African PC scam is no worry

A BBC expos矨as shown thousands of Britons’ bank details being sold for less than 20 in West Africa but lenders insist the mortgage industry is not at risk.

Last Monday, the BBC’s Real Story revealed that fraudsters in Nigeria are able to find internet banking data stored on recycled computers sent from the UK to Africa.

The information is contained on the hard drives of personal computers exported to Nigeria, along with other confidential material.

Clare Mortimer, spokeswoman for BM Solutions, says the issue will have little impact on its business because it does not do much customer business online.

She says: “Customers don’t deal with BM online and therefore won’t have passwords for online use. If a mortgage account number is stored and retrieved it will not be of any use as when calling in customers have to answer a series of security questions before we can deal with their account.”

Rob Davies, spokesman for Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners, adds: “We take security seriously and have rigorous procedures to protect customers from fraudulent access. But we would also encourage customers to be vigilant in the security of their mortgage details.”

Some 23,000 tonnes of electronic waste, the equivalent of about 750,000 computers, is flooding out of the UK and into the developing world every year, says the Environment Agency.

They end up in computer markets in cities such as Lagos, Nigeria, where one can find parts of PCs from Britain and other countries.

Environmental campaigner Jim Puckett says: “Once you get rid of it, your so-called personal computer it is no longer personal, it becomes public.”

Real Story found home addresses, bank account numbers, bank sort codes, passwords, emails and other confidential information relating to people’s finances.