Charities have long been an established part of life, carrying out everything from hospice care to cancer research to caring for orphaned children to seeking responsible treatment of animals etc.
In Britain there are well over 200,000 registered charities and estimated to be a lot more that aren’t registered as they are too small.
Charities have a good name and do a good job but in recent years in the UK, many large charities became too focussed on collecting money and using unscrupulous methods to do so.
From reports of chuggers (the charity collectors in the street who stop you and wont let go till you’ve signed up) to the ones that trade names of donors so they can each cold call more people, to those using boiler room tactics on cold calling. Some people have reported getting hundreds of such calls per week and being frightened to leave their phone connected.
Or call 0300 303 3517. You register yourself (or another person) so as to not be bothered by the charities you elect to block.
You need to supply your name and address and pick which charities to block. That’s all there is to it.
You can register someone else on the service and they will be sent a message informing them of the registration. This is so that carers and family members and neighbours can register people unable to do so themselves.
Most of the charities have learned to behave better following the bad publicity but this will hopefully make them more responsible as well and stop a lot of the unnecessary bothering of people that still goes on.
In its first days, the FRP was receiving 114 requests per hour so you can see this service is very much needed.
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Francis received the following typical scam email (complete with grammatical and spelling mistakes)
I have $15.7 million dollars laying in an escrow account in my head office here in Sierra Leone, the fund was over due payment for contractor 4year ago.
I am seeking your help to present you as the beneficiary to the fund,so that you can contact my Bank Head Office for up transfer of the fund into your account. You are to forward me your details, Your Full name, Your age, Your address, Id card and Telephone number.
Mr Hassan Malik.
Dear Mr. Malik,
Thanks very much. But I don’t need your money as I have 457,452,743 billion dollars in a large suitcase I found at the side of the road.
As you only have $15.7 million would you like some of mine?
Now get lost and stop wasting my time you devious and crooked half-wit
Well said Sir.
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Three men have been jailed after defrauding elderly bank customers of more than £390,000 and laundering the cash through multiple fake accounts.
Taminder Virdi from Ilford, and Abubakar Salim from Leyton, who both worked at the same TSB branch in Stoke Newington in 2014, transferred funds out of customer accounts into 65 fraudulent beneficiary accounts they had opened.
These accounts were controlled by accountant Babar Hussain from East Ham.
Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) were alerted to their activity when one of the eight victims, all of whom were in their 70s, reported that £56,000 had been transferred out of their bank account without consent. That money was then deposited into seven beneficiary accounts opened in different names.
Hussain was arrested in 2016 and officers recovered a number of fraudulently obtained genuine driving licenses, which Virdi and Salim used along with fake gas and electric bills to open up the beneficiary accounts.
When he was interviewed, Hussain claimed that part of his work in the community involved opening and managing bank accounts for those just arriving in the UK with no fixed address.
Messages on Hussain’s mobile phone identified other victims of fraud, where Virdi and Salim abused their position within the bank to access their accounts and transfer money into beneficiary accounts.
Virdi was arrested in 2016 and Salim in 2017.
Following the internal investigations, TSB reported the incidents to the police and assisted the NCA fully with the investigation.
All three were charged with fraud by abuse of position and money laundering.
Hussain was jailed for five years and four months.
Virdi and Salim were found guilty in April 2019 and were sentenced to three years and six months and four years respectively.
Mike Hulett, Head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said:
“Hussain is a professional money launderer who used his accountancy knowledge to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from elderly banking customers.
All the customers who lost money were fully reimbursed by the banks.
If you have any experiences with this kind of scam do let me know, by email.
Throughout lockdown Neighbour Watch have been sending a short survey to their Associations across England and Wales every two weeks, asking them whether people in their area perceive that crime had gone up, down or stayed the same over the previous 2 weeks and what crimes people felt had increased or were more concerned about.
The results of each of the surveys were collated and sent to the Home Office to add a community perspective to the police recorded crime data they receive from police forces.
Initially most respondents (53%) reported that crime in their area had decreased since lockdown started. With people being at home the majority of the time there was a reduction in burglaries and in personal crime on the streets.
The types of crime that people felt were rising are fraud, car crime and thefts outside of homes.
Crime increased on driveways, in gardens and sheds, with thefts from and of motor vehicles and of garden furniture.
Fly-tipping increased significantly.
As time went on, antisocial behaviour was reported as a growing problem – perhaps due to young people unable to attend school and adults unable to work.
Drug-taking and dealing became more obvious as drug dealers and those buying from them were more noticeable.
Burglaries were taking place at the homes of key workers and their vehicles were targeted in car parks whilst they were at work.
As some of the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, concerns about antisocial behaviour started to rise further – litter and fires from barbecues at beauty spots, noise nuisance from neighbours and more people breaching lockdown rules.
So, basically crime continued throughout Lockdown although some types of crime reduced and some increased.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.