There's an interesting footnote to both this report, and Alan Johnson's public utterances last week, including his Guardian CiF article here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... fraud-cost
Both quote the discredited government estimate of the annual cost of Identity Fraud at "over £1.2bn". But there are actually *two* discredited government estimates floating around out there. The £1.2bn figure comes from:
Cabinet Office, "Identity Fraud: A Study", July 2002, Annex B, page 73,
(URL used to be http://www.identitycards.gov.uk/downloa ... report.pdf
, but it's been moved again, and I can't find it at the moment).
However, there is also a later annual estimate of £1.7bn, produced by the Home Office itself:
Home Office, "Updated estimate of the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy", 2 February 2006
(URL used to be http://www.identitytheft.org.uk/ID%20fraud%20table.pdf
, but they've moved this one too!).
Both figures are utterly bogus:
* The 2002 report shows £370 million of identity fraud reported by APACS, the bank clearing service for plastic cards and cheques, but APACS itself says the real figure was only £20.6 million – about 6% of the government's claim.
* The Cabinet Office says identity fraud cost the insurance industry £250 million in 2002, but in June 2005 the Association of British Insurers told reporter Andrew Gilligan "I'm not sure where that figure comes from. It's not from us. ... Insurance fraud tends to be people claiming in their real names for false losses. ID fraud is not a particularly big problem in the insurance sector".
* The 2002 and 2006 reports both include £215 million for Missing Trader IntraCommunity" (MTIC) fraud, also known as Carousel Fraud, where goods are bought and sold by fictitious companies in different countries in the EU, with VAT which was never actually paid "claimed back" from EU governments. However, a spokesman for HM Revenue & Customs told Andrew Gilligan "We wouldn't normally describe MTIC fraud as ID fraud."
... and so on.
The Gilligan article is here:
http://firstname.lastname@example.org ... illig.html
So, the interesting question is: why has the Home Office now disowned its own 3-year-old £1.7bn figure, widely quoted by Andy Burnham at the time, and reverted to the equally-bogus and 7-year-old £1.2bn figure? Is this carelessness, or something else?