No organisation it would seem is safe from cyber attacks and this time Her Majesty Revenue and Customs was on the receiving end. HMRC published a press release on the 27th August advising that 5 people had been arrested for attempting to defraud the revenue of £500,000.
A male was arrested at Stansted airport with a further four males subsequently arrested in London. It is alleged that the men had set up false self assessment accounts; their intention being to make fraudulent tax rebate claims. The creation of self assessment accounts was made possible by the theft of personal data.
Theft of personal data and indeed breaches of such information is on the increase with the use of information communication technology. No longer is it the case that if you do not input your personal data you will be safe; as most organisations utilise some form of computer technology and data banks to store information. Hackers and those responsible for such offences are quite often at the forefront of new technology allowing such thefts to occur.
That said we can also be certain that crimes like this do not go undetected. June of this year saw the arrest of 11 individuals following the investigation into the world’s biggest web forum involved in stolen credit card information.
With the launch of the National Crime Agency fast approaching on the 13th October, which will encompass a unit dedicated to the investigation of cyber crime, we are likely to see more arrests. On 27th June, the Sentencing Council launched a 14-week public consultation on sentencing for fraud, which closes on 4 October 2013. The consultation is seeking views on sentencing for fraud which includes identity fraud and some internet offences. Although the consultation remains open, it is widely predicted that changes to sentencing guidelines will be implemented, resulting in tougher sentences.
At Farleys we have a specialist team of criminal defence solicitors who specialise in serious crime and can provide advice and representation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on all areas of cyber crime. If you have been accused of involvement in online crime in any capacity, it is vital that you speak to a cyber crime defence solicitor at the earliest opportunity. Early advice is often crucial. For 24 hour advice via our emergency crime line, call 01254 606050.