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January 10, 2008

Barclays’ chief victim of ID theft

by Gill Montia

Story link: Barclays’ chief victim of ID theft

Marcus Agius, the chairman of Barclays Bank, has been the victim of identity theft.

A fraudster rang a Barclays call centre, claiming to be Mr Agius, and convinced one of the bank’s employees to send him a new credit card. The card was then used to withdraw £10,000 from a Barclays branch.

The blunder has left the bank’s management highly embarrassed and Mr Agius has ordered an immediate review of security, plus an explanation from senior staff.

According to a spokesman: “It was down to human error on the part of a member of staff … procedures were not followed and we have learned from it. While we are confident a fraud of this kind will not happen again, the people responsible were professional criminals and this is an ongoing battle.”

It is not yet clear whether the card has been used for any other fraudulent activity and the scam has prompted warnings to other banking executives to be on the alert.

Barclaycard has repaid the £10,000 to Mr Agius and the incident has gone down in banking history as “one of the cheekiest ID thefts ever”.

In the UK, around 1350,000 people have their identity stolen each year and according to Mr Agius, “Credit card fraud is an issue which our industry continues to confront”.

Barclays’ customers have a guarantee against fraud and do not lose out to criminals if they can show they have taken reasonable care.

 

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