Europcar Pay Drivers £38 million Compensation

Europcar UK has been found guilty of systemically inflating the cost of repairs through secret rebates with suppliers. This is clearly defrauding unsuspecting drivers.

Europcar customers who fell victim to fraudulent charges for repairs on hire cars will receive compensation as the company has set aside £38 million to repay them.

Up to half a million drivers were fraudulently charged inflated prices for repairing scrapes and other damage and will be reimbursed by the company.

Leicester City Trading Standards is still investigating the car hire firm over their actions.

Europcar’s UK division made a pre-tax loss last year of $40.3 million after setting aside £47 million to deal with the investigation. In the previous year it made a profit of £13.1 million.

A Europcar spokesman has said that the company is undertaking a thorough investigation and Europcar UK is fully cooperating with the authorities”.

Well done whoever spotted the scam and it’s certainly cost Europcar a lot of money.

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Fake Accident Calls

The phone rings and a voice says she is Katie and she’s calling about the accident.

“Go on” I reply assuming this is a scam call.

Again she tells me she’s calling about the car accident.

“Which one” I reply thinking to confuse her as she clearly she has no knowledge of who I am or whether I have recently been in a car accident.

There are about 170,000 road accidents in Great Britain per year where someone is injured and the figure including all minor bumps etc. where no injury occurred must be significantly higher.

Even so, the chances of a scammer getting through to someone who has had an accident recently must be fairly low.

However, even for someone who does drive and has not been involved in an accident recently it is probably confusing when someone calls to talk with you about ‘the accident you were involved in’

What do the scammers want from these calls?

There are various possible motives for them

  1. Collecting names and contact details for people who have been in accidents, so as to sell that data to insurance companies, car repair businesses etc.
  2. Standard phishing scams i.e. they try to get as much personal information from you to sell to other spammers and scammers
  3. A more elaborate con where they pretend to be an insurance company willing to pay you for the accident (but if accepted then they need retainers, pre payments etc., before you can get the cash which of course doesn’t exist)

Do not be taken in by these callers. If someone calls to ask you about any event – then check if they know who you are and dates, locations etc. of the event. Once asked these questions they will likely put the phone down.

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Tesco Bank Fined for Data Breach

Tesco Bank was fined £16.4m by the City watchdog over a cyber-attack it suffered that netted cyber criminals £2.26m.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said deficiencies at the bank had left account holders vulnerable to the incident. The bank had received a specific warning that was not properly addressed until the attack had started and the response was “too little, too late”.

This is the first time the FCA has issued a fine for a cyber-related incident.

Tesco Bank said that since the incident in November 2016 it had “significantly enhanced” security measures, and apologised to customers.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said the fine “reflects the fact that the FCA has no tolerance for banks that fail to protect customers from foreseeable risks”. Banks must ensure resilience against such crime reducing the risk of a cyber attack occurring in the first place, not only reacting to an attack.

Tesco Bank said the cyber attack in 2016 did not involve the theft or loss of any customers’ data but led to 34 transactions where funds were debited from customers’ accounts, and other customers having normal service disrupted.

The bank’s chief executive Gerry Mallon said: “We are very sorry for the impact that this fraud attack had on our customers.”

Banks and other financial institutions must learn that it’s cheaper to build proper protection that wait for a catastrophe to happen.

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Fraud Investigation

There are many private investigators, fraud protection businesses, cyber-crime specialists etc. who may be able to help if you are the victim of a fraud.  This is usually only for business fraud as few individuals have the resources to employ professionals in this field.

One such specialist business is Requite Solutions. Their website is at www.requitesolutions.com/

Requite say they are cybercrime, fraud prevention and investigation specialists – a London based consultancy service operating globally.

They employ senior fraud detectives, cybercrime investigators, and former armed surveillance operatives who have years of experience tackling cybercrime, money laundering, organised, and business crime.

They provide high quality penetration testing by CREST certified penetration testers. Our teams of experts work manually to find more of the issues that matter.

Asset Tracing & Recovery, Investigation, Hackers,Financial Investigation, Suspect profiling, Evidential packages, Recovery, Dispute resolution.

 Requite Say businesses should choose them because of the following:-

  • Criminals are exploiting the advances in technology. Every day both large and small organisations are falling victim to fraud and cyber attacks. If you have experienced fraud or a cyber attack, then you will understand the frustration, stress, and panic that often ensues.
  • We will gather crucial evidence, trace assets, absorb your stress, and assist with achieving a positive outcome through recovery of assets and/or prosecution.
  • Staff at your company are often the first line of defence and the importance of training, and continuing education is essential. We can deliver this training in a clear and concise manner.
  • Ensuring that you are adequately protected against fraud and cyber-attacks is paramount. Failures to address any impending threats could damage your brand and reputation and may result in significant financial losses that are not always recoverable.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Amazon Fake Reviews

Amazon is the biggest eCommerce operation the world has ever seen with sales of $178 billion in 2017.

One of Amazon’s biggest sales promoters is the use of customer reviews.

If you’re going to buy something on Amazon but want to know what other people think of the product or service then you check the customer reviews and almost always they are genuine.

Amazon spend a lot of time and money ferreting out fake reviews and stopping any businesses that use or promote fake reviews and they say that more than 99% of reviews on its sites are authentic.

That doesn’t stop criminals and idiots trying to find ways around the rules of course.

Recently, organisations have been using Facebook to advertise free Amazon products in return for reviews.

The customer buys the item and is promised a full refund once they have posted a stellar review on Amazon.

It is against Facebook rules for their users to promote fake reviews, but as we all know, Facebook have trouble actually policing content on their platform.

One such Facebook group is “Amazon free product deals between reviewer and seller [UK only]” which is a closed group and describes its purpose as:-

We help Amazon UK sellers to boost up rankings via getting reviews through our gradually building reliable members.

To become a member, you need to commit to review the product with 5* within 5 days of “order”. If this is not done, you would be banned and would miss out from brilliant discounts offered!

That’s clear – you need to give top rating reviews or you are banned from the group.

That’s not how people expect customer reviews to work.

Stop cheating – as we all lose out from that.

If you do check Amazon reviews – make sure to read several and don’t be taken in by the first one your read.

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Financial Loss Due to Fraud

 

 

Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales. Office of National Statistics. 2017 data.

 Cost Fraud Involving Financial Loss (%) Cumulative Loss (%)
Less than £20 9.0 9.0
£20 – £99 30.0 39.0
£100 – £249 18.8 57.9
£250 – £499 14.5 72.3
£500 – £999 10.9 83.2
£1000 – £2,499 9.6 92.8
£2,500 – £4,999 4.2 97.0
£5,000 – £9,999 1.7 98.7
£10,000 – £19,999 0.8 99.4
£20,000 and above 0.6 100.0

You can see from the figures that there were modest losses (less than £100) for 39 % of victims, but at the other extreme, some people lost more than £20,000.

The higher losses are most commonly from frauds involving house purchase and investment fraud.

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