Primarolo launches identity theft offensive

HMRC, Primarolo

Primarolo met senior figures in the banking sector on Monday

Banking and financial institutions are being drawn into a joint offensive
with the tax authorities and the Home Office against identity fraud.

The crackdown, announced in two separate Commons statements by paymaster
general Dawn Primarolo and home affairs minister Andy Burnham, follows the use
of stolen civil service staff identities in an assault on the tax credit system,
which forced the suspension of on-line applications.

Primarolo said the Treasury and FSA are working with the financial services
industry ‘to ensure that it has in place the most effective systems to fight
financial crime’, with new guidance to be published shortly to strengthen the
system of ID checks while reducing inconvenience to customers.

She said HM Revenue & Customs ‘will carry out an assessment of the
typical profile of frauds committed against it, to assist banks in identifying
suspect payments and accounts, enabling them to make timely Suspicious Activity
Reports to the National Criminal Intelligence Service’.

She said HMRC will contact any firms that have been party to these frauds.

Sir Stephen Lander, chair-designate of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, is
expected to report by the end of March on a review of the suspicious activity
reporting regime.

Burnham said he, Primarolo, senior figures in law enforcement and the
banking sector met on Monday to discuss an urgent action programme for the
Identity Fraud Steering Committee.

This includes procedures for preventing employees whose records have been
stolen from suffering affects on their credit ratings and further ID abuse;
encouraging credit reference agencies to share information with the public
sector; and encouraging the public sector to join CIFAS, the fraud prevention
service, so details of criminals who defraud the tax credit system are shared in
the same way as those who attack private sector organisations.

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