYE,
Minus NIC employers and employee's contributions (we have classified you as an employee for tax purposes as you were essentially working for us in finding the missing data)
Minus CGT - as you didn't really do much work in finding the disks, plus the asset concerned was someone else's intellectual property upon which you have profited by reselling it back to the original owners.
Minus 17.5% VAT; we have taken the liberty of registering you for VAT, in case you fancy having a go at recovering all the other personal data we've lost; which would put your turnover over the VAT registration threshold.
Total deductions: £11,330. Total takehome: £8,670
Kind regards and thanks again.
Minimum wage for MPs and volunteer work for Ministers
As shareholders in UK plc, let's vote to off-shore our government, or pay them what they're worth.
Being a generous chap, I'd offer them a small amount of productivity-related-pay, just so they have something to lose by screwing things up for the rest of us.
I'm sure there are a few folk who've served their apprenticeship while they were colonies. In the way G Ramsay employs head chefs to cover the restaurants he's not actually in, I'd recommend any cabinet includes lots of people boasting10+ years "working for W Churchill".
''I wouldn't return them...'
That's a good point actually, I didn't think of that.... with the profile of these things there's no way that you're going to be able to get out of the cavity search and conversation of anything electrical.
So it's £20k for allowing the MET to put a thumb up your arse.