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Ramblings, thoughts, facts and opinions about political things - starting point council tenant participation with my land-lord Camden council and council tenant reps plus other housing issues, and whatever.


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Vulnerable people targeted in Town Hall scam

taken from the local rag Camden New Journal HERE

Four arrests after private details of vulnerable residents are 'stolen' from Camden Council.


Published: 25 August, 2016
EXCLUSIVE by RICHARD OSLEY


FOUR people have been arrested after the private details of some of Camden’s most vulnerable residents were “stolen” from Town Hall computer systems – raising fears that personal information has already been passed to cold-call scammers, the New Journal has learned.

Detectives were called in by Camden Council after the names, dates of birth and addresses of elderly residents were allegedly plundered from confidential databases.

One line of inquiry for investigators is that information taken by an insider working for the council was passed to accomplices on the
outside looking for prime targets who would be most vulnerable to door-to-door con tricks and telephone scams ultimately aimed at obtaining bank details.

A member of council staff is understood to have been removed from a position as the probe continues. Town Hall chiefs have made a series of home visits to elderly residents to apologise for the data breach and to advise on how they can now protect themselves.

They are telling residents to check the credentials of people who call at the door unannounced and to be wary of so-called “vishing”, or voice phishing, rackets in which bogus callers insist bank information must be provided.

Martin Pratt, executive director of supporting people directorate, has written to residents explaining the council’s response. He has told those affected: “I am deeply sorry that your personal information was stolen from us and I want to assure you that we have taken steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The Information Commissioner, the independent watchdog that investigates data breaches of private information, has been alerted by the council.

In his letter – seen by the New Journal – Mr Pratt added: “We are strengthening our systems to protect the information held on our systems... However, the police have told us that a number of people across London have recently been contacted by ‘scammers’ who try to steal money from them.

“They use stolen information to make contact with people and then try to get hold of bank account and PIN number details.

“People have also been called by someone pretending to be a police officer. The fake police officer calls and asks the person to go immediately to their bank to withdraw money and then hand it over to another fake police officer who will call at their home address. The police or your bank will never call you and ask for your PIN number or bank account details. They will never send someone to your home to pick up your bank cards or your money.”

While arrests have been made, so far nobody has been charged.

A council spokesman said: “We are supporting police as they investigate and we have taken urgent steps to warn vulnerable residents of the dangers of scammers. This includes providing direct support to those whose information has been taken. A criminal investigation is under way and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

SCAM ADVICE
In the wake of the alleged theft of data from council systems, Camden residents worried they may be affected by bogus calls are advised to:
l Never give bank account details to someone you don’t know;
l Never give out any personal information, such as bank and credit card details, or copies of documents such as a passport or driving licence, unless you know who you are dealing with and why they need it; and
l Never email your financial information, even if you know the person you are emailing.
                                   

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