ID cards could be a conman's paradise, fraud experts warn

The Government's plan to introduce compulsory identity cards could create a fraudster's paradise, according to leading software security and data experts.

Steve Gal, co-founder of ID Analytics, a US firm which specialises in studying fraud behavioural patterns for banks, warned it would be very difficult to prevent fraudsters getting genuine ID cards.

"My understanding is that the method of authentication will be matching of data to credit agencies' files," Gal said. "The problem with this is that criminals can get access to these files - we know of 50 million cases of personal data breach reported in the US this year."

In the US, crooks have been able to bribe staff in credit reference agencies or hack into the databases maintained by banks and other financial companies.

Experts are also concerned that government agencies' records on UK citizens may not be up to date or accurate. That would make it harder for agencies to share information in order to catch out the criminals. Barry Stamp, joint managing director of Credit Reporting Agency, said: "It's only good if you use the information and it is right."

For example, fraudsters currently find it easy to get a new driving licence simply by filling in a form and providing a photograph and basic birth certificate or passport details. Conmen obtain the details of people who have died to apply online for a birth certificate from the General Register Office. This register does not supply other agencies with details of people who have died.

"If you don't link the records to the births, deaths and marriages register, how do you know when someone dies?," Stamp said.

While there are 44 million people eligible to work in the UK, more than 60m national insurance numbers are in circulation, according to Stamp.

In fact, a wide range of different public sector agencies hold an estimated total of more than 150m records on UK citizens, with little cross-checking taking place.

National insurance numbers are held by the Department of Work and Pensions, birth certificates are lodged at the General Register Office while motoring details are maintained by the Driving Vehicle and Licensing Agency. HM Revenue and Customs holds tax details and criminal records are held by each of the UK's 43 police forces. Electoral roll data is held by over 450 local councils.

Mark Jones, a former director of fraud prevention at Direct Line, said: "The government needs to get its act together with the databases they have - there is no cohesive strategy."

Dr James Hart, commissioner of the economic crime unit and chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' economic crime portfolio, said it was crucial for there to be an extension to the testing process.

"This could be done gently so that the vulnerability of the technology could be looked at in a controlled way," he said. "The validity of the technology is pivotal and there needs to be more than one method of establishing identity."

Hart called for testing to take place over time so a system could evolve to take advantage of the latest technology, and warned ministers not to commit to a set time frame too soon.

Graham Lund, head of new product development at the credit reference agency CallCredit, said ID cards were a major concern.

"We have some reservations dependent on how tough the security measures are," Lund said. "We would need to be confident the system was producing bona fide cards and that there would not be a large number of duplicates."

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

    £40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy