One particularly sick kind of fraud is when someone tries to swindle those who are grieving and this was the case in the United States in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre which saw 20 schoolchildren and six teachers lose their lives.
Nouel Alba has been accused of trying to defraud donors by posing as a relative of one of the children killed in the attack. She was said to have made up false stories of trying to raise money for the funeral of her nephew who was killed at the school. It has since emerged that she has also been accused of trying to profit from those wanting to give money to those affected by Superstorm Sandy.
In text messages, Alba claimed to have hugged President Obama during his visit to Sandy Hook and said she was afraid to see her nephew in his casket with 11 gun shots “in his little body”. She faces a maximum jail term of five years and a fine of up to $250.
With the web expected to account for up to one in 10 of all UK retail transactions in the run up to Christmas, it is timely to warn that e-crime is also likely to increase, with it already costing the sector £204.5m in the last year alone. Link
Recent analysis shows that 62% of firms have admitted losing an average of £1.2m on fraudulent customer-not-present transactions in the last 12 months. The trick is to balance up the tasks of making it much harder for would-be-fraudsters to operate effectively while at the same time creating a good shopping experience for the consumer.
How can retailers balance this up, what anti-fraud measures are less intrusive and cause fewer problems for the law abiding consumer? Let me know your views.
The boss of an accident claims firm has been sent to jail for his part in a scam which saw a team of drivers stage accidents. Have you ever been a victim of this? Link
Asif Mallu was jailed for 21 months after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud. The offences related to his time running the claims management company 24/7 Direct Claims, which made inflated compensation claims after their drivers had caused accidents by slamming on the brakes suddenly at roundabouts so that the driver behind would have no chance of avoiding a collision.
The “cowboy” drivers then sued the innocent motorists for damages and injuries for an average of about £17,000 a time.
The evidence suggests there is a fair chance you have with 34% in Britain having been hit by debit, credit or prepaid card fraud, making it the worst affected country in the whole of Europe. Link
The poll comes from ACI Worldwide which questioned 5,200 consumers in 17 countries and found that, though chip and pin had undoubtedly helped in deterring fraud, those responsible were now turning to other methods, such as mail interception, to carry out their criminal activities.
It also warned that skimming devices and cameras to steal data at cash machines were also still too common throughout the country. Have you been affected and are fraudsters now more sophisticated and organised than before? Let me know your experiences and your views.
Online banking fraud is said to have risen by a quarter in the first half of this year with people at risk, on their computers but also on their doorstep. Link
A total of £21.6m went out of UK bank accounts fraudulently and the rise corresponds with a similar increase in the number of phishing sites there are, namely sites which are designed to look like the official web pages of banks and building societies. Such sites were up an incredible 199% on the same period last year.
The figures come from the UK Cards Association, which says that since chip and pin was introduced, criminals have taken to new methods to try and get their hands on other people’s money. With fraudsters becoming more devious to try and get people to part with their money, what more can be done to try and stop them?
The Olympics may sadly be over but possible offences surrounding it go on. In one, a man has been charged with fraud due to the sale of Olympic tickets.
Christakis Ioannou was arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Podium, which deals specifically with ticket fraud and touting relating to the Olympics and Paralympics. It came about as a consequence of a corporate hospitality package. He also faces charges of money laundering and the illegal sale of Olympic tickets.
The Operation Podium team has, as of June 14, arrested 186 people on offences concerning the Games, the highest profile of which saw eight people charged in connection with a £2.3m fraud against the Olympic Delivery Authority.
Asil Nadir, who stole £28.8m from the Polly Peck empire, has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for his part in the crime. Link
Investigators from the Serious Fraud Office believe the fraud that was committed in the 1980s amounted to more than £380m and prosecutors just brought 13 “sample” charges against the 71-year-old. Is 10 years sufficient, bearing in mind he is over 70 or shouldn’t that make any difference? Let’s hear what you have got to say.
An East Yorkshire woman who was told she had won half a million pounds in an Olympic lottery, has warned others to be on their guard. Link
The woman, from Pocklington, received a personally addressed letter saying she had won £500,000 in a special lottery to commemorate the London 2012 games. She became suspicious because the letter told her to ring a phone number and provide certain details including personal and banking information.
She reported the matter to the police who said that anyone receiving similar correspondence should ignore it and they should never give out personal and banking details in these situations.
Thankfully the woman concerned was sensible enough not to give out personal information and it’s to be hoped that others who receive such a letter will treat it with the disdain it deserves.
We have had stories of celebrities being the victims of fraud, however in this case the accused will be known to some, especially if you watch daytime TV. Link
Dan Penteado, who is a presenter of a BBC programme called, ironically, Rogue Traders, has admitted eight counts of council tax and benefit fraud and, after an initial court appearance, has been told that he may go to prison. He admitted claiming the benefits while receiving payment for the consumer affairs work he does.
Penteado, who works as a private investigator when not working for the BBC, is facing the charges which date back to 2007 when he filled in his first claim form but did not declare that he had another bank account. The fraud was repeated in subsequent years until 2011. The council in question wants to recover all the money that had been claimed and Penteado was said to have already paid back £210. However, much more is outstanding and we will see if he pays that back and also what sentence is finally imposed.
A new report has suggested that more people are prepared to lie about the state of their finances. Are you one of them? Link
The Experian study found that 44 out of every 10,000 current account applications were found to be fraudulent, 23% up on the same period last year and the highest level since Experian’s records began in 2009. The rate of fraud in financial services generally was also up, 16% again, compared to the same period, the first three months, of last year.
The study looked at the different types of fraud involved and, in relation to current accounts, found that people committing the offences were often “financially stressed” and were exaggerating their finances or hiding unfavourable elements of it. A large proportion of cases involved payment abuse which typically means people making payments from accounts when they do not have enough in the account to cover the cost.
Credit card fraud was also shown to be on the increase; in the first three months of last year there were 10 cases in every 10,000 applications but that has risen to 14 in the same period of 2012. Any reasons why the figures are on the increase? Can it be put down simply to the fact that we are in a double-dip recession and finances are tight? Let me know what your views are. We’d love to hear from you.