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Victim Entitlements

If you suffer a crime that is reported to the Police, then you will, as a victim, have the following rights (dependant on circumstances).

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

You are entitled to:

  • A written acknowledgement that you have reported a crime, including the basic details of the offence; •
  • An enhanced service if you are a victim of serious crime, a persistently targeted victim or a vulnerable or intimidated victim;
  • A needs assessment to help work out what support you need;
  • Information on what to expect from the criminal justice system;
  • Be referred to organisations supporting victims of crime;
  • Be informed about the police investigation, such as if a suspect is arrested and charged and any bail conditions imposed;
  • Make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) to explain how the crime affected you;
  • Read your VPS aloud or have it read aloud on your behalf, subject to the views of the court, if a defendant is found guilty;
  • Be informed if the suspect is to be prosecuted or not or given an out of court disposal;
  • Seek a review of the police or CPS’s decision not to prosecute in accordance with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and CPS Victims’ Right to Review schemes;
  • Be informed of the time, date and location and outcome of any court hearings;
  • Be informed if you need to give evidence in court, what to expect and discuss what help and support you might need with the Witness Care Unit;
  • Arrange a court familiarisation visit and enter the court through a different entrance from the suspect and sit in a separate waiting area where possible;
  • Meet the CPS advocate and ask him or her questions about the court process where circumstances permit;
  • Be informed of any appeal against the offender’s conviction or sentence;
  • To opt into the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) if the offender is sentenced to 12 months or more for a specified violent or sexual offence;
  • If you opt in to the VCS to: – make a VPS for consideration by the Parole Board if the offender is considered for release or transfer and apply to the Parole Board to read it out at the hearing; – make representations about the conditions attached to the offender’s licence on release and be informed about any licence conditions relating to you;
  • Apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme;
  • Receive information about Restorative Justice and how you can take part;
  • Make a complaint if you do not receive the information and services you are entitled to, and to receive a full response from the relevant service provider.

See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/476900/code-of-practice-for-victims-of-crime.PDF  for further information.

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Twitter Work at Home Scam

There is a common scam on Twitter you receive either a direct message or see a tweet that claims to offer easy ways to make money on Twitter.

If you follow this up – it leads to an e-book containing lots of ways to make money with no outlay.

You may choose to buy the e-book and hope it will give you the means to make money from home with little time or effort.

There may be no book – just a simple scam, but quite often there is a book which the victim receives and it’s not what was expected.

The guide to making money does contain a list of ways to make money on Twitter but they are either unsuitable or impossible for the vast majority of readers.

e.g. “create an information product and sell it on twitter”, or ”offer services on Twitter then use the Fiverr website to get the work done for you cheaply then charge a higher price to the victim” or “Get businesses to sponsor you for making tweets”.

Plus, the scammer has your name, address and credit card details and may well sell that information to other criminals who will steal from you.

Twitter scam entices users with opportunities to make money from home by tweeting about other people’s products. Those who fall for the scam pay a small sign-up fee to get a

“The end user ends up forking out money to do this work and they pay money to some rogue company,”. “But once you’ve paid for the CD, they now have your credit card number, and they can just keep charging that card each month.”

That is exactly what they do. Many victims report that after having purchased the starter kit, they were charged a hidden membership fee of $50 USD or more every month thereafter. In most cases, the victims had no choice but to cancel their credit cards.

The bogus messages appear as both direct messages and regular Twitter updates that attempt to induce users into visiting fraudulent websites punting supposed opportunities to make thousands for little or no effort. The dodgy messages link to supposed news articles on the opportunity.

Cleverly these articles would appear to come from (often made-up) news outlets near a prospective mark’s geographical location.

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

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Stop Web Pollution

“Together we can make a better web” is the rallying cry of the website at www.stopwebpollution.org

We damage the environment very seriously. We create huge amounts of pollution in the air, the seas and on land and it is endangering our future safety and prosperity.

However there is a less obvious form of pollution being created in vast amounts – information pollution: spam messages, scams, pointless emails, pointless websites, pointless social media etc.

Some thoughts to consider:-

  • Exploiting search engine imperfection is not a business model.
  • Web forms were made for humans. Don’t let robots do the talk.
  • Don’t steal other people’s identities or act as someone you’re not.
  • Don’t let your adverts tell more than your content.
  • Don’t pretend to be an expert on a field you have no clue about.
  • Don’t hurt the web. Use open standards.
  • Add value. Make the web a better place.
  • Every piece of content belongs to someone. Respect that.
  • Use links for honest personal recommendation only. Don’t trade them.
  • Don’t speak if you have nothing to say.
  • Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  • Share your knowledge.
  • Don’t infiltrate and spam social networking sites.
  • Don’t put music on your site unless you’re a musician and it’s your music.

Information pollution is an interesting concept – but how seriously can we take this?

Let me know what you think on this matter

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How to Unclog Your Digital Life

The Digital world can be fun, entertaining, instructive, informative and wonderful, but also sad, nasty, destructive and dangerous and every other emotion and purpose you can think of.

We all create the content and services – good and bad but most people agree now that the Digital World  can be very stressful and many things that people use the most only add to the stress of modern living. E.g. Facebook is not designed to help you but to make money for the owners and deliberately stresses users with constant reminders, notifications and updates that only serve Facebook’s need for you to constantly use the service.

Unclog your digital life by taking simple actions to regain control.

  • Your smart phone is your servant not your master. Turn it off at night and whenever you can.
  • Set all APPS to no notifications – you don’t need to know the second an email arrives or someone on Facebook likes your page.
  • Uninstall /delete any programmes, services and APPS that aren’t genuinely useful to you.
  • Cancel all newsletters and anything similar that clogs up your email.
  • Unsubscribe from everything online you’re subscribed to unless you really cannot do without it.
  • Talk to real people – don’t avoid them by using text messages instead.
  • Make time to eat properly, not on the move rushing from one place to the next and no screens to look at while eating.
  • Make time to unwind before sleep and get a decent 7-9 hours sleep every night (phone turned off)
  • If you’re an avid game player – limit the time you spend on the games and never just before bedtime.
  • Practice mindfulness (with or without an APP)

Let me know your thoughts on the Digital World and the stress it puts us under and how we could learn to better manage it.

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The Google Voice Account Scam

Google Voice is a telephone service that provides call forwarding and voicemail services, voice and text messaging, for Google Account customers in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Google Voice provides a U.S. telephone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. Calls to this number are forwarded to telephone numbers of the user’s choice. Multiple destinations may be specified that ring simultaneously for incoming calls and any can be answered.

Users in the U.S. can also make outbound calls to domestic and international destinations.

Google Voice services include voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages.

How The Scam Works

You put your telephone number on the Internet e.g. on your own website or social media or a dating website etc. or on a classified advert in a local paper.

A scammer contacts you via text or email.  They claim they need you to prove you are real person, not a computer and that they are using a special phone service that requires that you give them the six-digit code number that will be played to you by an automated verification call or text message from Google.

This may sounds reasonable and you go through with it, but then shortly afterwards that your name and number are being used to scam people and you no longer have control of your phone number. What happened?

The scammer has in fact, gone through the Google Voice setup process.  They tell Google Voice to call your personal number, and the automated call speaks the code, or the text message supplies the code.

The then give the scammer that code and Google issues the new voice number not to you but to the scammer.

The scammer then uses that voice account to scam people then is likely to drop it and get a new one through the same process.

In the worst cases, illegal activity carried out on these fake accounts might involve law enforcement and you will have to prove it wasn’t you carrying out the scam.

Do not give Google verification codes to anyone.

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