Sometimes we forget just how great the NHS is. You only have to go around the world and, worse, fall ill whilst overseas to recognise how great it is. So it’s always disappointing to see criticism of it and I’ve found a forum full of it.
I was trying to search for a hospital in my local area and came across this site “Your Story” which, though stressing that it wants negative and positive feeback on the NHS only seems to have the former. Disappointing. It is fascinating reading, mainly because it is so negative but only adds to the hysteria there is over the NHS which seems to be criticised every move it makes.
The site seems to be run by a website handling no win no fee medical negligence claims which raises an eyebrow… I’m not suggesting this site is sensationalising NHS stories but its existence adds to the gloom surrounding a Great British institution. I’m also not sure about the fact it appears to be run by a firm of solicitors. Is it deliberately stoking up NHS abuse or merely reflecting what its contributors tell them about their NHS experiences?
One example of a couple who were conned out of £3,000 perhaps inadvertently gives assistance to others to try and avoid becoming victims themselves.
The couple were tricked into buying a new roof coating which it was claimed, would reduce heat loss by 40%. The company involved, Roofguard Protective Coatings, used aggressive marketing tactics to get the couple to agree to the work which would have been of no benefit to them.
The council hopes it sends a message that companies who break the law will be prosecuted. It’s good that the firm in this incident were stopped but there are many others trying their luck and so, don’t be caught out. Especially if you haven’t heard of the firm involved and they are going door to door, it is always best to take extra care.
If you are busy doing your Christmas shopping it is worth bearing in mind, amid the frantic preparations, that online fraud totalled around £12.5m last year and the cost to consumers is expected to be similar this year. Link
With more shopping online the risks are increased of course and fraudsters are likely to be out in force eager to catch out those who may be new to internet shopping. So what can shoppers look out for?
Be suspicious of anything too heavily discounted.
Check the URL in the browser to make sure it is not slightly different to the one you were expecting.
Make sure at the payment stage that the address begins with https as this indicates a secure payment.
Only deal with known or recommended sites.
Try using payment options such as PayPal to offer some protection.
Never enter your PIN number online.
These are just a few way of keeping yourself safe from the fraudsters, let me know of any others.
A man who has previously been accused of faking whiplash injuries, has received £13,000 in compensation after a car crash. Link
The man, Mohammed Hafeez Saeed had his case referred to the director of public prosecutions after what was regarded by Birmingham Crown Court as a bogus claim. However, in the same court he has now been paid out for another claim with the judge saying the previous claim and 10 others made between 2006 and 2011 should have no bearing on the facts of the case before him.
Six of the previous “accidents” saw him receive compensation totalling almost £10,000 and now he has a fresh payout of £13,313 which includes vehicle repair, storage and hire car costs. Was the judge right to cast the other judgments to one side and look at the case before him in isolation or should it have had a bearing on what he eventually decided? Let me know what you think.
The welfare-to-work company Action 4 Employment (A4E) which has been used by the government for training purposes, has seen nine employees charged with fraud offences. Link
The charges relate to frauds allegedly committed between 2009 and 2013 and include conspiracy to defraud, forgery and making and possessing articles for use in fraud. It is a further embarrassment to the firm and the government which was contracted by the Department of Work and Pensions to deliver an employment and training scheme. The government would have paid out when the scheme found jobs for people.
The fraud charges are the culmination of a long-running police investigation into the firm and its activities which began in 2011.
A woman who received thousands of pounds in a compensation payout after a car accident has been found guilty of fraud for claiming benefits at the same time. It will no doubt anger people that a women who received a large amount in damages, should keep on claiming for benefits that were not rightfully hers. Link
Melissa Malam received £140,000 in compensation after being badly injured in a car accident. She received the money in 2006 and by 2009 she still had half, over £71,000 in her bank account when she and her partner made a joint claim for housing benefit, council tax benefit and job-seekers allowance.
She has been given a suspended jail sentence at Stoke Crown Court for benefit fraud after the judge heard that she frittered much of the cash away on holidays, gambling and drinking, despite the compensation money being provided to help over a period of time when she was not able to work because of the injuries sustained. It is a case that comes at a time when the government seems determined to take a tough line on benefit cheats and perhaps more cases will come to light as a result.
The government is looking into the possibility of taking tougher action on corporate offending, beefing up the powers of the Serious Fraud Office. Are you in favour of this action?
Ministers are looking into ways of reforming the test for criminal prosecutions as a way of meeting the Conservative party’s pre-election pledge to change the law to ensure that companies would be held liable for their actions. That pledge was made because of widespread frustration that companies and individuals within them were not sufficiently brought to book after the banking crash in 2008.
New measures such as these are likely to prove popular but, will they be perceived as too hostile to the business community? The country needs a strong business sector and any action which may impact on this has to be considered seriously before implementation. What’s your view? We’d like to hear from you.
The four men, who were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court, have admitted money-laundering offences and were found to have used the money to buy cars and gold. Their attack was on the Defra payments system where the Department’s database was tampered with and money was sent into the account of a bogus company called Lorcan Steels Limited.
North Yorkshire Police said it was not able to prove who was responsible for the database being altered but it had enough evidence to convict the men who laundered the money.
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.