Citing an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times, the Daily Mail said the data is being sold by “corrupt Indian call centre workers” to criminals and marketing firms.
The report said that two Indians, claiming to be information technology workers at call centres, met undercover reporters and boasted of having 45 different sets of personal information on nearly 500,000 Britons.
The data included names, addresses, and phone numbers of credit card holders, start and expiry dates as well as the three-digit security verification codes, the report said.
Much of the information is related to customers at major financial companies, including HSBCand NatWest.
An Indian named Naresh Singh, who met the undercover reporters in a hotel room in Gurgaon near Delhi, was allegedly carrying a laptop full of data, it said.
“These are ones that have been sold to somebody already. This is Barclays, this is Halifax, this is Lloyds TSB. We’ve been dealing so long we can tell the bank by just the card number,” Singh was quoted as saying.
He said much of the data would be less than 72 hours old.
Other information being sold was about mortgages, loans, insurance and mobile phone contracts.
According to the report, call centres are a $5 billion industry in India, with an estimated 330,000 people employed by them. Many British companies outsource services to India.
Conservative MP and member of the House of Commons’ public accounts select committee,Richard Bacon said this was not only a matter for the organisations involved but also the authorities.