Category: The Authorities

Scams Awareness Network

www.scamwatch.gov.au/about-scamwatch/scams-awareness-network

The Scams Awareness Network (SAN), is made up of government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand that work alongside private sector, community and non-government partners to raise awareness about scams and disrupt them.

The core purpose of the SAN is for members to regularly share information about scams and to deliver a coordinated awareness campaign for consumers, including the Scams Awareness Week in August each year.

Members and partners of the SAN include government departments, national agencies, state and territory agencies, charities, the Police, banks, technology companies, small business and many more.

Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.

Targeting Scams Report

The ACCC produces Targeting Scams: Report On Scam Activity each year. The report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community. It also illustrates the collaborative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.

Criminal Offences

Some scams may also be criminal offences when someone who commits fraud has acted dishonestly or by omission to deliberately deceive someone. Fraud is regulated under various acts, including state and territory criminal legislation and under Australia’s common law.

Where an actual crime has been committed, it’s best to contact the local police, or report it to ReportCyber if the crime has taken place online. ReportCyber helps law enforcement to better combat the growing threat of cybercrime in Australia. Common types of cybercrime include hacking, scams, fraud, identity theft, attacks on computer systems and illegal or prohibited content.

A consumer may be able to bring a private action in the Federal Court or in a state or territory Supreme Court. If the action is successful, the remedies sought could include damages, injunctions and other orders.

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Fraud Hotspots

Analysis of types of fraud by county shows marked differences across the UK.

Based on reports to Action Fraud over the past two years, London is the capital of online shopping and auction fraud, with 17 reports per 10,000 people, compared with a national average of 13.

It also has the highest reported rate for ticket fraud and investment scams.

Norfolk, had the highest reported rate for computer fixing fraud. 15.8 reports were recorded per 10,000 people in the past two years, well above the national average of 5.9.

Residents of Sussex made the most reports of dating scams.

The most common fraud types are shown in the table below with the county recording the highest number of incidents.

 

Fraud type Police force Number of reports per 10,000 people National average reports per 10,000 people
Retail/consumer fraud Essex 12.7 11.3
Cheque, plastic card and online bank fraud Essex 12.2 5.4
Hacking: social media and email Hertfordshire 3.5 2.5
Online shopping and auctions London (Metropolitan) 17 13
Ticket fraud London (Metropolitan) 4.5 2.2
Investment fraud London (Metropolitan) 1.9 1.3
Computer fixing fraud Norfolk 10.3 5.9
Fake loan fraud Northamptonshire 1.8 1.2
Mandate fraud Surrey 3.3 2
Computer virus attacks Surrey 2.5 1.9
Bogus tradespeople Surrey 3.2 1.8
Dating scams Sussex 1.9 1.1
Advance fee fraud Warwickshire 15.8 11.9

Source: Which? analysis of Action Fraud data between 2017-18 and 2018-19

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Canadian Anti Scam Centre

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on mass marketing fraud (e.g. telemarketing), advance fee fraud, Internet fraud, identification theft complaints and similar matters.

The website is www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca  and contains information on frauds, advice on how to protect yourself against fraud and how to report scams.

In Canada, there has recently been :

  • A marked increase in the amount of mail with too-good-to-be-true offers
  • Frequent calls offering get-rich-quick schemes or valuable awards
  • Numerous calls for donations to fake charities
  • Many people finding their banking records show cheques or withdrawals made to unknown companies

CAFC advice that if you suspect that someone you know has fallen prey to a deceptive telemarketer, don’t criticize them for being naïve. Encourage that person to share their concerns with you about unsolicited calls or any new business or charitable dealings. Assure them that it is not rude to hang up on suspicious calls. Keep in mind that criminal telemarketers are relentless in hounding people – some victims report receiving 5 or more calls a day, wearing down their resistance.

The Vision of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

  • Be innovative in its efforts to disrupt frauds and scams through coordination with its partners.
  • Be an international Centre of Excellence providing the most comprehensive data available in Canada with regard to fraud related resource material, scam types, statistics, trends, and demographics, as well as the size, scope and impact of fraud.
  • Work closely and cooperatively with its numerous partners in a combined effort to proactively identify emerging scams, trends, threats, and criminal organizations operating in Canada across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Provide the highest possible quality service through technology in partnership with law enforcement, government agencies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, and the private sector.
  • Provide valuable, timely and compassionate assistance to victims of fraud.

Stay safe online.

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

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Citizens Advice Scams Action Service

In 2018, Martin Lewis took legal action against Facebook for publishing scam adverts that used his image. A settlement was agreed which included funding a new Citizens Advice Scams Action service.

The service is intended to help support people who have been – or who might be impacted directly – by online scams.

It is to provide help for people through telephone, chat and website content and there can be face-to-face support for those who need it.

The Citizens Advice Scams Action can be contacted by phone on 0300 330 3003 or through the citizens advice website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

Action

Once they got all the information needed, Citizens Advice will pass this to Trading Standards as they don’t investigate scams themselves.

Trading Standards gathers information about scams so they can take legal action against scammers and involve the Police where relevant.

This is a step forward in the battle against scammers.

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

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Big Increases in Identity Fraud

Identity theft is when someone collects enough information about you to pretend to be you in order to access your bank account, use your credit card details, open accounts in your name, take out loans in your name, block your access to your own accounts etc.

This is a very destructive form of fraud as it can be very difficult for the victim to prove it wasn’t them taking out the money and to get their identity back, including access to the various accounts.

UK Government statistics show almost 190,000 cases of identity fraud in a 12 month period with CIFAS (the fraud prevention service) recording increases of 8% per year.

The figures also show that levels for older people are rising faster, suggesting they are being targeted for this type of fraud.

Most people do not realise they have been a victim of identity fraud until bills start arriving and demands for repayment for loans they didn’t request.

To avoid becoming such a victim, you need to make sure you keep personal information to yourself – starting with setting social media network privacy levels to high, use strong passwords and never reveal passwords to anyone in emails or by phone.

Always be cautious of emails or websites or text messages offering anything too good to be true.

Stay safe.

If you have any experiences with identity theft, do let me know, by email.