12/6/2005

ID thieves try to steal millions from U.K. taxman

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The British government has come under fire after it emerged ministers have known for months that criminals were using stolen identities to make fraudulent online tax credit claims worth millions of pounds.

HM Revenue and Customs, the U.K.’s tax authority, was warned about the flaw more than six months ago. However, it only closed the tax credit Web portal down last week after it discovered criminals had used the identities of 1,500 government employees at the Department of Work and Pensions to make fraudulent claims.

The tax credit Web site handles around half-a-million transactions a year. The fraudsters were able to change claim details and redirect the money into their own bank accounts by getting hold of a genuine claimant’s name, date of birth and National Insurance number, which is the U.K. version of a Social Security number.

The fraud involving innocent staff at the Department of Work and Pensions only came to light during compliance checks by HM Revenue and Customs. British lawmakers were told that the tax credit Web site has been hit by more than 30 million pounds, or about $52 million, in fraudulent claims.

Source: News.com

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