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Details of Britons bank are available for sale on the internet

The Information Commissioner has launched an investigation after it was revealed that thousands of Britons' bank details are available for sale on the internet.

The Times newspaper said it had found more than 100 websites offering to sell UK bank details, including account numbers, PINs and security codes, and had been able to download banking information for 32 individuals, including a High Court Judge, for free. One fraudster was offering to sell 30,000 British credit card numbers for £1 each, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said the data on offer appeared to be for accounts that were currently active. "From what I have seen the information would be enough for someone to go online and spend money, but at this stage there is no way of knowing which cards are on there," he said.

"Clearly it's a matter of concern if people's personal banking details, which should remain private, are on a public website. "What we are going to do is look at the evidence the Times has given us and how people's numbers appeared on these websites."

He said the investigation would intially focus on what security breach, if any, had taken place to allow the information to get into the public domain. If the data was acquired fraudulently, or by theft, the matter would be passed to the police as a criminal inquiry.

Mr Thomas will address a House of Commons committee on Tuesday to ask to be given extra powers to tackle data protection breaches.

Source: The Guardian
Date: 04.12.2007 [147]

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