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HSBC in call centre fraud claim

Employee swipes £233,000 from UK customers

An employee used confidential data stolen from HSBC Electronic Data Processing in India and used it to defraud 20 London-based customers of £233,000, it has been claimed.

The company is a back-office processing and customer support operation of British bank HSBC.

In a complaint lodged with the Bangalore police on 22 June, HSBC Electronic Data Processing alleged that Nadeem Kashmiri accessed personal information, security information and debit card information of some of its UK customers and passed it to "co-fraudsters" who conducted phony transactions through cash machines, debit cards and telephone banking services.

Officials at HSBC Electronic Data Processing were not immediately available for comment.

Police said yesterday that they expect to arrest Kashmiri. Kashmiri gave the company a fake address, which has made tracing him difficult, said Sanjay Vir Singh, deputy inspector general of police and head of the cybercrime cell in Bangalore. Kashmiri was suspended from the company on 3 June.

HSBC Electronic Data Processing has alleged in its complaint that Kashmiri joined the company on 12 December 2005 on "false records and misrepresentation".

The NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) in Delhi has set up a NSR (national skills registry) of employees of back-office operations and call centres, to provide potential employers with worker information. The NSR has been designed to ensure data authenticity through independent and biometric identification of the individual, according to NASSCOM.

The name Kashmiri is not, however, on the NSR. Nor is HSBC Electronic Data Processing a registry member, according to informed sources. NASSCOM has in a statement offered to help Indian and UK authorities bring the HSBC case's alleged offenders to book. Cybercrime is not unique to India, the association said.

Several organisations, including workers' unions, criticise the offshore outsourcing of call centre and other business processes from the US and UK to Indian companies and claim that it causes job loss in their countries. The danger of data theft and misuse has been raised as a key offshore outsourcing issue.


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