Dozens of Websites caught flogging UK Identities

The Times has successfully downloaded banking information of 32 people including a judge and a managing director without forking out anything.

An undercover investigation by the newspaper showed how easy it was for criminals - and indeed for almost anyone - to obtain and use details of UK citizens.

The details - which included private account numbers, email addresses, PINs and security codes - were obtained from hacking websites which offered the details as a free taster.

More than 100 such websites have been earmarked by the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas who will be working with police forces to take them down although it could be problematic given the nature of the internet and the fact the overwhelming number of those websites are based in rogue states.

The online newspaper reported that a criminal was offering 30,000 UK credit card numbers for less than a pound each.

The news come amidst concerns caused by the loss of the details of 25 million child benefit claimants last month and compounds even more pressure on the banks which are liable for loss through fraud.