back to article Clarkson's 'steal my ID' stunt backfires

Gobby TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been forced to reverse his position after he lost money after publishing his bank account details in a newspaper column. The Top Gear presenter rather rashly published his account details in a column in The Sun to back up his claims that the child benefit data loss furore, which resulted in …

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Happy

Public Info

Thoroughly deserves, but still, it's still nothing that's secret... and, of course, if he didn't sign the DD form he'll get the money back.

Mind you, why did his bank not send him the standard "A new DD has been set up, if this is wrong tell us now" letter that you're supposed to get?

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Alert

Oh dear!

It's refreshing to see that Mr Opinion himself has been stung by his latest stunt - but I respect him more for coming up with an admission he was actually wrong, and has now reversed his intital opnion.

So why can't MP's and PM's do that too??

Clarkson for Prime Minister!

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Ash
Joke

He flew a plane once, and has one in his garden...

I'd trust this man to design the network infrastructure for DreamLiner!

I'm guessing he may well have done...

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Anonymous Coward

Bank at fault

Its been many years since I worked for a bank, but back then the bank was responsible for verifying the signiature on a direct debit mandate was correct. A second check, that the DD looked believable, would probably not have flagged up this one, but under what rational system can the bank accept a DD without corroborated authorisation from the account holder?

And as for the DP act being blamed...rubbish. If its between the bank and its customer, its confidential between those two. If its anyone sles, its fraud, and since when did the DP act protect criminals?

I suggest Clarkson should start poking his bank with a big stick until they explain how it hapenned.

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Clarkson for PM

He may be a little hasty, but he would still get my vote.

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Anonymous Coward

Did anyone get those details?

I have some respect for the man. He was wrong, admits it and, having learned from his mistake, is quite happy to change his opinion.

Strange mistake to make though. He seems a fairly clever chap, is it not obvious that anyone can use anyone else's bank details to buy stuff? I suppose it's less obvious than using a credit card. I wonder how long it will take for the first credit card application in his name to become active? Or do credit card companies insist on sending cards to the account address?

Also, I wonder if he broke the conditions of his bank account by publishing his details?

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Coat

HA HA!

/Nelson

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Linux

He's done us all a favour

Maybe the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" brigade might wake up to a few realities now.

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Banks...

This is exactly why I dont trust banks. Knowing an account number, sort code and address should NOT be enough information to do anything other than pay money into an account. Clarkson may have been wrong, but he SHOULD have been right.

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Happy

Wrong Charity!

I like Clarkson, but whoever did this missed a golden opportunity to make him donate to Greenpeace. Or Friends of the Earth.

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Ha ha.

Well it's his own fault for being so foolish but at least he's seen the error of his ways. To be honest, I've always thought the whole "identity theft" thing was scaremongering by the government and media. The child benefit CD balls up really made me concerned though (mainly because I know my details are on it :( )

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Stop

Fuss about nothing Mk II

All very amusing, but it is just a prank as direct debit payments are protected in 2 important ways:

1) Direct debits can only be set up for payments to beneficiaries that are approved ‘originators’ of direct debits. In order to be approved, these beneficiaries are subjected to careful vetting procedures – and, once approved, they are required to give indemnity guarantees through their banks.

2) The direct debit guarantee provides for the customer’s bank to refund disputed payments without question, pending further investigation.

So, it's a bit tricky to exploit the direct debit system to actually steal people's money.

Would have been much funnier if they had set up a DD to Friends Of The Earth.

Turns out Clarkson is wrong twice about the same thing - ought to stick to writing about cars and not stuff he doesn't know anything about.

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Fantastic

Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. Other than that it's just brilliant.

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UK Direct debits

Very unwise of Mr Clarkson. In the UK, direct debits can be set up with minimal information over the phone or online and the bank then think it's your job to sort out any problems.

Still, couldn't happen to a nicer chap....

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Respect

Yet again, I have to respect Clarkson. Unlike _any_ politician, he was prepared to stand up, admit his mistake, and adjust his viewpoint accordingly. Show me a politician who can do that!

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Anonymous Coward

hahahahaha

HAAAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHahahahahah ahahahahhahahahahaAHAHAHHAHAHAHAhahh ahahahhahahahahahahahhaa a haahhahahahahahahahahahhahaaaaaa

I seem to remember people saying on the comments that the loss was nothing but twaddle, HAHAHAHAHHAHahahahah ahahhahahahahaahhahaaa hahahahahhahahaha but I think he learnt his lesson, this should stand as a shinning example to us all as to just how dangrous data losses can be.

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Paris Hilton

How does the saying go

A fool and his money

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there really is a god...

thank you!

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On the one hand...

...Jezza pulled a stunt and it backfired. Tough luck matey-boy. And I would hope that, even though he might be quietly seething about it, he'll take it on the chin like a good 'un and at least recognise some of the humour in his own misfortune.

However, on the other hand (and in a perfect world), he should have been right. Even if I know your address and bank account details, I _shouldn't_ be able to draw money out of your account. On a normal direct debit form (i.e. a bit of paper), you would normally need a signature and that should be checked before any debit is allowed to be drawn. Having looked at the Diabetes UK website, it does appear to have an online DD donation page, so it raises the question of what checks should (or can) be carried out to prevent someone signing someone else up for direct debit payments.

After all, if I've ever received a cheque from you, I'll probably know your sort code and account number (for most UK banks anyway). Alternatively, if you have paid me electronically by BACS (for example), I can probably get the info somehow (might have to dig a bit and step over legal lines to get it, but hey, if I'm planning on emptying someone else's bank account for fun and profit, I'm not going to be too worried about that am I?) As for your address, there's a gazillion legal ways to find that out. And all of that is before we get to dumpster diving, mail interception and any of half a dozen illegal ways to find things out.

So, while the whole thing is worth a chuckle or two at Jezza's expense, it does seem to highlight an interesting issue in the handling of certain types of bank transaction in the online world (even if not in real life).

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Anonymous Coward

Data Protection Act?

> The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act

Would anyone like to hypothesize what he might mean by that?

It looks as if an offence has been committed. If the bank has (e.g.) a log of the IP address from which an online-banking request came, they can surely pass it on to the police.

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Paris Hilton

BWWAHAAHAAAAAA

WHEEEEEE Well done Jeremey!

If I was stupid enough to read the Sun I would have emptied his account and given the money to some really annoying charity, like the PDSA, still, good show Anon. Fraudster.

At least J.C. can admit he's a complete tit, he's not a bad man, just dumb.

Cocktail sticks are pointless (is that a pun?), these people are blind through idiocy anyway.

Paris icon because even she isn't that dumb.

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It's the bank at fault here, not Clarkson

Except that Diabetes UK and the bank are at fault here and not Clarkson, as it should be impossible to set up a direct debit without (a) his signature, which matches a copy on file and (b) a letter of confirmation from the originator before the first withdrawal is made.

My bank account details are on every invoice I send out, to allow payment into my account, and--as Clarkson says--it shouldn't matter.

If I were Clarkson here I'd be taking Diabetes UK and the bank to task, if not court, for allowing this to happen.

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Happy

Every now and then

I think

"ah! there is a god after all..."

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Brash, but in self-rightousness and in honesty equally

Whatever you wanna say about jeremy, he has the balls to put his hands up and admit when he's wrong, he can say stupid things sometimes, mostly off the cuff and no doubt wrote what he did ad-libbing as he went, without checking it out before publishing, but thats just the man in action.

what characterises him the most, is how when things go wrong, he doesnt try to cover it up, or play stupid word games, he simply puts his hands up and admits it.

how many people would like that kind of brashness from our own politicians who caused the mess? But instead all we seem to have is face saving double speak, which gets them out of trouble, but not out of the shit they are in and that we are all in now. I don't even know if my details are included, but I would like to know, anyone know how I could find out.

I was having a conversation with a polictical science student I live with a couple of weeks ago about politicians and lying, I will share a little with you. Even though it is slightly off topic, we spoke about why politicians lie and why not just do a clarkson, as I shall forever call it.

The reasoning from him was that politicians are practically forced to spin favourably everything they do/say because if they do not, the opposition will, but negatively. They don't necessarily spin because they like it, but if labour did a clarkson, the conservatives would pull their legs off. So don't expect this level of honesty from anyone who wants to keep their career. Anyone stupid enough to do this, would find themselves dumped by their bosses (the pm in this case) because they damaged the party. It is not enough to be honest, you have to support the party, if being honest damages that, you are not permitted to be honest and keep your position, so even though 99% of you would pat the guy on the back, he'd be out of the door in no time and therefore not be in a position to tell the truth about anything interesting in the near future. It is a crap situation to be in, but it is our own fault, because we practically reward political spin, just look at how people vote to figure that one out.

So, clarkson maybe gobby, but he's honest in a way that no politician could be. So don't go expecting any of them to put their hands up and admit to all these data protection breaches anytime soon.

chris

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Respect is due

The man put his money where his mouth is, quite literally in this case. How many MPs would do the same?

He stands by and backs up what he believes in. Nice one. Even if it was rather a tosser thing to do.

Oh, and "can't trace the source due to data protection act".. what utter bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Data Protection?

"The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act and they cannot stop it from happening again,"

Tell the bank they can fuck right off. How can the DPA possibly be used to conceal information about bank account use FROM THE AUTHORISED ACCOUNT HOLDER?

My first reaction here would be to freeze ALL transactions on the account (presumably this was an account with minimal funds in... just in case he was wrong) and demand an immediate explanation from the bank as to why the hell they allowed this to happen. If they're unwilling or unable to do that, a series of articles published in the papers about why he's leaving them should embarrass them enough that they'll do something about it.

I like Clarkson, the fact he's willing to admit mistakes straight away like this merely reinforces that. It certainly raises him above any politician.

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Coat

@Respect

"he was prepared to stand up, admit his mistake, and adjust his viewpoint accordingly"

Yeah, but he went from raving about the insignificance of the problem to raving about the significance of the problem.

Can we for once get a public figure who isn't raving?

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Alert

Clarkson in doing something useful shocker!

Could this be the first time he has done something useful? There will be people out there who believed him the first time round, people who were unaware of what could be done with what they thought of as innocuous data. These people will be feeling slightly differently now.

I also think he has hit upon a proper punishment for the management level culprits.

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Respect? I don't think so..

You have to respect him for being ridiculously stupid and then being forced to admit he was? lol what choice did he have? 'Yeah I lost £500 but I still stand by my statement that this story is being blown out of all proportion'

The guy is a moron and got what he deserved.

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Pirate

Pranny

Just to balance the argument.

I hate Clarkson. Even though he makes me laugh, he's a reactionary, arrogant, shouty tit.

Also, beacause he's a rich car-owning, male WASP with a small mansion in the home counties he *genuinely* believes that he gets it tough.

He doesn't realise that he's top of the pile...

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Anonymous Coward

Be careful about feeling smug...

For all those feeling smug about how he shouldnt have done what he did...

The only details he gave were those available from the telephone directory and one of his cheques.

Still feeling so safe?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

"Also, I wonder if he broke the conditions of his bank account by publishing his details?"

That would seem unlikely, given that they're on every cheque you hand out.

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Nice of him to admit to it...

And nice of the person to do it to a charity and not themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Delicious!

I couldn't contain my glee when I read that. I read it to the entire office and we all had a good giggle about it. Clarkson shoots self in foot... an absolute classic. Serves the gobby motormouth right.

Of course, this is proof that confirms my lack of trust in Direct Debits. I don't have any; I don't trust them as far as I can throw them (and since they can't be thrown, they can't be trusted). And sadly organisations are more and more starting to charge you extra for not using a DD. How I feel about that is another thing altogether.

This is all the more reason to take the government (or indeed any information gatherer) to task over data loss.

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Direct Debit

Direct Debit is dangerous.

My bank allowed a large amount of money to be taken from my account by the Student Loans Company a week after I'd given them (in person) a written request to cancel the agreement. When I complained, the bank said they hadn't had my request (I had handed it over in person to avoid incompetence, but I hadn't factored in malice) and that they wouldn't do anything about it - I should talk to the company.

I talked to the company, they refused to refund me (according to their rules, they shouldn't have taken the payment anyway), the bank then charged me lots of money for being overdrawn and kept me in the red for several months afterwards by continuing to charge me for being overdrawn.

Don't believe what it says in the rules - banks will do what they like and there's nothing you can do about it unless you can afford expensive legal representation.

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Paris Hilton

What I like most about this...

... is that it highlights why morons (politicians) and power hungry gits (politicians) shouldn't talk about matters of security from a position of ignorance - and then put legislation and laws in place based upon their ignorance.

As has been pointed out, atleast Clarky had the good sence to see the error of his ways and has subsequently changed his position - alas, none of the scummy politians in government would ever admit to be wrong about anything, ever!

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@AC

"That would seem unlikely, given that they're on every cheque you hand out."

And companies typically give out their bank details to their customers - have the look at the back of a utility bill for example, and then wonder why BT etc aren't scared of having their accounts cleared out by fraudsters.

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Anonymous Coward

Note to self: Avoid cheques + be ex-directory...

That should at least minimise some of the risks... And add being off the public electoral register to that too.

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> about feeling smug

Exactly so... Every company you've ever bought something from mail order has all those details, and so do their rogue employees...

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"Can we for once get a public figure who isn't raving?"

Oh so true +++

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Boffin

@ Data Protection

I think that the culprit may have been less direct thatn everyone is thinking. I reckon that it was one of these high street charity workers that have been deployed around the world recently.

The bank knows that the Charity is the recipient of the illegal funds, and has said so, thats the bank done its job. The charity that employs the worker has itself been defrauded, and is a victim also, despite it being the benificiary of the crime. Hence the charity would not be obliged to hand over the details of the worker that accepted the application form, as this would breach the DPA rights of the original victim (worker).

The details on the application itself may or may not be in the handwriting of the original culprit, and would only contain clarksons details anyway.

SNAFU

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Signature? No problem

It took me 5 minutes of googling to find Clarkson's signature on an autographed photo. It may not match what his bank has on file, but I bet it's close enough.

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Happy

Fair enough, but...

Did anyone else notice that the 'Data insecurity/ID theft is nonsence' piece was in the Sun, but the retraction was in the Sunday Tims? Am I being a conspiracy theorist?

Also, good choice of chraity, if I ever get on the show I will have to get a t-shirt saying "Thanks for the donation!".

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What's going on....

What's wrong with the UK banking system? Here on the mainland you have to publish your bank details on every invoice.

Never had any trouble.

Suggest you try a new government.........

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Happy

What about his BBC matey Jonathon WRoss?

He reckons he's worth several journos salaries, I'm sure he can miss a few quid.

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Rob

As others have said

He should have been right and the bank screwed up.

With that said, the "fraudsters" weren't much cop either. He's got his date of birth on his website and his mother's maiden name's on wikepedia. Frankly, just setting up a DD shows a marked lack of ambition....

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Coat

Signature

Whilst Andrew Warwick is quite right, how hard is it to get ahold of the signature of a famous person? How different will it be from his Autograph? If it's suitably similar you'd just need the preface of his latest book, or a public letter or anything carrying his autograph. Then you need a scanner and an inkjet printer..... When he set up the account it probably wasn't possible to do this, since the scanner/printer would be hard to come by - so would he see the danger in not making them different. As for the letter from the originator - you might need this. But how hard is it to forge and send from a different address?

The first rule of security is that you don't give access to anything that you don't NEED to give access to. Simply because you can't see how something can be used fraudulently, doesn't mean to say nobody else is clever enough to work it out. Paranoia is the best option, but complacency and bravado.

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Joke

Pillock!

A sort code and account number is not enough. Add the name and address and Robert's your mothers brother!

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Anonymous Coward

Data Protection Act?

Someone fraudulently phoned T-Mobile and ordered expensive new phones on my account (shockingly easy to do with just name + phone number). T-Mobile say the DP Act prevents them from telling me what address the thief (supposed to be me) had had the phones delivered to.

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Go

Re: "Be careful about feeling smug..."

"For all those feeling smug about how he shouldnt have done what he did...

The only details he gave were those available from the telephone directory and one of his cheques.

Still feeling so safe?"

Don't forget your cheque also has a sample of your signature....!!

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