A whole lot of companies have 'outsourced' many corporate functions to low-wage economies in Asia and the Far East. Some of them have saved a great deal of money by doing so, which has translated into lower prices for consumers at home and/or increased profits for their shareholders and investors. However, there are many downsides, including the loss of jobs in their home countries.
Another (very) negative consequence is becoming clearer. The Daily Mail reports:
Confidential personal data on hundreds of thousands of Britons is being touted by corrupt Indian call centre workers, an undercover investigation has discovered.
Credit card information, medical and financial records are being offered for sale to criminals and marketing firms for as little as 2p [about 3 US cents].
Two ‘consultants’, claiming to be IT workers at several call centres, met undercover reporters from The Sunday Times and boasted of having 45 different sets of personal information on nearly 500,000 Britons.
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 information – much of which related to customers at major financial companies, including HSBC and NatWest - would be a goldmine for criminals, allowing fraudsters to syphon thousands of pounds from bank accounts within minutes.
IT consultant Naresh Singh met the undercover reporters in a hotel room in Gurgaon, a town near Delhi, carrying a laptop full of data.
He told them: ‘These [pieces of data] 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.’
He said that much of the data would be less than 72 hours old, adding: ‘They would just have got the credit card and not only credit cards, that would be debit card as well.’
Other information being hawked around by unscrupulous workers was sensitive material about mortgages, loans, insurance, mobile phone contracts, Sky Television subscriptions, according to The Sunday Times sting.
. . .
Call centres are a £3.2 billion [about US $5.1 billion] industry in India, with an estimated 330,000 people employed by them.
There's more at the link.
If they're doing this with UK consumers' data, they're certainly doing it with the personal information of consumers in other countries. I've had to deal with call centers in India many times when calling about issues with my credit cards. I'm wondering just how much of my personal, confidential data has been compromised in the same way!
Needless to say, if one's information is sold to the highest bidder in this way, and they use it for dishonest or fraudulent purposes, the bank(s) that forced one to patronize those call centers (thereby putting one's personal data at risk) won't do a damn thing to compensate victims . . .