Category: The Authorities

Trading Standards Scam Marshalls

Trading Standards have a programme called Scam Marshalls for any UK resident who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams.

Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that they receive to the NTS Scams Team so that it can be used as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. This work by Scam Marshals plays a huge role in helping to stop the scam mail.

The Scam Marshals programme is to be expanded thanks to new funding from the Home Office as part of the government’s Loneliness Strategy.

National Trading Standards say that scams costing the UK economy between £5bn and £10bn each year and 53% of people aged 65 or over say they have been targeted by a scam, so the Scam Marshals scheme plays a key role in supporting those who have been scammed or defrauded.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said: “Loneliness can cause people to feel detached from their neighbours and neighbourhoods, which may increase their vulnerability to becoming victims of crime.

“I’m extremely pleased the Home Office can support National Trading Standards in expanding their ‘Scam Marshals’ scheme to improve the resilience of lonely or socially isolated older adults to fraud, scams and financial abuse.”

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Online Crime £190,000 Per Day

More than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cyber-crime, according to police statistics.

Action Fraud is the reporting centre for people scammed, defrauded or who experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and they say that £34.6m was reported to be stolen from victims in 6 months in 2018, a 24% increase on the previous six months.

The figures show 13,357 people in the UK reported cyber crimes over six months and more than 5,000 of those people were hacked via their social media and email accounts.

Commander Karen Baxter said cyber criminals were targeting people’s social media accounts “in a bid to make money and steal personal details”.

“Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information and never call numbers or follow links provided in unsolicited texts or emails,” she said.

Action Fraud reported a current TV licence email scam which has led to more than 5,000 complaints over a three-month period.

Emails with headlines such as “correct your licensing information” contain links to a fake TV licensing website where customers payment details, including their account number, sort code, and card verification value (CVV) code are stolen for the criminals use.

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

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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  for further information.

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Increase in Scam Activity

All categories of scams have been increasing recently.

This may be due to better reporting but is also likely to be caused by increased scammer activity.

Category of Scam

2019 (first half)

% Increase

Impersonation £35 M 6%
Fake Bills £ 21 M 45%
Investments £43 M 108%
Invoices £56 m 7%
Fake Purchases £28 M 43%
Advance Fees £8 M 38%
Cheque Fraud £29 M 789%
Romance Scams £8 M 50%
Mobile Banking Fraud £5 M 33%
Telephone Banking Fraud £12 M 2%


Statistics are from UK Finance for the first half of 2019 compared to first hale of 2018.

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

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British Police Shut Indian Scam Centres

The British Police service in cooperation with Indian police, have shut down two sophisticated criminal call  centres in Kolkata, known to have defrauded many thousands of victims in the UK and elsewhere.

The call centres were raided by 50 officers from the Cyber Division of Kolkata Police as part of a worldwide four-year operation conducted by the UK police and Microsoft.

Seven arrests were made and the two fraudulent call centres were put out of business.

“These raids and arrests mark the successful culmination of a four-year operation. Working with Indian authorities and Microsoft, we have stopped a number of criminal call centres from preying on UK citizens,” said Commander Karen Baxter of the City of London Police.

In the 12 months to April 2019, City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau received over 23,500 complaints of this form of fraud, with reported losses of more than 9 million pounds.

The scam involved call centre staff pretending to be from Microsoft and either charging the victims around £200 to fix non existent problems or introducing viruses onto the victim’s computers with the intention of stealing more money.

Hugh Milward, Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Microsoft UK, said: “This sort of deception will not go away and effective public/private partnerships are essential if we are to combat sophisticated cyber criminals who operate on a global scale. We are working with law enforcement, here in the UK and internationally, to tackle these crimes and these arrests are a great result for people who have been targeted by or fallen victim to these fraudsters”.

Always beware cold callers and remember that Microsoft, Virgin Broadband, BT and similar companies do phone anyone to tell them their computer has problems or is dangerous.

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

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European Law Strong Authentication

In September 2019, the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), specifically the requirement for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for remote payments came into effect.

These requirements will impact the way consumers in Europe access their Internet banking applications, pay for e-commerce purchases, and use new financial services provided through Open Banking.

The starting point for any financial transaction must be to establish the identity of the parties involved. In person, a valid ID card may be sufficient  and digitally, using a login and password is usually enough.

However, when interactions are happening remotely through multiple channels and multiple partners, there is often a need to use multiple factors of authentication e.g. a login and password plus a pin number.


PSD2 is increasing the security level for authentication to financial services across the whole of Europe, and is harmonizing the strength of authentication processes for financial applications. Because of PSD2, financial institutions have been phasing out weak authentication methods.

PSD2 ensures that advanced authentication concepts, such as dynamic linking, device binding for mobile apps, mobile application shielding and transaction risk analysis become standard security tools in financial services.

PSD2 is also accelerating the adoption of adaptive authentication methods, which adjust the way in which the user is authenticated to the risk of what the user wants to do.

Deadline for banks to implement SCA for Internet banking: 14 September 2019, except in the UK where the deadline is set as 14 March 2020

Deadline for banks to offer Open Banking interfaces: 14 September 2019

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