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Offshored Identity Theft

timothy posted about 9 years ago | from the just-more-efficient-that-way dept.

Privacy 292

Travoltus writes "The threat of increased misuse of consumer personal data by offshore criminals was first made publicly known with the UCSF Pakistani medical transcriber scandal. Then, in a logical progression of events, it was discovered that foreign criminal interests were offering money to offshored call center workers to surrender consumer data. Now that threat has been realized: Offshored call center staffers at Mphasis BPO have allegedly stolen £200,000 using United States customers' personal information. It is believed that Indian police reacted swiftly to catch the thieves, but only £12,000 has been recovered so far, and it is not really known who orchestrated this theft or where the rest of that money is now. It is also unknown as of yet how much of a mess this has created for the U.S. citizens who were victimized. Let's hope that the people whose information was stolen don't have to go through what other identity theft victims have to endure, to clean up their good name."

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292 comments

Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (-1, Redundant)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | about 9 years ago | (#12210790)

It doesn't matter where people are located. What matters is that you have trustworthy people handling your business. And, you know what? Untrustworthy people are everywhere.

I, for one, do not buy into this Lou Dobbs racist/nationalist claptrap that says that we can't trust foreigners. I'm one of the biggest foreigners around, if you consider all the places I have to travel to that I'm not actually a citizen of.

Hey, bad people are in India. And in the U.S. And in Europe. And in Asia. Oh my god! They are everywhere!

Luckily, the bad people are outnumbered by the good. I can just take a look at my lists and figure that one out.

Thought I remembered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210806)

Liked the comment so much, you posted it twice [slashdot.org] .

Re:Thought I remembered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210813)

You need this [oldnewsbaby.com] .

Slashdot's got its dupes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210818)

Surely we can be allowed to have ours [slashdot.org]

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (3, Informative)

CleverNickedName (644160) | about 9 years ago | (#12210825)

The parent is the first dupe post [slashdot.org] I've seen on Slashdot. Will it get another +5 Insightful? Only time will tell.

Best of luck, Dancin_Santa. :)

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (5, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 years ago | (#12210857)

it probably isn't the first, I recall seeing similar thing before couple of times. Usually though at least people have the courtesy to not copypaste directly.

anyways.. this is proof of that you could do a slashdot karma-collecting machine quite easily, you would look for similar words in the story text and then automatically repost comments from previous stories that seem like they could be a fit. the discussion is usually general enough and the mods on enough crack to not notice if there's some small thing that goes wrong.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210845)

Wow - someone redundant'd themselves. Amazing that he still got a second +5 Insightful.

I wonder if he wrote the original or he just picked it up from another web site?

Joining in the party (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210863)

Whatever you tink about Lou Dobbs, it's very irresponsible to just dismiss him as a racist.

Even "nationalist" is nonsense, he's merely pointing out one of the problems with unresitriced and unbalanced "unfair" trade. Now, you could argue this is a good thing, and we could point out the problems and have a discussion. But by labeling him a racist, the only thing you're trying to do is to "shut down" any arguments by coming up with ridiculous ad hominem attacks.

I'm an immigrant to this country, and I'm not a fan of outsourcing. I'm all for other immigrants from all over the world to continue coming here and contributing their talents to our local economies, but there is a problem when now people don't even want to become US residents, because they jobs are being drained away from here. We're about to face a serious crisis, when our technological workforce is being decimated by these companies. And there's nothing racist in pointing that out, nothing.

As for security, I don't think most if any people here are saying that a particular nationality is less trustworthy. But you'd be a fool if you don't recognize that some of the safety mechanism we enjoy in this country, are not as robust or even exist in other parts of the less developed world. As we deal with the poorest of nations, with our sensitive data, we have to be *extremely* careful. Already, there have been incidents of bribing by local crime syndicates in some of these countries to obtain data to steal identities. Can that happen in the US? Of course! But the question is, where is it more likely, and what are the protections we need to employ in these situations.

There's a rich discussion to be had on this topic, but please, try to come up with something better than "they're racist".

Just can't stop myself (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210889)

Take a hike pal. American Capitalism did exactly the same things to 3rd world Latin American countries if not worse than what Lou Dobbs describes as happening to "Americans" (Read aging white urban professional crowd). His incessent rant about illegal aliens is pathetic. Illegal aliens (mostly mexicans) are everywhere. They do all menial work. Instead of crediting them for doing these jobs, he is trying to make them untouchables. He never presents the other side of the coin and he is a journalist. I dont see why the person who called him a racist should!

If you are willing to lick shoes to immigrate to America and others are not, thats your problem. (You wearing an american flag for a tshirt doesnt change the fact that you jumped through hoops to achieve immigrant status and everyone knows it.) Whether you like it or not, outsourcing will stay, because thats the way capitalism works. If you dont like it, go back to where you came from - you might find a job. Your opinion doesnt matter unless you are ultra rich.

Finally: Welcome to America. Land of Opportunity. And Lou Dobbs is a pretty pathetic attempt at covering up racism.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (4, Interesting)

griffm (448056) | about 9 years ago | (#12210864)

I concur. There are bad people everywhere. However, if the countries which host these offshore efforts do not respond to the criminal activities at least as well as the US (which shouldn't be too hard in my mind) then they will lose the ability to either gain or maintain business. Also, consumer choice may have an effect over the long term (similar to the "look for the union label" or the boycott of manufacturers that use child labor/sweat shops). I have no doubt the absence of offshore labor could become a marketing tool in the near future.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 years ago | (#12210902)

Sure location matters. If your employees are nearby, you can keep tabs on them. You might even be able to directly affect their morale in a positive manner.

Either way, you can keep better control of things.

Also, culture is relevant in these matters. Some countries have traditions of institutionalized graft. To casually gloss over such differences is the real racist notion here.

What you are promoting is pretty much equivalent to the notion that if you speak slow enough everyone will understand english.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (4, Insightful)

neoThoth (125081) | about 9 years ago | (#12210919)

I think the issue underscored here is risk vs. reward. For someone in the US 30,000 USD isn't *that* much, not enough for many of us to risk jail time. That amount barely covers a years salary for many and I'd say for most reading this site it is way less then a years salary. If you're making $2.00/hr that is a LOT of money. Now we are talking almost a DECADE of salary.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (3, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | about 9 years ago | (#12210986)

The Washington DC area metro system recently went to electronic cards for paying for using their parking garages. The all of a suddent realized that low paid workers that have large ammounts of money passing through their hands on a daily basis are a bad risk in terms of theft of said money.

Comment maid by other people: "No shit, Sherlock." and "Duh!"

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211280)

Comment maid?


Is that someone who comes in and tries to clean up all the dirty words around here?

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (2, Informative)

will_die (586523) | about 9 years ago | (#12210998)

FYI, Lou Dobbs was called a racist by Al Franken for using the term, better close your eyes, "illegal alien".
Another group of people are mad at him for writting "People who come to the US with H-1B [slashdot.org] and L1 visas don't pay any taxes, and they return home with all the money they earned here. They are all cheap foreign labor."
If you think thoses are racist terms then don't click on the link to slashdot.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211018)

Ok It looks like the stories a dupe but the comment too!...
or is it just coincidence that

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050411/152/fg2a3.html

"Police said the employees allegedly stole customers' personal account information and transferred just under £200,000 to fake accounts in Pune. Sanjay Jadhav, the assistant commissioner of police, said about one million rupees (£12,000) of the fraud money has already been recovered. The call centre workers left their jobs last December."

and http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msi d-1070986,curpg-1.cms
"PUNE: Cyber crime has moved to the next level in Pune. Close on the heels of the Webcam Kulkarni scandal, in which a tenant secretly filmed girl students staying in his hostel using hidden cameras, the Pune police have unearthed a major siphoning racket involving former and serving callcentre employees.

They allegedly transferred a total of Rs 1.5 crore (US $3.5 lakh) from a multinational bank into their own accounts, opened under fictitious names. The money was used to splurge on luxuries like cars and mobile phones.

Twelve people, including the alleged mastermind, have been arrested. The police are trying to determine the extent of the scam and whether the accused committed such crimes earlier.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, police commissioner D.N. Jadhav said, "This is a rare case in which criminals have exploited the weaknesses in high-end technology." "

or has D.N jadhav been exceptionally busy.

Its not been said in this version of the story but in the "original" citybank was mentioned.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (3, Interesting)

bombadillo (706765) | about 9 years ago | (#12211068)

It's not about trustworthy people. You will find those anywhere. It's about the people who now have access to our personal data being outside of our Legal and Law enforcement system. In the UK they have a data protection act which restricts personal data from going outside their country. The U.S. would be wise to adopt such a policy. One would think it would be a no brainer these days with our talk of being tough on terrorists. In light of recent news of our borders being porous and our domestic response teams being ill prepared. It really makes me wonder if we are really still that concerned about domestic terrorism.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 years ago | (#12211214)

It's not so much about nationalist or racist concerns. This is about security. Yes, there are untrustworthy people everywhere, but there are more security concerns when companies outsource data overseas. Companies may lose control of their data and become powerless to stop it. Some countries may not have identity theft laws or worse be in collusion with criminals. Those who do may not have the resources to fight it. In the US, identity theft has only recently become recognized as a crime and law enforcement resources alerted to it. While the sky is not falling, it is one thing to consider when outsourcing data overseas.

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 9 years ago | (#12211243)

All I'm going to say is that last time this was brought up I said that it doesn't matter if they are foreigners or not, they could be prisoners.

The idea is that given the inequity between the two peoples some are going to take from the people with more. Plus you add in that we are in fact the foreigners to them...

How many people have screamed or yelled at a Indian phone worker simply because they couldn't understand the person on the other end? That has to get around, eventually you feel like those people have it coming to them. Just makes it easier considering you are stealing 50 years salary!

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 9 years ago | (#12211256)

All I'm going to say is that last time this was brought up I said that it doesn't matter if they are foreigners or not, they could be prisoners.

What I mean by that is; we've employed prisoners in the past to do these same jobs. What bothers me is that I'd take the job and so would my fellow countrymen. Why do criminials and foreign workers always get this job?

Re:Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (2, Insightful)

MyTwoCentsWorth (593731) | about 9 years ago | (#12211262)


You forget one detail - the poorer the country, the bigger the value that USD 100 has. Most americans would not risk their freedom for 10,000 USD, but for somebody in a poor country that is enough to retire on... so people are more tempted.

It is an inevitable consequence of exporting jobs to lower-paid workers - the temptation to steal is much greater.

Have fun posting.

So much for outsorucing (0)

CokoBWare (584686) | about 9 years ago | (#12210796)

I guess this says a harder look will be given to outsourcing before actually sending work overseas.

I don't get it (5, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#12210797)

Why is identity theft by foreigners considered more scary that identity theft by Americans. I'd bet you $100 that the vast, vast, vast majority of credit card fraud on Americans is committed by their fellow countrymen[0].

[0] Or women.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

gonk (20202) | about 9 years ago | (#12210811)

It is hard to enforce U.S. law on foreigners.

robert

Re:I don't get it (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210867)

<troll>Yeah? Well it's pretty hard to enforce international law on the US.</troll>

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#12210898)

But the Indian police have already arrested the perpetrators. If you want to extradite them, I'm sure the Indian authorities will be glad to let you have them (seriously, it's probably more hassle than its worth to process them themselves, with the US peering over their shoulders.)From TFA
"Distressing as this incident has been, it is a sad but realistic fact that no system can be 100 percent foolproof. The deterrence of prompt action is, therefore, critical," Karnik noted. "In this context, the proactive efficiency and the prompt success of the police reinforces the reputation of India as a country with a strong legal and enforcement framework."
Contrary to some people's opinion, the world outside the US is not a lawless desert.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210983)

I'm sure the Indian authorities will be glad to let you have them

I don't what you're smoking, but most countries do not willingly extradite criminals, espically if the criminal is a citizen of that country.

And contrary to most Americans beliefs, most of the world hates the US, and isn't likey to expect them to give fair treatment to their citizens.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#12211081)

I don't what you're smoking, but most countries do not willingly extradite criminals
What am I smoking? Why, its a rolled up copy of the US-India extradition treaty [indianembassy.org] which contains the extremely salient phrase
"Extradition shall be granted for an extraditable offense regardless of where the act or acts constituting the offense were committed."
which applies to almost any crime for with a sentence longer than a year.

Re:I don't get it (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | about 9 years ago | (#12211010)

How the heck are you modded as Flamebait? If anything you should be +3, Informative, at the very least.

The crux of the matter is that the problems people see in outsourcing lies in their belief that they cannot extend the laws and regulations here to other countries, and thereby punish them. Many posts here point to how it's easier to keep tabs on employees if they're close-by.

However, the world is not lawless. India has its laws too. And the criminals, as the parent mentioned, were prosecuted. The US does not have to police the world and every offshore company to ensure that people aren't screwing them over.

There's a deep sense of paranoia in the US. I can only blame Bernays [wikipedia.org] and his uncle Freud for such irrational behavior.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 9 years ago | (#12210947)

So, is identity theft and/or fraud not a crime in these countries? If not, then why on earth are businesses offshoring this sort of work there? If so, then what's the problem? Either way, they'll be treated as the criminals they are.

Re:I don't get it (4, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | about 9 years ago | (#12210962)

So you think that the Indian authorities would be soft on this sort of crime because the victims aren't Indian citizens? Please.

If anything - and I speak with a great deal of personal knowledge about the country having travelled there many times - they're probably more vigilant about crimes against westerners than they are about crime in general.

China (2, Insightful)

Lifewish (724999) | about 9 years ago | (#12211146)

IIRC, it's very very hard for foreign companies to get Chinese companies prosecuted. India may be very law-abiding; be aware that that isn't a universal trait.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210985)

Not true. America tries hard to enforce U.S. law on foreigners. Americans are foreigners. Maybe you meant non-americans! (posted by a Brit).

Re:I don't get it (1)

Threni (635302) | about 9 years ago | (#12211055)

DVD Jon, Welsh cannabis importer Howard Marks and many, many others from around the world would have to disagree with you there, I'm afraid!

Re:I don't get it (1)

elhondo (545224) | about 9 years ago | (#12210828)

I think it's a bigger deal because of the law enforcement that we have to deter this sort of thing. Even though it's a problem here, it's a problem that our government is working on. That may not be the case in a foreign country.

Re:I don't get it (5, Interesting)

cthulhuology (746986) | about 9 years ago | (#12210895)

Identity theft by foreign thieves is scarier because the US legal system and police systems alone aren't sufficient to track them down. International crime has jurisdictional issues, and you have no guarantee that the authorities in whatever country you're dealing with will cooperate, or even have the means to do so. This isn't an "outsourcing is bad because foreigners can't be trusted" problem, it is a "outsourceing is bad because the same rules that protect US customers need not apply". Anything that makes getting away with identity theft easier / harder to prosecute makes the situation worse.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211020)

the US legal system and police systems alone aren't sufficient to track them down
One could say the same about an enormous amount of crime within the US. What's the detection/conviction rate for burglaries in NYC these days? About 15%.

Re:I don't get it (1)

will_die (586523) | about 9 years ago | (#12210930)

I don't consider the story to be that the info was stolen by foreigners but that it was an organized setup and operated as such.
With it being done this way it should of been made a story(not on /.) no matter where it happened.

Re:I don't get it (1)

neoThoth (125081) | about 9 years ago | (#12210965)

Not if they are smart. Not that all criminals are genius, far from it. But even an idiot knows that getting caught is a factor. Now if you live in Nigeria what are the chances that someone making a complaint will get a warrant issued for your arrest. And if the warrant were issued Big F'n Deal! Try serving an arrest warrant in Nigeria issued from the US. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. So it is a big deal when the crime is occuring from other countries because we can arrest any nimrod who abuses access here (see the UCSB story of the girl who stole her prof's identity!)

20-30% by immediate family members (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 9 years ago | (#12211080)

Sources say that somewhere between a quarter and third of illegal credit is done by spouses or parents of underage children(*).

(*) DOB not verified in many credit card applications, so its easy to get cards in children's name.

Re:I don't get it (1)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | about 9 years ago | (#12211246)

Is it "more scary"? I don't really think so, but that's not really the point of the article either.

It does, however, make very eminent the issue of unscrupulous "bad citizen" corporations sending private information of good citizens overseas where they have no control over it or legal recourse for that matter.

We slashdotters "told you so", so it makes the story more ironic as well.

Nothing for you to see here (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210804)

Please fill in you credit card number, social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name and your password to all you most important information below:

It's been said before... (5, Insightful)

VanillaBabies (829417) | about 9 years ago | (#12210808)

The worst part about stuff like this is that the system is set up in favor of the person stealing the information. There are what seems to be very few safeguards to prevent the theft of someone's information. However, when it's time to clean up the mess, those responsible for it, including companies that were mishandling the information, are nowhere to be found. Thus leaving the victim to spend excessive amounts of time and money clearing their "good" name. Just proves the only person watching out for you is yourself, so be careful who you trust.

Re:It's been said before... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210959)

I don't really care about identity theft If some one steals my identity and trashes it I'll just go and steal a new one :)
Seems to be an easy thing to do.

Ownership Society (2, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 9 years ago | (#12210823)

This is one of the biggest problems that I see with our apparently inevitable slide toward an ownership society [cato.org] .

The plan as I read it is to offshore everything with the thought that we'll still own the capital and intellectual property that people who do the actual work will be dependent on. I think incidents like this shine a spotlight on why this kind of thing won't work in the long term. What happens when the people who do the actual work (and that you're throwing the equivalent of scraps to) decide they don't like your arrangement? They change the rules (example: steal people's identities) and you have little recourse since you don't actually do anything and are wholly dependent on them.

That makes very little sense, if any. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210901)

Don't trust foreigners?

What about all the call center workers who DIDN'T steal identities? What's this irrational fear of everyone and everything foreign? Yes there are bad individuals out there? You want to categorize an entire people based on actions of a few?

Not everyone is evil, there is the police that apparently managed to catch this guys. What about them? No credit for what they did?

What about identity theft carried out in america by americans?

So far there are two cases of identity theft via outsourcing .. and you've convicted all foreign workers as thieves and miscreants.

Re:That makes very little sense, if any. (4, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 9 years ago | (#12210935)

My aim was certainly not to give the impression that I distrust people outside the United States but rather to discuss the idea of the purported plan for an "ownership society" within the U.S. of:

1. US Workers do menial labor
2. US outsources menial labor
3. US Workers do skilled labor
4. US outsources skilled labor
5. US Workers own everything and do no labor
6. US outsources all labor

What do we expect will happen? Why will we "own" everything? Because a piece of paper says we own it. What happens when the people that actually do the work tear up the piece of paper?

I think incidents like this are tiny examples of what's to come.

Re:That makes very little sense, if any. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211172)

What do we expect will happen? Why will we "own" everything? Because a piece of paper says we own it. What happens when the people that actually do the work tear up the piece of paper?

I think incidents like this are tiny examples of what's to come.


Exactly. It's already been proven in Argentina after the financial collapse there (brought about by too much outsourcing and too many large tax breaks given to foreign big business by President Menos, btw). One evening, all the foreign multinationals, including the banks, emptied their safes, chained the doors, and fled the country under cover of darkness. The next morning, the workers showed up to work and found they were all out of jobs. After sitting around moping for a while, they said "screw it", kicked the doors of the now-vacant factories down, started up the machines, and continued producing their product. They pay themselves all an equal wage, out of the profits. They call it fabrica ocupada, "occupied factory". Please note that Argentina was very prosperous, comparable to Canada or Australia.


Now the old owners have found out that the workers are able to cut prices on their products (while still maintaining quality), because the wages of the owners and the management perqs -- golf trips, planes and whatnot are actually the biggest wasteful overhead -- and demand possession of their abandoned factories back in order to stop the "people" from competing with them (they still make their goods elsewhere and ship them into Argentina).

Build factories when it starts to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211279)

What happens when the people that actually do the work tear up the piece of paper?

Well, first of all .. there is no immediate end to cheap labor. What I mean is, there are BILLIONS of poor people who will do work.

Once every human is rich, fat, and lazy and doesn't want to work, yes, then maybe we'll have a problem. But hopefully by then we'll have robots, highly automated farming and mining, or something doing the work.

Maybe in the distant future someday the concept of working for money to survive will be considered ancient to humans.

Personally I don't see everyone in the world becoming rich as a problem or threat.

And yes, the world contains more than enough resources to feed everyone and for everyone to have a good lifestyle.

And for those worried about population (though in my view having more humans isnt bad), richer people don't really have population growth.

As for resources and energy .. (the earth itself is 30% iron or something if thats relevant and we have unlimited energy from fusion .. or geothermal (how much heat is in the 6000 mile diameter earth core), or other alternatives)). The harnessed energy can be used in automated farming. This is assuming we don't become space faring.

It's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210945)

It's funny how the nazi anti outsourcing and anti free trade crowd used to rant about a foreign worker's plight and conditions (and therefore we supposedly shouldn't have free trade for their sake), but now when then argument has failed due to the obvious lies it carried .. they have switched to saying foreigners are evil, don't deserve work even if they can do it cheaper, and should starve and die .. cause hey one or two of them might even be terrorists.

slightly ridiculous (3, Insightful)

egyber (788117) | about 9 years ago | (#12210834)

Putting the focus on the fact that the thieves were working in outsourced operations is beside the point. The necessary assumption for this story to make sense, is that these off-shore workers steal more money from Americans than other Americans do. While I don't have statistics in front of me, I highly doubt that the off-shore theft problem is even comparable to in-house work. Big deal, some people stole a relatively small sum of money... it's only news because those "evil Indians" are taking all our jobs and are now stealing our money too!

Re:slightly ridiculous (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 9 years ago | (#12210937)

Why is it a "necessary assumption" for this "story to make sense" that off-shore workers are stealing MORE money from Americans than Americans are stealing?

Let's assume that Americans steal a billion dollars a year from other Americans in identity theft. Under your theory, it's would not be news that Indians are "only" stealing a million a year. Heck, under your theory, it wouldn't be news if Indians were "only" stealing $999,999,999 a year. Exactly how does THAT make sense?!

Re:slightly ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210951)

Big deal, some people stole a relatively small sum of money...

Heh, want to do me a favor and send me a "relatively small" sum of money? About $377,880 should do (:

Re:slightly ridiculous (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#12210972)

No, it's not 'slightly ridiculous'. It's a new wrinkle in the identity theft schema.

People know about id theft here, and try to combat it in their personal dealings. And some people don't trust offshore companies, so they don't deal with them. One less avenue for your information to be screwed with.

Now, the homegrown companies you deal with and trust are making that decision for you. Releasing your info offshore, and you have no knowledge of it, and can't prevent it. And can't fight back.

Is offshore ID theft a big problem? No, not yet. Much smaller in terms of actual losses. But it is a whole other way to get screwed over.

American identity thieves protest... (2, Funny)

Transcendent (204992) | about 9 years ago | (#12210841)

"They took er jerrrrbs!"

Though, this time it's not as simple as preventing the future from happening.

Its the LAW! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210852)

The real reason for not wanting my personal information to leave this country is that I have more faith in the laws of my country to be able adequately deter & punish the folks who commit these sorts of crimes. I don't think that non-US citizens are any more or less good people, but they may have less of a deterrent to do the right thing.

Re:Its the LAW! (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 years ago | (#12211115)

...and the fact is, we already have so little control over our personal information, that I have to concur with the assertion.

Is it nationalist or racist? I don't know really. I just don't want all of my information out of control. It shouldn't be legal to sell personal information in the first place. "Credit history" and like information has become a very abused business and falls neatly within the predictions of disaster by the people who protested this system decades ago. Has it improved our lives? Our economy? Anything?

It made rich people richer and citizens into 'consumers.'

why its an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210855)

The matter is simple. Sure, there is millions of usd changing hands in ID theft cases in the US daily, perpetrated by US citizens. Why is that less of an issue? Because there exist no legal barriers o jump to prosecute native citizens. To go after, arrest, and convict the perpetrators in Pakistan or India requires a joint effort of multiple governments, something that takes vastly more time and effort than just having a local justice write you up a warrant and being done with it.

They stole what? (5, Funny)

JonToycrafter (210501) | about 9 years ago | (#12210859)

"stolen £200,000 using United States customers' personal information"

£200,000?! I smell a rat. What kind of Americans keep that much British money around?

Those of us who invest (1)

wiredog (43288) | about 9 years ago | (#12210955)

and are betting that the dollar will continue to slide. Pounds and Euros have been a goo investment over the past couple of years.

The old saw still applies (4, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 9 years ago | (#12210872)

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Closer, in the instant case, meaning the same continent or at least someplace where we can capture and prosecute the fsckers.

Re:The old saw still applies (3, Informative)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#12211292)

at least someplace where we can capture and prosecute the fsckers.
They've been caught. There's an extradition treaty in place. There's no will to extradite because, in the grand scheme of things, a theft of $400,000 is not worth the paperwork. The Indians will punish them, and I can guarantee to you the conditions in Indian prisons make US prisons look like holiday camps.

Whoe's responsible? (5, Interesting)

cpn2000 (660758) | about 9 years ago | (#12210890)

I think a good deterrant to these things would be to make the company who owns this data take responsibility if it gets in the wrong hands. While this does not solve the problem, companies will be more wary of who they do business with if their neck is on the line, it wont simply be a question of awarding work to the lowest bidder.
While offshoring of these type of jobs may be inevitable, I would expect companies to be damn sure of what they are doing if they are handing my personal details to a third party, especially one outside the US

While dealing with identity theft happening within the US is bad enough, it would be a nighmare trying to sort this out when it happens overseas.
This does not mean that people outside the US are any more (or less) dishonest than within. But when you try to track down criminals in another country you are essentially at the mercy of the police in that place, and there may be no way of compelling them to help ... i.e you are essentially at their mercy.

Re:Whoe's responsible? (1)

AlanS2002 (580378) | about 9 years ago | (#12210975)

if anything this highlights why it is best to give your credit card details to as few companies as possible and where possible get them to bill you.

But think of the savings! (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | about 9 years ago | (#12210892)

That's all that matters to upper management -- savings. Now, with many offshoring efforts only yielding 10 or 15% savings, what does an event like this do? It blows any potential savings, resulting in a net loss. Nice going, Mr. Shiny Hair And Teeth Strategic-Thinker!

Now, this question is directed at those big-shot CIOs who troll here, let me ask you something (feel free to reply as ACs). How much money does something like *this* cost your precious bottom line? And when it happens again, then what? What could possibly happen that would make you think "Gee, maybe our technical staff shouldn't live on the other side of the world and work for somebody else (including our competition)?" Or does that even matter?

Yeah, yeah, I know... Fugeddaboutit, it's purely rhetorical. I realize that employment horizon of the corporate ruling class is only as far ahead as their golden parachute payout. I'm sure you'll find a way to blame these failures on somebody else, Mr. Executive, and your replacement can implement a new strategy for cleaning up the mess.

Re:But think of the savings! (1)

shyampandit (842649) | about 9 years ago | (#12211124)

Well first of all the saving are much more that 10-15%, more around 60-70% atleast. Anyway bad people are there in the US too, so you cant really say you will 'save' that much on fraud by not outsourcing...

Re:But think of the savings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211127)

Hey! That hurts my feelings!

Pakistani criminals? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210903)


"The threat of increased misuse of consumer personal data by offshore criminals was first made publicly known with the UCSF Pakistani medical transcriber scandal"

As a Pakistani, I am somewhat offended by the incorrect assumption made here. The medical transcriber was not paid for her work. She then "threatened" to release the medical data of various patients. Desperate mesure for sure, but she really didn't have much recourse. She couldn't take them to small claims court in Pakistan or something like that. Does this make her a "criminal" as suggested by the story? I hardly think so.

Lot of fuss over nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210909)

I don't see the problem. If your identity gets stolen and your credit rating gets shot-to-hell, just steal the identity of someone else.

Anonymous Cowards have no fear of identity theft.

Sounds familiar (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 9 years ago | (#12210928)

This story sounded strangely familiar so I did a quick check and sure enough this previous story [slashdot.org] covers essentially the same information.

Maybe it's not the same story but both stories originate from Pune, India and both deal with employees of a call center transferring money in the amount of Rs 1.5 crore.

Easy fix, legal liability (5, Insightful)

micron (164661) | about 9 years ago | (#12210957)

There is a remedy for handling this in the future for US citizens. We need to push our legislators to enforce it, which is obviously hard to do.

US Corporations are legally (criminally and civily) liable for the accuracy and protection of data that they collect on US Citizens.

This then needs to be negotiated into international treaties.

This would make a given company think twice about what information it really needs to be collecting, and how it will be protected. If the company wishes to outsource work, fine, that needs to be disclosed, and the company still remains liable for the protection of that data.

There need to be laws, and the laws must have teeth. This is a "service" that companies are carrying out "in the public trush." They need to be penalized for violations.

How does outsourcing save money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12210979)

from www.telediscount.co.uk - calls to India are 15p/minute.

Assuming that they get a good deal, and only pay half that, 7p/min...

Now, 7p * 60 min = £4.20/hr ... for that, you could pay your worker in the UK.

This doesn't even take into account the time you're kept on hold (which, in my experience, is often several times the length of the actual call), the costs of networking all your customer data there and back, or the increased call length due to poor phone line quality (as provided by Rice Krispies Telecom)

Indian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211002)

It doesn't matter where people are located. What matters is that you have trustworthy people handling your business. And, you know what? Untrustworthy people are everywhere. I, for one, do not buy into this Lou Dobbs racist/nationalist claptrap that says that we can't trust foreigners. I'm one of the biggest foreigners around, if you consider all the places I have to travel to that I'm not actually a citizen of. Hey, bad people are in India. And in the U.S. And in Europe. And in Asia. Oh my god! They are everywhere! Luckily, the bad people are outnumbered by the good. I can just take a look at my lists and figure that one out.

Offshoring is good for everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211025)

See -- even criminals benefit from offshoring!

Corporate Liability? (2, Insightful)

reovirus1 (722769) | about 9 years ago | (#12211034)

I wonder how long before class action lawsuits arise out of this. It seems reasonable to assume that outsourcing and offshoring of this sensitive personal information would be a risky practice and could even border on negligence.

One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211040)

liability. Oh wait, that would mean trial lawyers extracting outrageous settlements from sincere and honest corporations. Call Congress!

Where are all the lawsuits ? (1)

farzadb82 (735100) | about 9 years ago | (#12211051)

I'm surprised that there haven't (atleast to my knowledge) been any lawsuits on this matter. From what I can tell, non of the companies that have offshored their business have had their customers sign some sort of release waiver.

I for one know that if I ended up in such a situation, without the knowledge that my private information was being handled by a 3rd party and that I suffered losses as a result I would sue the ass of that company!

Maybe until this sort of thing starts to happen we won't see much change in this area.

Own *REAL* Stuff (1)

mslinux (570958) | about 9 years ago | (#12211057)

Stuff that cannot be easily stolen via some simple data transfer or bit level copy over a network.

For example, own gold, silver, Real Estate, Automobiles, etc. Pay for these things... do not use credit cards, only use cash. Place the titles/proof of ownership in a safety deposit box at the bank and give your lawyer and next of kin copies as well. Now, let's see some foreign guy steal your ID... who cares?

Who was the person who orchestrated this (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | about 9 years ago | (#12211082)

I don't usually wear a tin foil hat but this is just too ripe to ignore. All that is mentioned is that the person who started this is unknown. I would not put it beyond some American or American orginization who is looking for a way out of all of this outsourcing. If it was an American orginization they could also put the blame on some one else cou-Terrorists-gh and benefit that way as well. But for now I'll take the tinfoil hat off and wait to see who the major news corportations blame for stealing the money.

Indian thieves steal American thieves jobs! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211089)

On behalf of American Identity Thieves Workers Union I would like to strongly protest against this clear
loss of jobs of American people!

Indian identity thieves steal our, American thieves jobs and endanger our true American way of life!

I honestly believe that our government should do something about it!

Credit report access (3, Insightful)

mixy1plik (113553) | about 9 years ago | (#12211102)

We need better access to our credit reports. FOR STARTERS. I'm entitled to ONE free report PER YEAR but I have to write 3-4 seperate letters, mail them, and wait? This is unacceptable. We should have FULL access to our credit reports from all the bureaus for free. I don't want to line Suze Orman's pockets and shell out $50 every time I want my reports from all the bureaus. Identity thieves move fast, and we move slow. This is really frustrating. I'm in the process of buying a house, and I'm fiercely protective about my credit being checked as it lowers it a few points every time. (Another thing I think is stupid.)

We need more control over our own credit reports, since advancing our lives is completely dependent on them.

Isn't it obvious?? (0, Flamebait)

f0rtytw0 (446153) | about 9 years ago | (#12211131)

When you support off shoring you support terrorists. Insert sarcastic tone where you feel it is necessary.

As though Americans are angels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12211265)

The wording of this story suggests that the poster intends to malign Indians, rather than encourage healthy discussion on social issues. Why does slashdot encourage these racists?

Punishment (1)

Cowboy Bill (118730) | about 9 years ago | (#12211268)

The best way to deter Indian criminals is to put them in Federal pound me in the ass prison! Of course there might be some international treaties involved. But one passing mention during employee training sessions about one of those Tejas prisons will turn most geek/call center humanoid blood cold everytime they think of stealing!!

Outsourcing bites back (2, Insightful)

Aumaden (598628) | about 9 years ago | (#12211283)

Despite what some have said, this isn't about foreigners being untrustworthy. This is about good ol' fashioned greed.

Imagine US call center workers... Let's say they make ~$35K/year.

How much do they need to be offered before they'll break the law? 2x salary? 3x? more? Remember, the workers are withing US jurisdiction and will probably be identified. It needs to be enough money to "get away." Let's say 3x salary.

$105K (3x salary) is almost 30 percent of what the thieves stole.

Now, export that job to someone getting paid $8K/year and it not only makes it cheaper for the company outsourcing the work, it also makes it cheaper for the thieves. 3x salary would only be 6% of the take.

And, it may not even require that much money. Being overseas places the call center staff well out of US jurisdiction. Unless the offense is something particularly vile, nations (US included) will generally protect their own.

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