They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, February 04, 2006

ID theft numbers were inflated to bolster government policy

out-law: Government accused of inflating ID fraud figures

The UK Government is facing criticism over its recent attempt to bolster plans for a national identity card scheme by releasing a report suggesting that identity fraud is costing the UK economy over 1.7 billion a year.

The report builds on a study from 2002, which claimed that identity fraud was then costing the country 1.3 billion.

"These findings confirm the sheer scale of the threat posed by identity fraud to individual citizens, private companies, and Government bodies alike," said Home Office Minister Andy Burnham, yesterday.

"One way we can reduce the potential for identity fraud is to introduce a national identity card, backed by a National Identity Register, using biometric technology to crack down on multiple identities and secure personal data on behalf of the individual," he added.

The report was released just in time to fuel debate ahead of the return to the Commons of the ID Card Bill next week. However, the strategy appears to have backfired. The Home Office figures are being challenged.

It appears that the figure of 1.7 billion pounds includes 395 million supposedly lost to 'money laundering' - a figure that the Home Office has now admitted is only 'illustrative'.

It also includes 500 million pounds supposedly lost as a result of "plastic cards being used by criminals pretending to be the rightful owner or by criminals using a fictitious identity."

But payments association APACS, which supplied this figure, told that the total of 500 million includes losses incurred as a result of card theft and other offences that it considers to be separate from identity theft. The true figure for ID theft relating to credit and debit cards, said APACS, was just under 37 million.

"On the one hand the Government's figures are full of holes. On the other they are peddling claptrap about the effectiveness of an ID card in combating identity fraud," warned Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael. "It is impossible to see how an ID card would reduce credit card fraud unless we are going to be expected to show our ID card every time we make a purchase." Link