London: Indian call centres are selling Britons’ confidential personal data, including credit card information, medical and financial records to criminals and marketing firms for as little as two pence, an undercover investigation has discovered.
Two ‘consultants’, claiming to be IT workers at several call centres boasted of possessing 45 different sets of personal information on nearly 500,000 Britons.
IT consultant Naresh Singh met the undercover reporters in a hotel room in Gurgaon, carrying a laptop containing confidential data.
“These [pieces of data] are ones that have been sold to somebody already. This is Barclays, this is Halifax, this is Lloyds TSB. We’ve been dealing so long we can tell the bank by just the card number,” The Daily Mail quoted Singh as saying.
“They would just have got the credit card and not only credit cards, that would be debit card as well,” he added.
The information, much of which is related to customers at major financial companies, including HSBC and NatWest, would allow criminals to siphon thousands of pounds from bank accounts within minutes.
Many British companies have outsourced services to the India but some have withdrawn them following an outrage over the use of foreign workers.
Indian authorities said their efforts to combat corruption have been thwarted by the unwillingness of companies, keen to avoid negative publicity, reporting data losses.
The government is now being called on to take stringent action against widespread reports of data insecurity.