Tax credit ID theft to be Probed

Silicon reports that the UK's data protection watchdog has launched an investigation into the tax credit fraud fiasco that resulted from the theft of the identities and personal details of almost 13,000 staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Network Rail.

The government admitted last week that 8,800 staff identities at the DWP had been stolen in 2003/04, with 6,800 used in attempts by criminal gangs to make false tax credits claims last summer. Meanwhile 4,000 Network rail staff had personal details stolen and used by fraudsters to exploit security weaknesses on the tax credits claim website.

Although HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) claims to have stopped many of the fraudulent claims before any money was paid, it admits to losing £2.7m from those that slipped through the net. The tax credits website was closed down in December and is still offline while the criminal investigation is ongoing.