Friday, February 03, 2006

Idiot Or Liar?

Yesterday we blogged Home Office minister Andy Burnham's pitch that identity fraud costs Britain £1.7bn pa.

It now turns out that the figure was overstated by around 150%.

According to Apacs- the group that represents payment organisations such as banks and credit firms, and actually collects the underlying data- Burnham grossly misrepresented their figures.

For one thing he included £395 million which relates to money laundering rather than identity fraud. Furthermore, he claimed that Apacs puts the cost of ID fraud linked to plastic cards at £504 million a year. But Apacs says that the real figure was less than £37 million. “The £504 million is the total losses for plastic cards. It is not just identity fraud on cards,” she said. “Within that overall figure there will be some cards stolen in the post, some skimmed or cloned, some lost or stolen.”

Asked why the Home Office used the larger sum, she said: “I just think they think it is a good story to scare people with.”

You know, we reckon the Apacs spokesman has put her finger on it.

Is Burnham and idiot or a liar? Either way, this is yet another example of why taxpayers should never take any government figures at face value.

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