'Indian call centres selling personal data of Brits'



London: Corrupt Indian call centre workers are selling swathes of confidential personal information, from credit card details and medical records to loan data, of over 500,000 Britons, media reports claimed here on Sunday.

Confidential personal data on hundreds of thousands of Britons is being touted by corrupt Indian call centre workers, the Sunday Times report said citing its sting operation.

Posing as London businessmen, undercover reporters met two Indians, claiming to be information technology workers at call centres trying to sell confidential personal information.

The two data traders boasted of having 45 different sets of personal information on nearly 500,000 Britons, the Daily Mail reported separately.

Once in the hands of criminals and unscrupulous companies, the data can be used to defraud customers or to provide crucial leads for cold calls. The potential rewards dwarf the cost, as little as 2 pence per piece of information, that the data traders charge, the Times report said.

The reporters were tipped off about the activities of the two data traders trying to sell confidential personal information and had arranged for a meeting in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

One of the sellers of the information told the undercover reporters that, "It's collected by the agents. It's not the bank's data.

"Barclays bank would never give me any data. It's data that has been collected by the agents directly from the person that is holding these cards by survey and the sales they make," the report quoted the trader as saying.

The information available from the sellers also included the records of mobile phone company customers and hundreds of people who subscribe to Sky TV, it said.

Other information being traded around by unscrupulous workers was on mortgages, loans, insurance, mobile phone contracts, according to the Times sting.

After accepting a payment of 100 pounds, one of them said he had been selling such data for more than four years and agreed to provide a sample of information.

Two days later he emailed a total of 841 records, including information on 15 credit cards and data about six people earning 15,000 pounds a month or more, the report said.

British companies are reluctant to report such breaches for fear of the potential adverse publicity.

Richard Bacon, a Tory MP for South Norfolk and a member of the public accounts committee, called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review of consumer protection rules, it said.

PTI