Category: Fight Back

38 Degrees Campaigns

https://home.38degrees.org.uk

38 Degrees is one of the UK’s biggest campaigning communities, with millions of members.

Campaigns

10,891

Total actions taken

39,649,749

 

38 Degrees say they are independent of all political parties. They are driven by issues and outcomes, and judge all politicians by the same standards regardless of what party they belong to.

They don’t take money from political parties, government or big business.  The campaigns are powered by small donations from thousands of 38 Degrees members averaging about £12 per donation.

If you have an idea to make your community, or the country, a better place, Campaigns by You helps you make it a reality. 38 Degrees let everyone create petitions, organise meetings, and win campaigns on the issues close to their hearts.

38 Degrees launched in 2009 and now has over 3 million people involved in the campaigns.

Highlights

  1. They helped stop the government’s plans to sell off our ancient national forests.
  2. They stopped plans for a massive mega-dairy in Lincolnshire.
  3. They stopped Donald Trump’s plans to build a golf course at the expense of families in Menie, Scotland, who were at risk of eviction.
  4. They also helped convince the government to sign up to the EU Directive on human trafficking.
  5. They forced the 2012 Olympic sponsors not to dodge their tax.
  6. They stopped eBay from selling illegal bee-killing pesticides.
  7. They helped make sure plans to cover up investigations into MPs expenses were scrapped.

Current campaigns

38 Degrees members campaign on a variety of different issues all year round – from keeping privatisation out of our NHS, to keeping libraries open, to stopping Murdoch’s power grab of BSkyB. We’re concerned with defending fairness, protecting rights, promoting peace, preserving the planet and deepening democracy.

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The TPS APP to Block Cold Callers

TPS Logo

TPS stands for Telephone Preference Service.

This service was setup by the government to let people register that they don’t want cold calls and any reputable Marketing organisation has to abide by the rule not to call anyone registered on TPS.

Now, there is an APP to make it simpler on your smart phone.

What does the smartphone app TPS Protect do?

For every call you receive, it can give an indication of how trustworthy that call is.

  • If TRUST = 1 then it has identified the call as untrustworthy or potentially a scam
  • If TRUST = 5 then it has identified the call as from a trusted caller

You choose the level of TRUST to accept.

You can also choose what categories of calls to accept.

  • Do you want to block all nuisance calls from accident claims providers?
  • Do you want to accept all calls from charities? That’s your choice.

If you receive a call you think should be blocked, then you register a complaint on your APP.

Also, by making a complaint you help the TPS and industry regulators to take action against nuisance callers, and help protect others using TPS Protect.

As the app relies on the feedback of its users, the more who download and use this app and report incoming nuisance calls, the better the service will be.

TPS Protect has free services:-

  • Incoming Call Screening
  • Number lookup and reporting
  • Simple TPS registration

TPS Protect also has paid for subscription services

  • Divert nuisance calls to voicemail
  • Personal block List
  • Personal Approved List
  • Greater control via custom settings

When you first download the app you will have access to the paid-for features, including call diverts to voicemail, manage a Block and Approved List, and Custom Settings for 60 days. Once the free period has expired you can renew your subscription for 99p per month.

It’s a shame you have to pay for those extra services but better than having adverts as the makers have to fund the development somehow.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

Bob Servant Fights Back Against Scammers

Bob Servant likes dealing with scammers – and playing them at their own game.

The book “Delete This at Your Peril” gives eight of his best dialogues with scammers and they are very funny.

This is the story of Peter’s Pots by Bob Servant.

A typical scam email arrived.

“Dear Beloved,

I have a job offer for you. My name is Peter Anderson and I work with Union Ventures Inc . Ltd. We extract raw materials from Africa for clients in America and Canada.

We are looking for a representative in America to work for us part-time and are willing to pay you 10% for every transaction. These payments would come to you in your name. You cash it, deduct your payment and send the rest to us via Western Union.“

Bob replies: This sounds very interesting indeed. Can you tell me more about the raw materials you trade in as  my friend Frank Theplank is also a trader in raw materials.

Peter:  Union Ventures is number one registered company in West Africa that deals on all kinds of raw materials.

Bob: Frank asked me if you deal in rubber, timber or china pots?

Peter: Yes we deal in rubber, timber and china pots and can do discounts for your friend.

[lots more emails about various products, nights out, freezing weather, favourites foods etc. – all very silly, but the scammer doesn’t seem to notice]

Bob: Frank needs 2,000 pots for the end of the month for a major reworking of Dawson Park. It’s going to be “Frank’s World of Pots”.

Then a long description of Frank’s World of Pots – with lots of very silly features.

Peter agrees to provide the pots quickly and wants a $10,000 deposit.

Bob: The 2,000 pots are to be filled with different things. Some plants but also surprises like chocolate bars, yo-yos, magazines and Chinese food.

Peter: I think what you and Frank are to do will be a great success and I am glad Union Ventures will be part of this. The order will only take us a week and we will have the entire factory working on it. You must pay the $10,000 through Western Union so we can start on the work.

Bob:  Frank just called me from the dog track to say I have to make sure the pots are suitable for people to put their hands in without risking the hand getting stuck. This must include motorbike riders who haven’t taken their gloves off.

Peter keeps insisting on the payment by Western Union and Bob agrees but then invites Peter to come over with the delivery of pots and stay at his house.

This exchange goes on for weeks until eventually Peter makes an ultimatum and the game is over.

Bob’s website is at http://www.bobservant.com/

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

Legal Steps to Recover Your Stolen Money

This is a series of steps for attempting to recover money stolen by fraudsters. It has been created by Barrister  Gideon Roseman following his skirmish with fraudsters. You can read about that at fightback.ninja/amateur-detective-recovers-stolen-money/

  1. Immediately phone your bank and ask to speak with the fraud team

Explain what has happened and demand they immediately contact the fraudster’s bank, i.e.  the bank you transferred your money to.

  1. Immediately contact a solicitor or barrister who can accept instructions directly from members of the public (or alternatively you can attempt to do this yourself). Ask them to immediately make an application to freeze the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account that the fraudster has with their bank. The application should include a request for an order that the fraudster’s bank provides the following information:
  • all contact details (mobile phone, home phone, email address, residential address etc.) for all signatories to the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account held in the fraudster’s name or any other signatory to this bank account that is held at the bank
  • all bank statements for the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account to which the fraudster or any other signatory has with the bank in question for a period of 6 months; and
  • the current balance of all bank accounts with the bank that is in the fraudster’s or any other signatory’s name.
  1. Once you get hold of the court order, this will need to be immediately emailed to the fraudster’s banks’ ‘court orders’ team who can process it. You can ask your bank for this email address.
  2. As soon as you receive the information from the fraudster’s bank, consider the following points:

(i) has your money been transferred or paid to any recognisable company you can contact, such as a known retailer

(ii) if you can identify a company that has received your money, you can then contact this company, explain what has happened and request they either cancel the transaction made by the fraudster or request them to hold onto the money they have received and

(iii) has the money been transferred to other bank accounts.

  1. If your money has been transferred out of the fraudster’s bank account and into another bank account, you have the option of returning to court and making an application for the information set out above and repeating the process set out above.
  2. When you have received the fraudster’s bank account statements, try to work out the dates and times of the transfers out of their accounts. Your bank will be under a duty to contact the fraudster’s bankers, who will then freeze the fraudster’s account.

If your bank has failed to act within a reasonable period of time after you have notified them of the fraud, which has enabled the fraudster to transfer your money without a trace, it is likely that your bank will have breached their duty and will have to compensate you.

Good luck.

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

Amateur Detective Recovers Stolen Money

Gideon Roseman was scammed out of a lot of money. He had builders working on his home and fraudsters hacked in to the builder’s email system. They sent a message to Roseman purporting to the builder asking for a down payment to start work. Roseman paid £20,400 to what he though was the account of his builder.

The next day his wife Esther found an email from the builder warning his customers that his email had been hacked and Roseman realised his payment had gone to the hackers.

The builder had checked his emails and found messages to a number of customers demanding payment to a bank account he did not recognise.

Roseman said  “I wasn’t filled with optimism when I spoke to my bank, so I felt as though the only way I would get my money back is to take things into my own hands.”. He is a barrister so had a head start over most of us in dealing with the legal system.

He travelled to London the High Court to apply for the fraudster’s bank account to be frozen.

The judge agreed it appeared he had been the victim of fraud and granted the order.

Mr Roseman then contacted Santander’s court orders department and it froze the account.

He soon received another email from the fraudster asking for more money to “cover the VAT” on the work.

Mr Roseman played along and managed to obtain the sort codes and details of another two accounts — one at Barclays and another at Santander.

He then returned to the High Court to get these accounts frozen and the judge again approved his application.

The court ordered Barclays and Santander to release all contact details and bank statements for the frozen accounts and using these, Mr Roseman tracked down £5,655 in several Santander accounts connected to the fraudster and the bank agreed to return the money.

He also noticed the scammer had transferred around £5,000 to a haulage firm which repaid his money.

The bank accounts also revealed £9,150 was transferred out of the fraudster’s account more than 24 hours after Mr Roseman first reported the incident to Barclays.

Barclays denied any delay but later agreed to pay the remaining £9,150.

It added £200 compensation. This left £395 outstanding, which the builder took off his bill.

Mr Roseman said “Hopefully, I’ve shown that despite what the banks might say, it is possible to track down cash after it’s disappeared and get the money back.”

“My advice to scam victims is to act immediately. Call your bank, gather evidence and instruct a solicitor to get to court as quickly as you can to freeze the accounts.”

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BT Call Protect

BT Call Protect is BT’s new free service to help their users block out the scam callers, cold callers and other undesirables.

Nuisance calls take many forms – they can be malicious calls, unsolicited sales propositions, scams or simply someone dialling the wrong number.

Getting nuisance calls at home can be intrusive, may disturb your home life and, when they happen repeatedly, can be upsetting.

For BT home phone customers, BT Call Protect is free and works in three ways:

  1. BT blacklist: Numbers identified as nuisance callers by BT’s experts are added to a BT blacklist and sent automatically to your junk voicemail.
  2. Personal blacklist: If you get an unwanted call you can add the number to your Personal blacklist. All future calls from that number will be sent to your junk voicemail.
  3. Individual call types: Send calls from specific categories (such as withheld or international) straight to your junk voicemail.

Features

  • BT Call Protect is easy to set up

All new and existing BT customers can opt in at bt.com/callprotect. Once it’s set up  you can manage your settings  and add phone numbers to your personal blacklist by going online to bt.com/btcallprotect or by calling 1572 from your home phone (no charge) at any time.

  • You control who calls your phone

If you get an unwanted call hang up, dial 1572 and follow the simple instructions to add the last number to your personal blacklist. All future calls from that number will be sent to your junk voicemail.

You can also choose to send international, withheld and unrecognised numbers to your junk voicemail further reducing the amount of unwanted calls received.

  • BT’s Expert knowledge

BT has a team of experts based in Oswestry who identify nuisance calls and create the BT blacklist. Numbers on this blacklist will be sent directly to your junk voicemail. The team is continually updating the list with new unwanted numbers, so you can be sure it’s up to date. The blacklist also includes the phone numbers of scammers detected by the BT Security team.

The list is continually being updated and new numbers added, helping to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

Alternatives to BT Call Protect

There are various products on the market that can block unknown callers etc. The most well known is truCall but Gigaset and Panasonic also make home phones with call blocking features.

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The Royal Mail Deals with Scam Mail

Royal Mail say they take the issue of scam mail very seriously and are  coordinating an industry-wide response to tackle fraudulent mail at its source.

They have developed an industry-wide code of practice and invited all mail operators in the UK to sign-up. This code sets out how the industry can actively work together, and with law enforcement agencies, to tackle the scourge of scam mail.

The Code of Practice

Companies signing up to the code of practice will voluntarily commit to meeting the following obligations:

  1. Actively work together and with law enforcement agencies, to tackle the scourge of scam mail
  2. Proactively share intelligence of confirmed scam mailings and suspected scam mailings
  3. Terminate any mailing identified by law enforcement agencies as being used to attempt to scam the recipients
  4. Include anti-scam terms and conditions in contracts
  5. Forge closer ties with law enforcement agencies and the broader communications community to prevent scams through letters, electronic communications, telephone calls and other means
  6. Provide help and support for victims of scams by sharing information received in our enquiries with appropriate partners including the National Trading Standards Scams Team, law enforcement and other agencies.

What Can You Do?

If you think you or a family member are receiving scam mail, you can report it to Royal Mail by completing a form online and posting it to Royal Mail. https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/303 and click on ‘completing an online form’).

The Freepost address is below where you can send the form along with the original envelope and any items of mail you have received that are relevant.

Alternatively, let them know your full name, address and a contact telephone number via the email or telephone options below and they will send you a form to complete together with a prepaid addressed envelope in which to return the form with examples of the scam mail received.

By post:              FREEPOST SCAM MAIL

By Email:            scam.mail@royalmail.com

By Telephone:    03456 113 413 (message service only)

As the largest deliverer of spam and scam letters, it was high time the Royal Mail did something to stop the flood of such items, especially to vulnerable people.

Let’s hope this permanently blocks a large chunk of the spam and scam items.

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The Hearing Clinic Fined £220,000

Claims Management Companies are the ones that make most of the cold calls – on behalf of their clients.

The Claims Management Regulator (part of the Ministry of Justice)  licenses firms and individuals to provide claims management services. It also has the power to take action when a regulated claims management business breaks the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules.

The CMR received hundreds of complaints from recipients of calls from “The Hearing Clinic” about claims for noise induced hearing loss. Many complainants had previously subscribed to the “do not call” Telephone Preference Service, so the calls breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Having investigated, the Regulator imposed a £220,000 fine on Aurangzeb Iqbal, the owner of “The Hearing Clinic” and various other businesses including “Industrial Disease Services,” “Hedging Redress,” and “We Claim 4 U.”

Various conditions were also imposed which applied to all claims management services operated under Mr Iqbal’s Regulator licence.

These included having to inform the Regulator on the 5th of every month of each TPS complaint received over the previous month. Mr Iqbal also has to provide the Regulator with full details of all subcontractors he proposes to appoint, plus an explanation and evidence of how he proposes to monitor these suppliers to ensure their compliance.

In its press release, the Regulator reported that from a peak of 3367 in 2011 the number of claims management companies has now fallen to 1752, with 105 having their licences removed in 2014. Further investigations by the Regulator are apparently ongoing and could lead to more sanctions.

Richard Lloyd, from consumer watchdog Which? said: “Hopefully this is the start of a concerted crackdown by Regulators, using their new powers to send a clear message that nuisance calling won’t be tolerated. This company made millions of unwanted calls so we welcome the Claims Management Regulator baring its teeth.

“The size of this fine should make other firms think twice before bombarding people with cold calls. We also need to see senior executives held personally accountable if their company makes unlawful sales calls.”

To complain to the Regulator, go to  https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/claims-management-regulator

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U.S. Charges 14 Over $147 Million Scam

Federal prosecutors criminally charged 14 defendants with involvement in a $147 million stock manipulation scheme orchestrated in a New York boiler room, which swindled dozens of senior citizens and other investors.

Employees of My Street Research, based in Melville, New York, obtained shares at below-market prices from insiders of five public companies, and conducted wash trades and other manipulative trading to drive prices up, according to  acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde.

My Street Research described itself as providing “unbiased stock research” and “top notch, detailed unbiased research.”

Prosecutors instead describe it as a boiler room operation that used high pressure sales tactics to inflate prices of shares which they or co-conspirators owned in a pump and dump operation – pumping up prices, then dumping stock on clients.

Victims were repeatedly pressured in cold calls and emails to buy shares and sign up for stock tips, and five defendants tried to launder $14.7 million of proceeds from the scheme, which ran from January 2014 to recently.

One such email, for the company Grilled Cheese Truck Inc, said “URGENT!!! MUST WATCH THIS LINK REGARDING THE ‘GRILLED CHEESE TRUCK'” and provided a link to a Fox Business Channel video titled “Soup Nazi Hits the Road with New Food Trucks”.

Prosecutors said the defendants Erik Matz, of Mt. Sinai, New York, and Ronald Hardy, of Port Jefferson, New York, managed the alleged boiler room My Street Research, which was previously called Dacona Financial, Power Traders Press and Trade Masters Co.

Other defendants include cold callers, people involved with stock research, and insiders or marketers affiliated with Grilled Cheese Truck, CES Synergies Inc, Hydrocarb Energy Corp, Intelligent Content Enterprises Inc and National Waste Management Holdings Inc, prosecutors said.

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