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22 November 2007, 16:05

Capitalising on the HMRC data loss

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According to The Register an item was posted on ebay yesterday, purporting to be the two lost HMRC CDs. It is almost certainly a spoof, not only because this would be the least profitable method of disposal, but also because it appeared just after the publicity broke despite the data having been lost over a month ago. Furthermore, the quoted addressing is incorrect as the disks were lost in transit to the National Audit Office. The e-bay entry has nevertheless already been taken down.

This is yet another example of a growing trend of a mercenary subculture capitalising on current events that has been noted already in cases such as the Virginia Tech shootings in April this year.

However, the poster of this e-bay item was possibly not unique in anticipating a financial return from the current incident. It has also emerged that HMRC have set up a premium rate number (0845 3021444) for the public to enquire about their missing data at a charge of 10p per minute for a landline call. According to the Times this contravenes national policy, which recommends local rate phone lines for public service enquiries. Clearly the tax man knows not the word "give".


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