Revenue reassures people using property tax helpline
Abtran suspends call-centre worker following attempted credit card fraud
Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily has reassured members of the public using the LPT helpline following an attempted credit card fraud. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times
BARRY ROCHE and PAMELA NEWENHAM
The Revenue Commissioners has reassured members of the public using the local property tax (LPT) helpline, following an attempted credit card fraud by a person handling queries about filing local property tax returns.
The person, suspended on Thursday, worked for a company contracted by the Revenue Commissioners to assist people filing the tax return.
Revenue said no cardholder had suffered any loss as a result of the incident, which was reported to Gardaí by Abtran last week, after management operating the LPT helpline for the Revenue became aware an employee was asking people for credit card details.
Following an investigation, whereby the company listened back to all calls conducted by the individual, it became apparent that the individual obtained the credit card details of 11 customers.
It is understood the employee was only with the company a few days but once Abtran management became aware of what he was doing, they notified the Garda and an investigation begun.
Abtran, in a statement last night, said: “The individual was not a member of a payments-authorised department within Abtran. The individual had no authority to request any such details of customers and should not have done so. Those actions, and the customers potentially impacted, have been identified.”
Gardaí met the employee by appointment at Togher Garda station on Friday and interviewed him about the attempted fraud.
According to the Revenue, gardaí have alerted the credit card companies involved and the companies are due to notifiy the 11 cardholders. Revenue will also contact any customers for whom it has contact details.
Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily said the Revenue would continue to work with Abtran, who she described as very professional:
“Three hundred thousand phone calls were handled completely, professionally and securely by this business.”
She said she expected calls relating to the property tax to be “monitored more closely” by Abtran following the incident.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said: “We take data security extremely seriously. Data is the lifeblood of tax administration.”
Ms Feehily said the company had satisfied the Revenue Commissioners it had the highest standards in place, including ISO certification.
“I suppose you can’t legislate for an incident involving one person.”
She said Revenue had been in hourly contact with the company over the weekend and was making sure it had taken steps to mitigate any risk.
The Revenue this morning opened a helpline for people with concerns on 1890-226-336.
Abtran said it deals with some 12 million calls and interactions a year, adding that nothing like this has happened in the company’s 16-year history.