Fraud Takes Down UK Tax Website

Silicon reports the government has come under fire after it emerged ministers have known for months that criminals were using stolen identities to make £30m of fraudulent online tax credit claims.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was warned about the flaw over six months ago but only closed the tax credit portal down last week after it discovered criminals had used the identities of 1,500 civil servants at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to make fraudulent claims.

The tax credit website handles around half a million transactions a year and the fraudsters were able to change claim details and redirect the money into their own bank accounts by getting hold of a genuine claimant's name, date of birth and national insurance number.

The police have now been called in and a spokesman for HMRC declined to comment further while the criminal investigation is ongoing - but said the tax credit website will remain down until the review of its security is completed.