Top Gear host publishes bank details, loses money

Jeremy Clarkson ‘donates’ £500 to diabetes charity

The BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson has lost £500 after publishing his bank details in a British newspaper in a naive attempt to prove that the UK's largest ever data breach was a storm in a tea cup.

In October last year two discs containing child benefit claims of some 25 million UK residents was lost in transit after being sent from the HM Revenue and Customs offices.

Clarkson insisted that little could be done with the stolen information and published his bank details in the Sun newspaper to prove that people should not be worried, the BBC reported.

"All you'll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out. Honestly, I've never known such a palaver about nothing," the Top Gear host wrote.

Unfortunately for Clarkson, a savvy reader used the details he provided to process a £500 direct debit transaction from his Barclays bank account to the charity Diabetes UK.

Clarkson was forced to admit that he was wrong and had been punished for his mistake, saying there was little chance of catching the person responsible.

"He probably thought 'what can you do with this personal information?' and he got screwed straight away because they can do a lot of things with this," said Andreas Baumhof, CTO of online fraud protection company TrustDefender.

"You might say 'this was just a dodgy bank that is not up to date with their security systems'. But that would be utterly wrong," Baumhof said.

"This was done with Barclays in the UK, and the level of security systems that Barclays has in place is actually fairly high."

Baumhof said Clarkson's actions show that not enough attention is being given to protection from identity theft.

"He was pretty open and published all this information in the article, but a lot of people give out a lot of information on things like social networking sites that on their own is not very valuable, but when you combine all these details with other information they can become really valuable," he said.

"The banks have to protect people connecting to their services, but if I know enough about you, you would be amazed what I could do."

Baumhof explained that while banks can provide secure protection on their site, it only helps if people ensure they protect their personal information wherever they go online, not just on one particular Web site.

"We are always talking about online fraud, but the much bigger problem is identity theft," he said.

"Identity theft results in online fraud, not the other way around."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Hendry

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?