AOH :: ISN-3103.HTM

Indian data theft 'exposed'

Indian data theft 'exposed'
Indian data theft 'exposed' 

By Mark Ballard
5th October 2006

A man in India offered to sell the front man of a Channel 4 sting 
operation the credit card details of 200,000 people, the programme 
Dispatches will reveal tonight.

The programme makers were inspired by a sting operation mounted on an 
Indian call centre last year by The Sun newspaper, in which a man 
allegedly sold the bank details of 1,000 British people to a journalist.

The Sun story helped stoke a backlash against outsourcing to India. The 
Sun was subsequently accused of duping its quarry and fabricating the 
story about fraud in India.

Dispatches will show that fraud and theft do indeed occur in India. It 
will demonstrate how doing business with India, like any other country, 
necessitates the exchange of information that can subsequently get into 
the wrong hands.

The Channel 4 programme also claims to have found a man willing to sell 
the mobile phone details of 8,000 British people, and another willing to 
sell bank account details.

There have been well publicised incidents of fraud involving Indians who 
had access to British bank accounts. But fraud is a bigger problem in UK 
institutions, a fact largely overlooked by the media. It is also more 
likely to occur in any other developed market we choose to do business 

We have noted this before [1], but to recap briefly, take the example of 
the Indian man who was arrested in June for selling information from an 
HSBC call centre that was used to defraud 233,000 from customer 
accounts. In the same month, however, and Edinburgh Donald McKenzie was 
prosecuted for defrauding 21m from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Incidents of reported fraud in the UK have tripled in since 2003, 
according to BDO Stoy Hayward. The British government is conducting a 
review of unreported fraud the UK, which is it describes as "chronic".

Accountants Ernst & Young found in a survey of Western corporate 
managers that almost two thirds expected to encounter more fraud in 
emerging markets than at home. Yet 75 per cent of fraud occurred in 
developed markets, the firm said. Forrester Research found in 2005 that 
the UK and US suffered more computer security breaches than India.

Such interest in Indian fraud in the face of such evidence warrants a 
reminder of the Conservative party's recent paper on India. It described 
euphemistically the "aversion" British people had to doing business with 
India. The British need to do business with India, it said, so they 
better learn to see the Indians as they are.


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