ID cards could be a conman's paradise, fraud experts warn
Saturday 09 July 2005
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."
- 1 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 2 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: Transcript reveals passengers 'screamed for over five minutes' before plane crashed into mountain
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station