Theft of Department of Work and Pensions staff identities by criminals forces HM Revenue & Customs to lockdown tax credits e-portal
A frantic internal investigation is underway at the HM Revenue & Customs
after the identities of thousands of Department for Work and Pensions staff were
stolen, forcing HMRC to shut down its tax credits portal late last night.
Criminals are thought to have stolen the identities of potentially thousands
of DWP staff and used them to make fraudulent claims on the government’s tax
credits website. HMRC suspended the site immediately after discovering the theft
and announced that it takes fraud ‘very seriously’.
A spokesman said that an internal investigation had begun immediately but
refused to say how many people or who was involved in the process. ‘We are
constantly examining all our sites to make sure they are not abused’, he added.
‘As part of ongoing compliance work we have identified and stopped attempts
to defraud the tax credit system by making claims through the tax credits
e-portal. In the light of this, HMRC has closed the tax credits e-portal while
it develops new checks to ensure that the system remains secure’, a statement on
its website reads.
HMRC said that all its other online services remained unaffected. It
apologised to customers for any inconvenience caused and reassured people that
while the system was suspended they would still be able to contact HMRC on its
helpline, by post or face-to-face as before.