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March 2010 - Surelock
Global Investigators & Security Consultants
0333 6000 300

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Don’t Put Up With Counterfeits!

  • March 29, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • Surelock is one of the premier investigative companies in the UK specialising in intellectual property rights investigations and trade mark infringements worldwide

    LET US TAKE YOUR COUNTERFEITS OFF THE STREET

    • During 2008 we seized approximately £12,400,000 million worth of counterfeit clothing and merchandise jointly on behalf of our clients, we carried out a number of pro-active operations, involving observations and surveillance and as a result of which we raided 15 x retail outlets; 11 x wholesalers / internet warehouses; 25 x markets; conducted 17 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK, and German Customs authorities, 10 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK Police Forces and 136 x authentication examinations on behalf of various trading standards authorities all over UK.
    • 2009 was our most successful year yet, we seized approximately £15,000,000 million worth of counterfeit clothing and merchandise jointly on behalf of our clients nationwide, we have continued to cultivate a number of good quality informants at the heart of these criminal activities whose accurate information has assisted us and the authorities to bring about these results, we have in actual fact been commended by the authorities on a number of occasions for this accurate intelligence. We have carried out a number of pro-active operations, involving observations and surveillance and as a result of which we raided 33 x retail outlets; 14 x wholesalers / internet warehouses; 41 x markets; conducted 55 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK, and European Customs authorities, 15 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK Police Forces and 155 x authentication examinations on behalf of various trading standards authorities all over UK.

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    by Ron

Police to Crackdown on Fake 2012 Olympics Tickets

  • 3 comments
  • Police in London will set up specialist teams to investigate counterfeit tickets and other fraud attempts at the 2012 Olympics but, according to Which? Computing, online scammers have already turned their interests toward selling ‘fake’ tickets to the event on the web.

    Tickets for the London Games go on sale next year but police are already monitoring e-tickets and internet domain names they suspect have been registered to sell fake tickets.  The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is also putting together a dedicated team to deal with crime surrounding the Olympics.

    An increasing number of domain names are being purchased from UK ISP addresses that bear reference to the Olympics. It’s not difficult to obtain one; it’s a case of registering with a hosting company, checking the availability of your desired site name, and registering the domain! Which? Computing proved just how easy it is, by registering their own Olympic referenced site.

    Although the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), are trying their best to highlight this problem, Which? Computing say that more needs to be done in order to wipe the web clear of fraudsters, once and for all.

    The editor of Which? Computing, Sarah Kidner mentioned that several sites on the web already promise tickets for events that simply don’t exist.  Rules and regulations have to be enforced, to make sure that scammers get wiped out.

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    by Ron

Massive Seizure of Counterfeit Goods at Bovingdon Market

  • March 21, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • A joint operation between Hertfordshire Trading Standards and Hertfordshire Constabulary at Bovingdon Market led to what is believed to be the biggest ever seizure of counterfeit goods in the county.

    The seizure of clothes, shoes and CDs was made from 11 stalls on Saturday (March 6). The fake brands being sold included High Street names such as Nike, Adidas, D&G, Fred Perry, DKNY, Ecko, Ed Hardy, Christian Audigier, True Religion, Ugg, Armani, Gucci, Dior, Levis, Moschino, and Prada. The items are still being counted, so the street value of the haul has yet to be estimated.

    Stallholders will now be interviewed and face prosecution. Offenders face unlimited fines or up to 10 years in prison.

    The seizure follows a similar operation in November, when more than 5,500 counterfeit CDs and DVDs were seized from three stalls at the market.

    Keith Emsall, Executive Member for Community Safety and Culture, said: “Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service see tackling intellectual property crime as a priority. Not only do consumers get ripped off, it also hurts legitimate local businesses – many of whom are already struggling in the current economic climate.

    “It’s extremely disappointing that Bovingdon Market continues to be a source of illegal goods. We will continue to work with our partners to tackle the problems at the market and would like to thank the police for their assistance on Saturday.”

    Sgt Tessa Barrow, of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Hemel Neighbourhood team, said: “This was a tremendous effort between ourselves and trading standards to tackle the sale of counterfeit goods at Bovingdon market. Operations like this are conducted to protect the public and I would urge anyone who may have any suspicions about the sale of counterfeit goods to contact police on 0845 33 00 222, or alternatively Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.”

    Members of the public can also report sales of counterfeit goods to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506. Hertfordshire businesses needing advice should contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards’ business advice line on 01727 813849.

    Surelock operatives worked closely with Hertfordshire Trading Standards gathering intelligence that identified the worst stalls and stall holders who were targeted on the day.

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    by Ron

Getting Home Safely- Don’t be a Victim

  • March 18, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • In London alone, recent statistics show that 11 women are attacked each month after taking an unlicensed minicab.  80% of stranger rapes are committed by unlicensed cab drivers.

    Always look for the cab licence number, phone number printed on the side, and discs in the front and back windows to see if it the minicab that you ordered. If you didn’t order one, don’t get in it; even if it is a licensed minicab. They should not be touting for business off the street.

    Taxi Safety Tips Always used a licensed taxi.

    Plan ahead. When going out, make sure you know how you are going to get back home and who you are going home with. It is better to plan your transport options while you are still sober and have your wits about you. Finding yourself alone miles from home at 2:30 in the morning is a situation you want to avoid.

    Book in advance.

    Pre-booking a taxi will avoid last-minute desperate decisions. Book with a known firm that someone you know uses regularly. Try and find a service that uses text or call-back to let you know when the taxi is arriving.

    Keep taxi numbers handy. Keep about three numbers stored in your mobile and keep a separate copy elsewhere in case you lose your phone. If you are out at a venue and do not have any numbers, ask a member of staff to recommend a licensed firm. Do not accept lifts from strangers.

    Be discreet. Try not to let strangers overhear you order a cab. If they overhear your details they could pretend to be the taxi you ordered.

    Find out the price. Get a quote for the cab fair over the phone so that you can set aside enough money. Private hire minicabs are not required to have meters and there are no price limits, so always confirm the price again before getting in.

    Get vehicle details. When booking, ask if they can tell you the colour and make of car as well as the cab driver’s name.

    Let someone know. If you are travelling to meet a friend, let them know the name of the company, where you are being picked up from and what time you expect to get there.

    Make sure it’s your cab. When they arrive, ask them to confirm the booking details. Ask who it is for; don’t say “is this the cab for ____?” Check their ID to make sure it’s from the company you ordered. If you feel unsure about a driver, just don’t get in.

    Sit in the back. Choose the seat behind the driver as this puts you the furthest out of reach. If a group of you are taking the taxi, ensure that the last person who will get out sits there. Keep your belongings about your person.

    Mind your mouth. If you chat to the driver, don’t reveal any personal information. Just stick to general topics.

    Use your mobile. If you feel nervous, phone a friend (or pretend to). This will make it less likely for anything to occur. If you are seriously concerned, phone the police immediately.

    When you have arrived, ask the driver to wait until you are indoors. They should be happy to do this so that you use their service more often.

    Acknowledgement: http://www.taxiregister.com/unlicensed.php

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    by Ron

Garden Security

  • March 16, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • It is important that the security of your garden is considered together with that of your home.  Effective security measures will not only protect your possessions in outbuildings and the garden itself but will also help to deter an attack on the house.  The risk is all the greater because in many households both partners are working and so the house is often left unoccupied during the day.  It is also not uncommon for delivery drivers to leave parcels around the back if they obtain no answer at the door and so a stranger seen walking around on the premises would not necessarily appear suspicious.

    Many sheds and garages are left unlocked even though they may contain garden equipment worth many hundreds of pounds.  In addition, tools are likely to be stored inside which would assist thieves.  Good quality mortise locks or short shackle padlocks on hasps and shackles should be used to secure exterior doors on outbuildings using coach bolts or standard fixings whose heads have been damaged to deter tampering.  Windows should be protected with strong welded mesh grilles or bars.

    Ensure that the boundary of the property is in a good state and repair any damage speedily.  Keep gates locked and if the catch or bolt can be accessed from the insecure side then it should be padlocked to prevent unauthorised access.  It should be noted that a well-established thorny hedge is an excellent deterrent to entry.

    Install lighting but ensure that the lights will not be a nuisance to neighbours.  Lights can either be manually switched or automatically activated by a PIR detector that detects motion or by a sensor that detects the onset of darkness.

    Minimise areas where intruders could hide by pruning foliage and trimming hedges.  Any remaining areas which would provide cover should be well lit.

    Secure garden ornaments wherever possible or store these securely away in winter time.  Valuable ornaments, garden furniture and equipment should be security marked with your postcode.

    CCTV cameras and intruder alarms are more affordable nowadays and should be considered.  Live video and in many cases audio footage can be displayed on a television and recorded in the same way as a TV programme with infra red illuminators available that will ensure good monochrome images of unlit areas of the garden within typically 10m of cameras.  Intruder alarms can either be standalone with a local sounder or interfaced to an existing system in the house.  Wireless alarm and CCTV systems are also available that simplify their installation although they will be more expensive than hard-wired systems.

    Finally ensure that your household insurance policy covers garden and outbuilding theft.

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    by Ron

UK Online Banking Fraud Losses Up in 2009

  • March 11, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • On 10th March 2010 the UK Cards Association released its figures on card and banking fraud in 2009. And there is some good news and some bad news for Britons.

    The summary results are:

    • Fraud on debit and credit cards fell by more than a quarter in 2009 to about $658 million.
    • Counterfeit card fraud (skimming and cloning) fell by over a half.
    • Online banking fraud losses rose by 14% to $89 million.
    • Check fraud fell 29% from $62.6 million to $44.5 million.

    The UK Cards Association says that the debit and credit card fraud fell as a result of improved card security technology, more sophisticated fraud detection by banks and retailers, and the work of DCPU-the banking-sponsored special police unit.

    And the increase in online banking fraud losses is being blamed largely on criminals attacking online banking customers’ computer systems with more sophisticated techniques and malware, rather than targeting banks’ networks.

    More information is available on: http://www.theukcardsassociation.org.uk/plastic_fraud_figures/index.asp

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    by Ron

“Griff” the Gargoyle Targets Church Thieves

  • March 8, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • Gargoyles are the traditional guardians of the building on which they are placed and it is hoped the unusual image will be a powerful reminder to thieves that they are being watched by unseen eyes.  A campaign called “Church Watch” that was launched at Manchester Cathedral following a theft of lead in August 2008 uses “Griff” to spread the word about proactively protecting church buildings.  The campaign, organised by the Manchester Diocese of the Church of England, uses a three step approach to combat theft;-

    PREVENT: Use Smartwater to mark roof lead and other valuable metals.  To stop future  insurance claims possibly being reduced by 50% you should  register your use of SmartWater and if any building work involves scaffolding with your insurance company.

    Remove items that aid climbing or lead removal such as wheelie bins and ladders. Lock gates and prevent access to cars and vans. Cut hedges and trees (check if planning permission is needed). Use anti climb paint on down spouts and lightning conductors (consult your architect).

    Consider CCTV and/or installing an intruder alarm system.

    WATCH: There are two aspects to this ‘Watch’ section; 1. Church Watch, and 2.Diocesan Metal Theft Alerts. Get these elements right and you could well catch the thieves or deter them.  Details are on the website, whose link is provided below.

    REPORT: If you suffer lead theft then it is important that you report the crime and evaluate your prevention and watching helpers. The DAC will advise on a suitable replacement material which will be less attractive to thieves. English Heritage and the Chancellor are working together to provide effective planning exemptions.

    Full information is available on http://www.beatmetaltheft.org

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    by Ron

Protect Yourself Against Car Theft

  • March 4, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • Although vehicle crime has dropped by more than 66% since it peaked in 1995 there were still nearly 1.5 million vehicle-related thefts recorded in 2007-08.  During this period, car-related crimes accounted for 13% of all recorded crime in England and Wales but on a happier note having security equipment on your car – especially an immobiliser – makes your vehicle more than ten times safer than a car with no security equipment.

    With knowledge about how thieves steal cars you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.  Listed below are ten methods used by criminals to break into vehicles and ways in which you can deter such attacks.  No specific details have been divulged to help thieves.

    1. Bump against the car to check for a car alarm. The frequency of false alarms has meant that people have been conditioned to ignore them. Instead of a motion-sensitive car alarm, use one that has a pager that will notify you as soon as your alarm is activated. You should only buy security devices or services that are approved by either Thatcham or by Sold Secure .

    2. Break the window or jemmy the lock to gain entry into a locked car. Don’t tempt car thieves. Keep valuables out of sight by storing them in the boot or better still take them with you.

    3. Look for car alarm decals to figure out which method to use to eliminate the alarm. Never display stickers that advertise what sort of car alarm you have, or audio system for that matter.

    4. Jump into an unattended running car while the owner is at the ATM, dropping off videos, etc. Never leave your keys in the ignition even for a quick errand. Car theft is a crime of opportunity, so don’t make it easy for them to grab yours.

    5. Look for the car’s registration document or anything with a home address on it. Keep your registration and insurance information with you and never leave personal information in your car.

    6. Get the car keys from the house. When you go to bed, make sure your car keys are not on view or within range of letter box openings or cat flaps.  Thieves have been known to use fishing rods to pick up keys left many feet away.

    7. Stake out sporting fixtures, cinemas and shopping centre car parks for the car of your choice since they offer the largest variety of cars in one area. When parking outside, always try and park your car in an attended car park. Try to look for a public car park which is part of the police approved Park Mark-Safer Parking Scheme and displays the Park Mark® brand. . Don’t park in the farthest corner of the car park but rather near the entrance to ensure the most foot traffic (and the most potential witnesses).

    8. Find the second set of keys the owner “hid” in the car. Don’t leave spare keys in your car or in a magnetic box attached to the underside of your car. Thieves know where all the “hiding places” are.

    9. Let’s have those wheels off. Secure your wheels using locking wheel nuts.  These are cheap, easy to fit and stop thieves from taking your wheels.

    10. It will never be traced.  Have your vehicle registration number or the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all windows, both windscreens and your headlamps.

    Even though car theft is a crime of opportunity, if a crook really wants your car, he’ll do whatever it takes to get it regardless of steering wheel locks or car alarms. But with the above knowledge, you can slow him down, make your car inconvenient to him and, hopefully, discourage him from attempting to steal your vehicle. Layering your car with anti-theft protection, especially if it’s at the top of the most stolen vehicles list, is a good start. But, as with anything that is of value to you, the most important protection you can give your car is to take a proactive approach to security when you leave it unattended.

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    by Ron

Protecting Your Property by Security Marking

  • March 1, 2010
  • 3 comments
  • Property marking is an internationally accepted means of rendering your property identifiable both to yourself and the police. In the United Kingdom this is effected by using the postcode of the premises to which the property belongs, together with the name or part of the name.

    We recommend that every item of value (where practicable) is marked to ensure that it can be returned to you if recovered after being stolen.

    It is also useful to place small notices in the building to the effect that all your property is marked. Casual visitors may not notice these but the potential criminal will. Property marking is a quick, do-it-yourself task, costing very little. The following methods may be used:-

    Ultraviolet Marking Pens

    This is an ultraviolet, fibre-tip pen, obtainable from most large stationers. The mark is invisible until viewed under an ultraviolet lamp. It is advisable to mark on the most porous area where it is likely to be handled least and also where it is least likely to be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight has the effect of causing such marks to fade after a period of about eighteen months. Therefore, it is advisable to re-mark property after this period.

    The advantage of this type of marking is that the criminal is unable to see it himself and thereby will not take steps to remove it. It also does not affect any resale value and for this reason is suitable for electrical goods and other items you may wish to sell. The disadvantage is that it is not visible, which limits the deterrent effect. The thief knows he will have no problems in selling it on to innocent purchasers.

    Engraving

    Marks can be engraved by use of a diamond-tipped pen, other sharp pointed tools or by an electric engraver. A stencil is often used to ensure neatness when the mark can only be placed in an obvious position. Stencils also allow relatively small lettering, which is not always the case with freehand. Any metal or plastic items can be marked and the value is not affected if done by someone trained in this technique, such as a jeweller. Glassware can also be engraved but you are advised to consult a professional in this case.

    Ceramic Markers

    “Ceramic” or “titanium” pens can be obtained from specialist stores and are effective on ceramic surfaces. Marks have the appearance of faint pencil marks and are impossible to remove without damaging the ceramic surface.

    Branding

    Branding is a method of marking which may be good for wooden items.

    DNA / Forensic Coding Systems

    SelectaDNA

    SelectaDNA offers businesses a highly effective way to protect both their valuable contents and the building itself. SelectaDNA acts as a superb theft deterrent, as criminals know that it links them to crimes they commit and by erecting warning signs, your business immediately becomes a hard target.

    SelectaDNA Forensic Property Marking kits are ideal to mark valuable equipment, both quickly and safely – the water-based adhesive dries clear so will not damage or deface any item. The solution contains a UV Tracer and unique synthetic DNA code. This means that every item you mark will have your unique Forensic Code on, and allow Police to trace the item back to you through forensic analysis should the item be stolen.

    SelectaDNA is a Police Preferred Product, and it is sold by Selectamark Security Systems plc – a family-owned business and experts in crime prevention products since 1985.

    For more information visit http://www.selectaDNA.co.uk

    Smartwater

    Smartwater is one of the leading forensic coding system with a proven track record of reducing crime. It carries a unique forensic signature more robust than DNA and proves the ownership of any item, linking the criminal with the crime scene to enable prosecution and a conviction. Smartwater is used by 95% of UK police forces who are actively searching for it, for example at scrap metal dealers, and as such is the one of the most powerful deterrents available. A long term nationwide publicity campaign means that criminals know about Smartwater, they know that the police are looking for it and they fear the fact that it can be used to convict them. Smartwater can be applied to interior and exterior metals, along with any other valuables. When subjected to ultraviolet light its presence is immediately obvious by a tell-tale fluorescent glow. The smallest amount is enough for forensic scientists to verify the registered owner.

    For more information visit http://www.smartwater.com

    Red Web

    Red Web is a dye that contains a unique biosynthetic DNA that is registered to the customer. It is painted on surfaces that, when touched by thieves, marks them with a highly visible red dye. It also contains an ultra-violet element that becomes stronger as the dye fades and washes out. The unique registered element that becomes stronger as the dye fades and washes out. The unique registered DNA in each system used in the crime is matched through analysis to provide solid evidence and gain a conviction. Red Web is available as a gel, grease and spray.

    For more information visit http://www.redwebsecurity.com

    Acknowledgement: Congregational & General Insurance plc.

    For more information visit http://www.congregational.co.uk

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    by Ron