Jailed investigator embroiled in the News of the World hacking scandal sold data to insurers that was ‘blagged’ from police and inland revenue


A private investigator accused of hacking emails for the News of the World newspaper “blagged” information from the police and the Inland Revenue and then flogged it to insurers.

Philip Campbell Smith used a range of deceptive techniques to obtain bank account and mortgage details, medical records and information from a range of public and private bodies, including the DVLA, the Criminal Records Bureau, police databases, Interpol and Revenue & Customs.

Campbell Smith was jailed for eight months at Kingston Crown Court yesterday after admitting to charges of committing fraud by conspiring to access private information and possession of live ammunition.

Campbell Smith is currently being investigated by Scotland Yard for hacking an army officer’s emails to obtain information on an IRA agent. Campbell Smith was allegedly on a commission from the News of the World.

It is unclear which insurers paid Campbell Smith. However, president of Association of British Investigators Gavin Robertson told Insurance Times that the industry had cleaned up its act in recent years and the majority of insurers were now very strict on what data they could accept from private investigators.

However, Robertson said there were still foreign-based general insurers, which operated in the UK, that paid investigators for information on their policyholders without doing the proper “due diligence” on how the data was obtained.

The information could then potentially be used to repudiate claims.