Sunday, 13 September 2009

Whitehall Data Security

Police are investigating how criminals managed to steal £1million from the taxman (Ed: No, from US, actually...) by accessing a Government computer system and granting themselves rebates.

The thieves filed returns online using the passwords of genuine self-assessment taxpayers – then diverted the money to bogus accounts.

The sting prompted concern yesterday that the fraudsters may have obtained the passwords from one of the many Whitehall laptops stolen over the past few years.
Didn't HMRC have a problem with some discs a while back, hmm..?
The system penetrated by the thieves, the Government Gateway, was set up at a cost of £18million as part of Tony Blair’s vision for services to be administered electronically.
An £18 million computer system foiled by someone leaving a laptop on the train! It could only be a government system.

Still, I'm sure the HMRC are pursuing this as rigorously as they pursue all those off shore bankers...

One victim, who runs a bespoke jewellery firm, received a letter from HMRC saying he was getting a tax rebate of £7,539.44, to be paid into a Barclays Bank account.

The 47-year-old said: ‘I phoned the tax office immediately and when I told them I had not asked for a rebate and that I bank with NatWest, not Barclays, they said, “This must be a fraudulent tax return. Do not worry about it.” That’s all they said. They did not ask any questions. I got the impression they have a few of these fraudulent returns.’


James Higham said...

And so the story continues.

Mike said...

If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny. I got a letter from the tax office once that said I earned less than I paid in income tax?!?!?!? Guess I'm due a rebate too. I rang up to ask them for some money after I received that letter and they said 'we are getting a new computer today please hold the line' I got bored and found a new job. Funny, tax has always seemed synonymous with theft to me.