Category: The Authorities

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

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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The Scam Disruption Project

The Australian Scam Awareness Network ran the scam disruption project for several years. It involved working with state and territory police and consumer affairs agencies to alert at-risk individuals to the possibility of being a victim of fraud and it was terminated in 2017.

They say that you might be dealing with a scammer if:

  • you’ve never met or seen the person: scammers will say anything to avoid a ‘face-to-face’ meeting, whether it be in person or over the internet via a video chat (e.g. their camera isn’t working)
  • they’re not who they appear to be: scammers steal photos and profiles from real people to create an appealing façade – always run a Google Image search to help determine if they are a scammer
  • you don’t know a lot about them: scammers are keen to get to know you as much as possible, but are often less forthcoming about themselves
  • they ask you for money: once the connection’s been made – be it as a friend, admirer, or business partner – scammers will eventually ask you to transfer money – often waiting weeks or months before doing so
  • they ask to chat with you privately: many online dating sites have systems in place to detect scammers so scammers will try and move the conversation away from the scrutiny of community platforms to a one-on-one interaction such as email or phone.

How to Spot a Fake Profile

When looking at a new dating profile, note anything unusual about their choice of:

  • photo
  • location
  • interests
  • language skills matched to background

Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online, so run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided.

How to Spot False Documents

Documents are easily faked. Some will look just like the real thing, but others might have warning signs, such as:

  • generic rather than personal greeting
  • names of organisations that don’t exist
  • poor quality presentation
  • poor quality grammar and spelling
  • overly official or forced language.

If you have any experiences with such scammers do let me know, by email.

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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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