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Data to Go

  • 1:47 pm
  • How private

    Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing a 52% rise in young identity fraud victims in the UK.

    Data to Go is a short film which aims to raise awareness of this identity fraud. Filmed in a London coffee shop in March this year, the film uses hidden cameras to capture baffled reactions from people caught in a stunt where their personal data, all found on public websites, is revealed to them live on a coffee cup.
    More information about the campaign here:

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    by dave

Insurers Criticised for Not Pursuing Fraudsters in Ireland

  • 6:32 am
  • Former Irish High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns has criticised the State’s loss-making insurers for not seeking the prosecution of people found to have made fraudulent injury claims. When fraud is uncovered in civil cases, typically the claimant withdraws their claim without any further repercussions, he said, with insurers failing to make a complaint to the Garda, who could investigate and refer to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    Ireland’s insurance industry has been in a state of turmoil in recent years for a number of reasons. Motor claims have been rising as more cars take to the roads in a recovering economy. Court awards have been increasing. And insurers have been less able to rely on investment income to cushion the blow, as they grapple with record-low global bond yields.

    In an effort to return to profitability, insurers have hiked motor coverage rates by 35 per cent in the year to May, according to the Central Statistics Office, with house insurance rising by almost 10 per cent.

    The main reason for rising court costs, according to David Nolan, a senior barrister and mediator, was an increase in jurisdiction of various courts in 2014, when the maximum circuit court personal injuries award rose from €38,000 to €60,000.

    But there is some light at the end of the tunnel, according to Mr Nolan.

    The Court of Appeal, set up in 2014, has recently begun to slash some of the injury awards that have been granted by the lower courts. A €65,000 High Court award granted by Mr Justice Kevin Cross last year, where the claimant suffered “soft-tissue injuries”, was subsequently cut by more than half on appeal.

    This year, the Court of Appeal almost halved a €120,000 general damages award given by Mr Justice Anthony Barr to a woman who had sustained shoulder, hand and thumb injuries in a car crash. In March, it also cut by 50 per cent a combined €220,000 High Court personal injury award given to a couple who had sustained injuries when their car was hit by another vehicle.

    “At the moment, the messages are very, very strong,” said Mr Nolan. “Judges of the High Court are being told by the Court of Appeal: ‘Moderate your general damages in these cases.’”

    Courtesy of the Irish Times, June 17 2016.

    Full story at

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    by dave

Online Dating ABC

  • 2:36 pm
  • Dating

    A male victim of a fraud, Terry (not his real name of course) contacted us recently following a “meeting” from a dating site with Lady E  (let’s call  her that because it isn’t her real name and neither is the name she gave the victim).  In fact they never actually met, as all their ”meeting” was done online, via emails. After exchanging emails for all of two weeks and telling Terry she needed an honest man in her life who would be a good father to her daughter, they arranged to meet. Lady E could not make the arranged physical meeting because someone important in her life had been taken ill. She had to travel out of the country urgently to visit this person who the following day died leaving her over €1.5 million. Suspicious?  Maybe when she wanted to share the €1.5 million with a man she had never met and only had online contact with for a couple of weeks alarm bells should now be ringing. The rest is the same we have heard time and time again, Lady E needs money wired to her in order to pay for a lawyer, then she needs money to pay tax on the inheritance, then she needs money to bail her out of jail where she was being held on illegal charges.

    Terry having sent initial money, eventually got suspicious, thankfully. His losses were not dented as much as his ego and his pride.

    These fraudsters are clever using practised ways, in Terry’s words, that could be made into a movie. In fact his advice was that if Lady E and her friends are that clever thinking of this form of deception and orchestrating the next scene they should write a movie and make some honest money.

    Therein is a word of warning for all those using online dating. Money is replaceable the risk could have been so much worse.

    Therefore be safe

    A = Accept nothing as true

    B = Believe nothing as face value

    C = Check everything

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    by dave

Urgent Alert: Online Extortion Demand Affecting UK Businesses

  • 8:32 am
  • Issued by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)


    Within the past 24 hours a number of businesses throughout the UK have received extortion demands from a group
    calling themselves ‘Lizard Squad’.
    Method of Attack:
    The group have sent emails demanding payment of 5 Bitcoins, to be paid by a certain time and date. The email states
    that this demand will increase by 5 Bitcoins for each day that it goes unpaid.

    If their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a Denial of Service attack against the businesses’
    websites and networks, taking them offline until payment is made.

    The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.



    What to do if you’ve received one of these demands:

    • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool.
    • Do not pay the demand.
    • Retain the original emails (with headers).
    • Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact.

    If you are experiencing a DDoS right now you should:

    • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 immediately.
    • Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or hosting provider if you do not host your own Web server), tell them you are under attack and ask for help.
    • Keep a timeline of events and save server logs, web logs, email logs, any packet capture, network graphs, reports etc.

    Get Safe Online top tips for protecting your business from a DDoS:

    • Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of a DDoS attack, and put appropriate threat reduction/mitigation measures in place.
    • If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a DDoS prevention specialist.
    • Whether you are at risk of a DDoS attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits.



    The NFIB needs feedback from our readers to evaluate the quality of our products and to inform our priorities.
    Please would you complete the following NFIB feedback survey through: This should take you no more than 2 minutes to complete. If you have other feedback or additional information that you would prefer to provide by email please send to:
    [email protected].

    For the full Alert from the NFIB: ransom_demand_email_alert

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    by dave

What is Mandate Fraud? Spread the word…

  • 7:50 am
  • Whether you call it invoice fraud, mandate fraud or direct debit fraud it is a huge problem. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are being lost every month to this simple and easily preventable fraud.



    read more
    by Alex

20% of Cybercrime Victims Think They Were Specifically Targeted

  • 8:29 am
  • Get-Safe-Online-WeekAction Fraud is supporting Get Safe Online Week 2015 (19th to 24th October) which aims to educate, inform and raise awareness of online security issues to make sure individuals and small businesses use the internet safely and confidently.

    In a specially commissioned survey for Get Safe Online Week over one in five (21%) victims of a cybercrime believe they were specifically targeted by fraudsters and over a third (37%) had been left feeling vulnerable as a result. Only 38% of the victims believed that the incident was down to bad luck and over half (57%) think it’s becoming much easier to fall victim to an online crime.

    It’s always personal

    The Get Safe Online survey went on to show that over a quarter of victims (26%) had been scammed by phishing emails or ‘vishing’ phone calls. These are a much more targeted type of scam where the fraudster uses data about the victim pieced together from various sources such as social media and intercepted correspondence to sound convincing, and manipulates them into sharing confidential information linked to online accounts.

    Other areas where victims were targeted include:

    • Fake tax rebate emails (13%)
    • Phone/tablet/laptop hacking (9%)
    • Identity theft (5%)
    • Cyber bullying or harassment (4%)
    • Personal images stolen via webcam hacking (1%).

    The financial cost of a crime

    41% of people who have been a victim of a cybercrime lost money with the average person losing £738. Men, however, are likely to lose significantly more, with the average loss being £839 compared to £617 for women. Shockingly, 8% stated they had lost in excess of £5,000.
    [1] Survey of 2,000 people by OnePoll

    Separate figures, prepared by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for Get Safe Online Week, give an indication to the sheer scale of online crime, with over £268 million lost nationwide to the top ten internet‐enabled frauds reported between 1st September 2014 and 31st August 2015. The £268 million number comes from reports of fraud to Action Fraud, calculated when the first contact to victims was via an online function.

    However, as a significant number of internet‐enabled fraud cases still go unreported the true economic cost to the UK is likely to be significantly higher. According to the survey, almost one in five (19%) don’t bother reporting a cybercrime.

    Rising awareness of cyber crime

    The survey also indicates that the public are more aware of the risk of cybercrime; 30% of those surveyed think they know more about online safety now compared to a year ago and a further 21% say they know more than they did two years ago.

    High profile data breaches in the news have also made people more cautious about their behaviour online, with the majority (64%) of the public being more cautious about sharing their personal data with companies. However, women are much more cautious (69%) compared to just 60% of men. 23% claimed it was specifically the Carphone Warehouse breach, 22% said they were most worried following the rise in scams in the wake of the pension reforms earlier in the year, 18% cited the Apple iTunes email scam and 17% stated the Talk Talk,  and Ashley Madison data hacks respectively.

    What aren’t we doing to keep ourselves safe?

    Despite concerns about cybercrimes being front of mind, the survey indicates that people are still struggling with basic safety precautions. Almost two thirds (65%) claim they could do more to stay safe online. Almost a quarter (22%) aren’t conscious about using strong passwords, 13% still have public social media accounts and one in 10 don’t bother using security software on their connected devices.

    Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, comments: “As we spend more of our lives online, our digital footprints inevitably get bigger. Sadly, that means opportunist fraudsters will use information about us to make their scams more believable and difficult to detect. Being online offers so many great opportunities for everyone and we would never discourage anyone from enjoying and benefiting from them. However, we do urge people to take precautions so they don’t make themselves vulnerable to underhanded scammers.

    There are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves online, including putting a password on any of your connected devices such as your phone or tablet, using the highest security settings on your social media accounts and never disclosing your confidential details when you are contacted by an email or on the phone, a legitimate organisation would never ask you to do this.

    The results of our survey show that cybercrime is getting much more personal so this Get Safe Online week we’re calling for people to be aware of this and take the small steps to keep themselves safe. Don’t let the criminals win!”

    Cashing in online

    Acting Superintendent, Matt Bradford, Head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at the City of London Police said: “Fraudsters are cashing‐in online and are using the internet to commit crimes which they would never have been able to execute in previous decades.

    “As this type of offending continues to increase and the internet becomes a playground for criminals, it is important that members of the public do everything they can to stop themselves becoming a victim of fraud and cybercrime.

    “We urge everyone to think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves. Simple measures such as limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media platforms and the use of anti‐virus software can help to prevent online crime.

    The internet is an excellent place to shop, work and play, don’t let cyber criminals stop you from enjoying spending time online”.

    Who you need to speak to

    • If you think you have been a victim of cyber‐enabled economic fraud (i.e. where you have lost money) you should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by using the online reporting tool.
    • If you are a victim of online abuse or harassment, you should report it to your local police force.
    • For general advice on how to stay safe online go to

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    by dave

Pension Fraud

  • 6:52 am
  • With effect from April 6th this year, when you reach 55 and if you have been saving in a personal or company pension, you will have wider choices with what you do with the fund you have accrued. You will still be able to cash in the fund to buy an annuity giving you a guaranteed income for life, but now you will also be able to release as much of the fund as you wish … to spend on what you like.


    Like most financial products, pensions and annuities are regulated by law, including how they are advertised and sold. However, this does not stop scammers approaching you to put your money into fraudulent or otherwise unregulated/poorly managed annuities or investment schemes, with the result that you will lose some or all of the savings you were relying on for your retirement. There will also be less protection from pension companies in the way of your fund being frozen, if you have chosen to draw your money rather than transferring it between legitimate providers.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of fraudulent schemes in existence.

    Offers to help you cash in your pension before the age of 55 may not only be fraudulent, but could constitute an ‘unauthorised payment’ and cost you a considerable proportion of your fund in tax.

    The risks

    • Being given misleading information about cashing in your pension before you reach retirement age.
    • Tax charges and penalties of more than half the value of your pension savings.
    • High charges for entering into pension liberation arrangements … typically 20% – 30% of the accumulated fund.
    • Being duped with offers of up-front cash or free pension reviews to take advantage of offers or arrangements.
    • Your pension savings being invested in high risk funds or bogus investment schemes.

    How to spot if you are being targeted

    Be wary if the following occurs:

    • You see or receive offers for a ‘free pension review’
    • You receive unsolicited approaches over the phone, via email or text message or by a doorstep caller.
    • You receive unsolicited approaches about accessing your personal or company pension before you are 55 years old*.
    • You receive unsolicited approaches about investing the money released from your pension pot under the new rules.
    • You receive approaches claiming to be from the government offering retirement planning advice.
    • You are asked to provide your phone number and home address and/or personal financial information, when you are only enquiring about the products on offer.
    • You encounter pushy advisers or ‘introducers’ who offer upfront cash incentives or suggest legal loopholes.
    • You encounter companies that offer a ‘loan’, ‘saving advance’ or ‘cash back’ from your pension.
    • You are encouraged to speed up the transfer process, including the ‘provider’ using an express courier service for documents.
    • You are not informed about the possible tax consequences.
    • Documentation is withheld from you, either with or without an explanation.

    *Only in rare cases – such as terminal illness – is it possible to access funds before age 55 from your current pension scheme.

    Guard against pension fraud

    • Never divulge financial or personal information to a cold caller, or in response to an email or text.
    • Get as much information as you can about the company’s background – trying the internet first. Any financial advisers should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
    • Request a statement showing how your pension will be paid when you retire, and question who will look after your money until then.
    • Gain an unbiased view from an adviser that is not associated with the proposal you have received.
    • Never be rushed or harrassed into agreeing to a pension transfer or investment of the cash you have released .

    More Information

    For more information about pension fraud, read the Pensions Reglator’s advice as follows:

    If you have been cold called and suspect it was a scam:

    Report it to the Financial Conduct Authority using their online investment scams reporting form or by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

    If you have lost money to pension fraud:

    Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting

    Action Fraud Logo

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    by dave

Security Guard Fraud Exposed by BBC Undercover Researchers

  • 9:16 am
  • Thousands of licensed security guards could be working in the UK fraudulently after buying qualifications for cash, a BBC investigation has found.

    Jobseekers must sit mandatory exams to get a Security Industry Authority card.

    But undercover researchers found colleges happy to sit or forge exams for untrained students for a fee.

    With a fraudulently obtained SIA licence, a researcher got a job offer at a power station and an interview to guard Canary Wharf.

    Keith Vaz MP called it “a major scandal” and “one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in all the years I’ve chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee”.

    Industry insiders had told the BBC large numbers of colleges were willing to help students cheat security exams.

    One former SIA employee, speaking anonymously, said a high number of colleges were breaking the rules.

    He went on: “Thousands of people [are] working in the industry illegally, having obtained accreditation illegally.”

    The BBC sent an undercover reporter posing as a student to Ashley Commerce College, in Ilford, east London.

    The college offered to “fast track” the researcher to becoming a qualified bodyguard – which the SIA says should take 140 hours of training.

    What bodyguard training should look like: top firm Hawki practise extracting a client, firing blanks

    Asked whether it involved training, manager Haji Yunis said: “No, you only have to do the paperwork.”

    The researcher was introduced to security trainer Tony Bainbridge, who told him to turn off his phone before reading out answers to exams and instructing him to copy large sections of somebody else’s exam.

    A would-be bodyguard was present, having the answers dictated to him so he could be fraudulently licensed.

    Mr Bainbridge boasted: “You’re doing 14 days [training] in three hours.”

    Canary Wharf
    With a fraudulent licence a researcher got a job offer at a power station and an interview at Canary Wharf

    He ordered the pair to falsify the date of the exam – and even told the BBC researcher to write that he was “intermediate at martial arts”, despite it being made clear he had had no martial arts training.

    Mr Bainbridge is one of the UK’s most respected security trainers. He spent more than a decade in the Army, and three years as a contractor security training manager at Birmingham International Airport.

    ‘Changed man’

    Mr Yunis responded: “All your allegations are strenuously being denied, as ACC staff has [sic] never been engaged in malpractice.

    “All our students attend the courses, get trained by qualified trainers and take the exams.”

    Mr Bainbridge made no comment.

    The London School of Social Studies in East Ham also offered the corrupt service. An employee told the researcher: “We’re going to do your exam for you.”

    SIA card
    The BBC obtained an official SIA licence for an untrained researcher through a fraudulent process

    After being approached by the BBC, its manager admitted fraud had gone on and claimed he was now a “changed man” as a result of his company being exposed.

    Fraudulent use of SIA cards carries a maximum jail sentence of six months.

    To illustrate the sensitivity of jobs an SIA card enables a holder to do, the BBC set about applying for roles with the fraudulently obtained card.

    An offer of employment was made by a major power station – a vital part of the UK’s national infrastructure.

    The SIA card was sufficient to get the researcher vetted, with minimal background checks made.

    ‘Enormous concern’

    The researcher also passed an exam to guard Canary Wharf – a high profile potential terror target – and got an interview for a job.

    He made it on to both sites without being searched, or made to pass through a metal detector.

    Terrorism and security expert Crispin Black said both organisations would be “having kittens”.

    He said: “Canary Wharf has to be one of the grand targets – the fact even low level people would have access there is cause for enormous concern.

    “The regulatory system needs to be sharper and more vigorous. It looks very easy to produce bogus qualification.”

    Mr Vaz MP vowed to raise the issue with the home secretary at the next Home Affairs Select Committee.

    He said: “I’m horrified. We’re talking about a major scandal in Britain’s security industry.

    “The Home Office needs to act extremely urgently.”

    ‘Zero tolerance attitude’

    A spokesman for the SIA, which reports to the Home Office, said: “We take allegations of training malpractice seriously.

    “When the BBC shares the information it is holding on training malpractice, we will take immediate action against the licensed individuals concerned in order to protect public safety.”

    The certificates the BBC obtained during its investigation were issued by the examining board Industry Qualifications, which awards them based on exam papers and other information received by assessment centres.

    In a statement it said: “IQ welcomes the BBC investigation and will mount a full investigation into the conduct of the centres concerned, following the broadcast of the programme.

    “IQ takes a zero tolerance attitude towards malpractice, and will involve the police if fraud is evidenced and take appropriate civil action.

    “Our first concern will be to withdraw certification from candidates where doubts exist, and work with the affected students to undertake re-assessment quickly.”

    The BBC has destroyed the SIA card it obtained. Its researcher did not commence any work obtained with the licence.

    You can watch more on this on Inside Out London on BBC One on Monday, 23 March at 19:30 GMT, and nationwide on the iPlayer for 30 days thereafter.

    Additional reporting by Syed Fayaz.



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    by dave

Operation Broadway Goes Public to Stop Investment Fraud

  • 9:03 am
  • A London-wide clamp down on suspected investment frauds operating out of some of the Capital’s most iconic buildings in the heart of the UK’s main financial districts has taken place.

    City of London Police, City of London Trading Standards and Metropolitan Police have visited a number of office premises in the Square Mile, Canary Wharf and Westminster as part of a long-term, coordinated, intelligence-led drive to uncover suspected boiler rooms and inform the virtual and serviced office providers that are unknowingly providing criminals with prestige addresses from where to work and promote their scams.

    Last year (Oct 2013-Sep 2014) more than £1.73 billion was reported to Action Fraud that had been lost to fraudsters by 5252 investors across the UK, lured into handing over anything from a few pounds to several hundreds of thousands of pounds. The City of London Police, which is home to Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, has also used its expertise and access to millions of reports of fraud to calculate that each City-based boiler room is making, on average, almost £1.25 million.

    Investment fraud victims are duped with the promise of being able to make high percentage returns on investments when the reality their money is being used to cover the running costs of the boiler rooms and fund a life of excess and luxury for the criminals.

    ‘Operation Broadway’ has been set-up specifically to tackle this organised criminality and today (March 19) the multi-agency taskforce, which also included agents from the Financial Conduct Authority, the HMRC and Tri-Region Scambusters, went into a number of premises across London.

    Subsequent checks of company lists directed the teams to a number of serviced offices suspected of being involved in some sort of investment scam.

    Workers were warned of the consequences of being found to be a part of criminal operations that cold-call people across the UK with bogus investment opportunities in commodities such as art, wine, diamonds and precious metals.

    As the National Policing Lead for Fraud, the City of London Police has the advantage of being able to operate across agencies and jurisdictions to set-up and execute large scale operations like Operation Broadway, which is now an important component of the force’s overall strategy aimed at bringing organised crime to its knees.

    The ‘day of action’ also had uniformed City of London Police and Metropolitan Police officers joining staff from partner agencies in distributing thousands of flyers outside London transport hubs during morning rush hour and the lunchtime break.

    The leaflet campaign was focused on an appeal for office workers to be on the look-out for criminal groups who set up shop in their buildings and work around the clock attempting to pressurise people into handing over their savings and unwittingly become the latest victim of a crime that damages and destroys lives.

    Tell-tale signs of an office being used as a fully functioning boiler room include companies that make up front cash payments and choose short-term leases, conduct unusual hours of business and do not display their name in reception areas.

    Workers tend to be young, brash and unruly, use false names for themselves and the company they are supposed to be representing and spend lots of time reading from pre-prepared scripts.

    The serviced and virtual office sector have thousands of clients throughout the UK, providing facilities to legitimate businesses.  However, these facilities are also being exploited by investment fraudsters seeking prestige addresses for their boiler-room activity . This is when the virtual and serviced office sector run the risk of being criminal enablers.

    While seeking to disrupt boiler room activity Operation Broadway is also focusing on education, working with industry to stop the fraudsters before they gain access to the facilities they need to run their operations.

    City of London Police Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall, who is overseeing Operation Broadway, said:
    “Operation Broadway is a coordinated multi-agency partnership using intelligence to identify and target investment frauds in the making, before they properly get off the ground and really get their claws into people who are simply looking to put their money in a safe place where it will give them a decent rate of return.

    “To do this we are working closely with mail forwarding and serviced office providers, stressing the importance of them being fully aware of how their premises are being used and the need for them to act quickly if they have evidence that their office space has been turned into a base for a boiler room fraud.

    “At the same time we are also drawing in more and more intelligence from workers who are increasingly operating as our eyes and ears in London’s office blocks. We are finding this multi-faceted approach, also drawing on a combination of Police, Trading Standard, Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC powers, to be a powerful and effective way to tackle investment fraud and stop callous and ruthless criminals stealing and then blowing money that many of their victims had put aside to sustain them through retirement.

     DCI Andrew Gould of the MPS’ cyber crime and fraud team, FALCON, said:
    “Investment fraudsters are manipulative, persistent and convincing, so we’re working with our partners across London to raise awareness of these scammers. We are asking people at home to be wary of any unsolicited calls from people offering investment deals and people at work to be vigilant for any suspect activity in their office buildings.”

    City of London Corporation Public Protection Director, Jon Averns, who has responsibility for Trading Standards, said:

    “City of London Corporation Trading Standards is a key player in the clampdown on boiler room fraudsters, and the public can help us make sure we eradicate these abusive practices in the City. This day of action is raising public awareness so that we can all do our bit and report those that we think are involved in this miserable practice.

    “We’re creating a hostile environment for investment scammers who use City addresses to create an illusion of respectability that plays an important part in persuading people to part with their money. Consumers, who are often elderly and vulnerable, are actively targeted by these scammers, and persuaded to trust them and transfer very large sums – typically over £50,000 – in the hope of gaining a little more income from the savings. Our message is simple: don’t send your money to someone you don’t know, for a product you haven’t seen. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Georgina Philippou, Acting Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority, said:

    “Victims of financial scams often lose everything, with a ruinous effect on people’s lives. That is why it is so important that we work closely with the Police and other regulators to crackdown on scams. But we can’t act without intelligence: it is vital that everyone is on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of investment scams in order to protect themselves and to help us protect consumers. These scams are sometimes run from prestigious London addresses to give them an air of legitimacy.”

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    by dave

Fraudsters Looking to Utilise “Crowdfunding” to Scam People

  • 12:27 pm
  • The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) proactive intelligence team has become aware that fraudsters are looking to utilise “boiler rooms” to target a type of investment known as “Crowdfunding”.

    Crowdfunding is a legitimate way in which people and businesses (including start-ups) can try to raise money from the public, to support a business, project, campaign or individual. However rather than asking a few people to make a large investment, Crowdfunding uses the internet to contact thousands if not millions of people to invest in smaller amounts.

    The method will usually involve those sourcing the funding to set up websites and use modern social media techniques alongside traditional networking such as family and friends to reach out to investors.

    The NFIB’s proactive intelligence team has said that this type of investment is growing rapidly in popularity, and being primarily internet based, will be exploited by “boiler rooms” looking for new ways to target well meaning investors.

    There are 3 types of crowdfunding:

    • Donation or reward crowdfunding – People want to donate because they want to support the organisation or cause. Rewards can be offered such as free gifts or concert tickets but “donors” often expect nothing back.
    • Debt crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending – This enables investors to lend money to good causes whilst bypassing the banking system. Investors can expect their money to be returned with interest.
    • Equity crowdfunding – This is an investment in exchange for equity such as shares or a small stake in a business or project.

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers advice in relation to crowdfunding and they make it clear that whilst they do regulate peer to peer and equity based schemes, they consider them to be “high risk”. The FCA does not regulate any donation or reward crowdfunding. For more information about crowdfunding and the potential risks please see the information on FCA website.

    The NFIB’s proactive intelligence team spoke to convicted fraudster and they said: “Commission or charges of 80% for crowd funding and peer to peer will be the next biggest fraud boiler rooms will utilise as it’s difficult to regulate. Fraudsters are likely to return to the UK from the rooms abroad for crowd funding opportunities. This will be the next biggest scam for boiler rooms”.

    Protect yourself against investment fraud

    • If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. High returns can only be achieved with high risk.
    • If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up.
    • Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision.
    • Always check the credentials of the company you’re dealing with. Check for known fraudulent organisations at the FCA.




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    by dave