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Car Accident Cold Callers

The Fightback Ninja says:-

I have been receiving car accident cold calls recently.

I haven’t had any accidents – Ninja’s never do.

So, my mobile number must have got onto a scammers call list, sadly.

Katie phoned me. Probably a fake name.

“My name is Katie and I’m calling about your recent car accident”.

It’s nice to talk with you Katie. So, which accident was that then Katie?

“The car accident”.

Yes. So, which one was that?

She obviously didn’t like my response and put the phone down.

Then there was Abbey.

“Hello. My name is Abbey and I’m calling from Sunshine Advisors. We’re calling about your recent car accident”

Right. Hello Abbey. Sunshine Advisors – that’s a good name.

“About your accident which was not your fault.”

That accident?

“If you give me the details of your car and when the accident happened we can start the recovery process to get you damages.”

Right. That sounds good.

She didn’t respond.

What accident are we talking about then Abbey?

She put the phone down. They recognise when you know it’s a scam and believe it’s better to move onto a new victim than play a dead hand.

If you have the time, it’s fun to play along and waste their time – make up answers. There’s no need to be truthful as they called you to lie to you.

  1. What do they want?
  2. Usually these are for fake insurance claims for something like whiplash which is very difficult to disprove. Sometimes they are just phishing for your personal details to sell on.

Whatever they want – do not tell them anything personal as you may regret it.

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

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Surrey Police Roll-Out Property Marking Kits

The Police believe that the use of property marking kits can make a big impact on the level of burglaries in an area.

Detective Inspector Dee Fielding said: “We have evidence from many Police Forces that the use of the SelectaDNA kits have successfully cut the number of burglars trying their luck when they realise that items marked with the DNA code are much harder to sell on. In North Manchester, SelectaDNA report that burglaries reduced by up to 83% following a home crime reduction initiative.

The kits are called forensic marking kits named SelectDNA. The Surrey Police have 30,000 kits to hand out to household in burglary hotspots.

The SelectDNA kit contains a bottle of clear liquid that can be used to mark any valuable items such as mobile phones, computers, other electronics,

Local officers and neighbourhood teams will be handing out the free SelectaDNA property marking kits over the next 12 months to those households in hot spot areas.

The SelectaDNA packs consist of a bottle of clear liquid which carries its very own unique synthetic DNA code which is only visible under ultraviolet light. The product can be used to mark valuable items of household property such as TVs, laptops, iPads, games consoles, musical instruments, tools, jewellery and antiques. It takes seconds to apply the liquid and it’s virtually impossible to remove. Marked property is then registered onto a secure police and insurance approved national database which proves ownership and allows recovered items to be traced back to the owner. By marking your property and displaying the orange window stickers warning that property is DNA marked, criminals will be deterred from targeting protected homes.

For those Surrey residents outside the project areas, a discount of 50% with free P&P is available on SelectaDNA Home kits. Just visit www.selectadna.co.uk and use the discount code ‘DNASURREY50’ to order a kit for just £29.75.

Surrey Police offer the following tips to keep your belongings safe:

  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house
  • Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox
  • Install dusk to dawn outside lighting
  • Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immovable object
  • Keep ladders and tools stored away; don’t leave them outside
  • Mark your property with a forensic marking product, and register your belongings with Immobilise.com

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Fake Designer Goods

Market stalls, tourist spots, high streets, beaches, the Internet – all places where you are likely to come across people selling fake designer goods.

But is there any harm in nabbing a pair of “Louboutins” from a market, or a “Chanel” handbag from a girl selling them on a foreign beach?

The answer depends a lot on the situation and what the buyer expects. If you make an impulse buy in a tourist market and pick up fake perfume – as long as you know it’s going to be fake then that’s up to you. Whereas if you invest a lot of money in an APPLE iPhone believing it to be genuine but at a bargain price and then find out the item is a cheap knock-off – you’re not going to be pleased.

The argument that by buying fakes you are doing the legitimate business out of their sales is true sometimes but most people are never going to buy the expensive designer goods and buying something that looks expensive but was cheap may be harmless fun.

Fake goods do damage the reputation of the legitimate companies and chances are the fakes are made in much worse factories and conditions than the genuine articles, so should be avoided for that reason alone.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau advises consumers to avoid buying fake goods because “you’re helping the trader to break the law”. “Many fraudsters use the proceeds from selling counterfeit goods to fund drug dealing or other types of organised crime”

“In 2010, Louis Vuitton initiated 10,673 raids and 30,171 anti-counterfeiting procedures worldwide, resulting in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit products and the breaking up of criminal networks.”

“So long as people know what they’re getting, there’s really no need to get worked up about it.”

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Open Banking

Open Banking was launched in January 2018, in an effort to increase competition within the UK financial sector, and to facilitate closer relationships between big banks and new fintech companies (i.e. financial technology). The law will force the big banks to release data, to third parties if customers so choose.

The initiative will enable individual customers to easily share their banking data with approved third party institutions, putting customers more in control of their own data. The government believes this has the potential for far-reaching impact beyond banking, extending into lending, savings, investment and other areas ready for innovation.

This will make it easier for new products and services to help customers securely move and manage money more easily and efficiently.

At the moment, only the UK’s nine largest banks and building societies must make your data available through Open Banking. Other smaller banks and building societies can choose whether to take part in Open Banking.

The banks and building societies who currently offer Open Banking are: Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Danske, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, NatWest, Santander, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank.

Every provider that uses Open Banking to offer products and services must be regulated by the FCA or European equivalent. www.openbanking.org.uk/

  1. How do I control who has access to my information?
  2. You choose which regulated apps and websites you want to use. You decide what information they can access, and for how long. No one gets access unless you say so.
  3. Can a regulated third party provider make a payment from my account without me authorising it?
  4. No. You’ll always need to approve any payment made from your account.

If you’re interested to try Open banking – contact your bank or check the website www.openbanking.org.uk

You can change your mind at any time and tell your bank to stop sharing your information, or you can cancel with the firm directly.

Only firms registered with the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, (or the European equivalent) can use the Open Banking system to access your data like this.

But, be warned that banks may not take responsibility if something goes wrong when you gave the third party permission to take funds from your account.

If the company is registered by the FCA and you notice a payment you didn’t authorise, you should be able to claim back the money from your bank — providing you haven’t been negligent with your account details.

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

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Fake Trip Advisor Reviewer Jailed

An Italian has been jailed for selling hundreds of fake TripAdvisor reviews.

The owner of an Italian business (Promo Salento) that sold fake TripAdvisor reviews has been sentenced to nine months in prison. He posted favourable reviews on behalf of hundreds of restaurants and was sentenced by a court in Italy and also ordered to pay around €8000 euros (£7,100) in damages and legal costs.

The unnamed businessman submitted over 1,000 paid-for reviews to TripAdvisor, pretending to be satisfied diners. He charged restaurants €100 euros for 10 reviews.

The court in Puglia ruled that writing fictional reviews using a false identity is criminal conduct. Paid review fraud is illegal in EU countries, but this is the first case to result in a jail term. TripAdvisor hailed the result as “a landmark ruling for the Internet”.

TripAdvisor said that writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone sent to jail as a result” – Brad Young, the company’s vice-president, in a statement. He also said that since 2015, they’d put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid review companies worldwide.

TripAdvisor is the world’s biggest travel website with more than 600 million reviews covering accommodation, airlines, museums and restaurants. The quality of the customer reviews is essential to TripAdvisor and there has been bad publicity over fake reviews at times with complaints that TripAdvisor doesn’t do enough to weed out the fake ones.

There has been the development of a market for businesses offering reputation management which can them include writing good reviews and submitting negative reviews of their competitors.  This not legal but is difficult to prove.

As an experiment, a Vice journalist wanted to see if he could get a ridiculous non existent restaurant to rank high on TripAdvisor.

He selected his garden shed, called it “The Shed”, created a pretentious website and made photographs of ridiculous looking food – largely created with shaving foam, colourants and anything to hand. Then using friends he created so many top reviews that his shed became the number one restaurant in London according to TripAdvisor.

Oh dear, TripAdvisor.

Almost all reviews on TripAdvisor and similar sites are believed to be real, but do beware the fakes.

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