The Cabinet Office is said to be preparing to develop a new emergency response unit to give assistance to individuals and companies when their computers come under threat. Shouldn’t more be done to try and get to the heart of the problem early, to try and prevent these attacks happening in the first place?
The government is saying that cyberspace threats have to be given “tier-one priority” but the plans come amid criticism that the government is spending too much money developing top-end cyber systems and relatively little on informing the public on how best they can protect themselves against attack.
Is that criticism justified? Apparently Action Fraud has received 46,000 reports from the public in the last 12 months alone, suggesting there is certainly a significant problem. What can the government do to bring the matter under control? Is a national response team the answer? I’d like to know what you think.
Be sure to take extra care over the forthcoming Christmas period in the light of news that there are greater fears over credit card fraud because of inadequate steps taken by some UK businesses.
Some recent research has found that most UK businesses hold consumer credit card data unknowingly which is in itself a breach of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and can attract fines of up to half a million pounds. Figures show that £341m was stolen in the UK by way of credit card fraud in 2011, so it is obviously a significant problem and it appears that businesses are not doing everything they can to minimise the threat of it occurring. Is your business acting to try and prevent credit card fraud? Let us know what you’re doing.
Is it fraud to accept too much change given over by a shopkeeper? That is the dilemma facing one writer who says it’s not fraud but probably is theft. Is that your view?
The definition of fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. So, accepting the money and walking out of the shop is not really fraud as it does not require the person inducing the shopkeeper into handing over more money.
However, theft, as the unauthorized taking of another’s property, does look applicable. It does depend though on the presence of the guilty mind. If you know you are being given too much change at the time, then it may well be theft, if you don’t then you do not have the mens rea and would not be guilty of theft. What’s your view, is it theft or not? Tell me what you think.
Recent research from Barclaycard shows the majority of shoppers prefer paying for items by credit or debit cards rather than by cash.
The findings showed 61% of those questioned preferred cards over cash in what is seen as a significant change in spending patterns. Barclaycard says the number using contactless payments in particular has grown rapidly in the last year alone. Marks and Spencer has become the latest on the high street to have the new technology in its stores to try and reduce waiting times for customers and it clearly seems to be the way forward.
Many consumers don’t even realise that the contactless method is insured against fraud and of those who were informed about this, 40% said they would be more inclined to use it as a result. So, have you been converted to the benefits of contactless payment? Let me know if you have.
Contactless transactions were meant to be the next big thing, swiping a card to quickly pay for small items, yet it appears that the fear of fraud is hindering its progress.
A survey into why the idea seems not to be catching on found that fear of fraud is a major concern. Generally, people feel safer using their cash to make a purchase; some obviously felt that with cards, whether in person or otherwise, there is always something of a risk, however slight it may be. The statistics found 48% of people preferring to use cash compared to 37% using a credit or debit card, 10% using contactless cards and just four percent opting for contactless mobile payments.
A total of 90% of people believe it important that cash continues to feature now and in the future. Is fraud affecting your choices when paying for items? Do you prefer to stick with cash or not? Let me know what you think.
A recent survey revealed that phishing or identity theft is up by 300% since 2010 and, in that time, 12 million separate pieces of personal information has been acquired by fraudulent means, despite recent innovations in technology and spyware. What more can be done to combat identity theft?
The figures, which come from credit checking firm Experian, show that many only realise that they have been a victim of this type of fraud once they have noticed irregular activity on their accounts or have been alerted to the fact that they have been accumulating debts which are not their own.
Apparently one of the reasons why fraud is so prevalent is through the discrepancy in the number of accounts held by people on the one hand and the number of passwords they have on the other, with the average person holding 26 online accounts but possessing just five passwords and criminals are becoming smarter in matching passwords and spreading their fraud beyond the original account.
So what other measures can be taken to cut down on phishing? Let us know your ideas.
Don’t be fooled by a scam which involves fraudsters using the name of the Ministry of Justice and other organisations to get people to part with their money.
The fraudsters have no connection with the MoJ but call people up pretending they are and they are telling the person on the other end of the phone that they owe money, such as a bank charge and asking for a payment upfront. They are also asking for personal financial information such as bank details or are asking victims to use money transfer services such as Paysafecard. They are also using the relevant logo and London-based phone numbers to make their scam more believable.
Many thousands has been lost to fraudsters in this way and the MoJ along with other organisations whose name has been used, are warning people to be on their guard. They point out that they would never contact a person in this way and would not request an upfront payment via money transfer.
So, don’t be fooled and be on your guard if you do receive a call from an official organisation which is asking for money.
Two friends who formed a fake property development firm have escaped jail. Was the judge being unduly lenient?
Steve Prentice and David Birdsall have both been given suspended sentences at Leeds Crown Court after creating false invoices and documents and then submitting them to HM Revenue and Customs. The scale of their offences emerged when their fake company was made the subject of a VAT inspection by officials from HMRC.
The pair pleaded guilty to fraudulently submitting VAT repayment forms but escaped jail despite the judge saying that he considered it to be a “professional and plainly dishonest enterprise”. With the pair given suspended sentences along with unpaid work, does the punishment for the crime? Your views would be welcomed as always.
Beware of a new insurance scam which involves the replacement cars that motorists are often given while their own vehicles are off the road. It is believed that criminal gangs are operating a system whereby they set up false claims management and hire companies and either charge the insurers for a car they haven’t actually provided or “hire” the same car to several people at the same time, claiming separately for each non-existent hire. They are also known to charge for top-of-the-range models when they only actually provide basic vehicles.
The crime is known as credit hire fraud and fraudsters believe they stand little chance of being caught or prosecuted. However, it has to be tackled or else insurance premiums will obviously rise even further. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says it has to be a top priority as it is costing insurers an estimated £60m a year and that is being passed on to the innocent motorists.
The ABI said that later this year it will publish the Insurance Fraud Register, a database of all known insurance fraudsters, but while this may have some impact, will it do enough to alert drivers to the dangers of credit hire fraud and what can be done to tackle the problem?
Jane Aucott appeared to be embarking on a promising career when ranked as the country’s top junior discus thrower, representing Britain at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
However, she later left athletics and joined the police and it was there, through contact with the criminal underworld, that she was introduced to heroin and crack cocaine. She became addicted and turned to crime to fund her habit. She became part of a gang who used stolen bank cards to withdraw over £20,000 and is now in jail, receiving a sentence of three years and two months, for her part in the crime.
Aucott admitted 13 charges of fraud and court heard that the gang would take cheques, cards and other identification documents from unattended handbags before using them to withdraw money. The court heard about the rapid fall from grace of a women who, initially seemed destined for athletics stardom, then having been promoted to detective constable, appeared to have an excellent career in the police, but who saw it all left in ruins through her dependence on drugs.