The credit and debit card details of more than 100,000 UK residents have been made available through a website that is still operating on the internet. The site, that has up to now evaded closure from the authorities, offers confidential details of individuals for less than £2 and includes information on high-earning professionals, such as bankers, doctors and lawyers.
According to an investigation by The Times newspaper the site, which the newspaper identified as Bestvalid.cc, provides the confidential banking details of individuals for as little as £1.67. The site, which requires users to register with it, operates on a normal web platform rather than the "deep web", where sites offering such confidential information are more likely to be found.
Speaking to The Times, Keith Vaz chairman of the home affairs select committee said that the security services must act immediately to remove the site and that the National Crime Agency (NCA) should use its sweeping powers to shut the online platform down. The MP for Leicester East told the newspaper that he would be writing to the NCA to "bring [the] issue to their attention".
The investigation uncovers a worrying shift in the open access of financial information, often a result of criminal activity, available on the internet. According to a report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau released in October 2015, the 10 biggest online scams lost victims across the country £670m ($972m) during 2014. However, the government has estimated that the total for online fraud is actually closer to £27bn ($39.17bn)
A statement from the NCA said: "We do not routinely confirm or deny investigations nor comment on individual sites. The NCA, alongside UK and international law enforcement partners and the private sector, are working to identify and as appropriate disrupt websites selling compromised card data. We will work closely with partners of the newly established Home Office Joint Fraud Task Force to strengthen the response."