Posts Tagged ‘fraud’
Sealing their reputation as a caring, sharing payday lender, Wonga has raided the account of an innocent 15 year old boy whose bank details were used by fraudsters to take out a loan.
Obviously, you have to be 18 to borrow cash, but greedy Wonga didn’t check the details closely enough, and failed to spot that the account actually belonged to Simon Oliver, now 16, from East Sussex.
The poor lad tried to take money out on a school trip, only to find that Wonga had drained it of £260. Not only that, but IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY AND CHRISTMAS MONEY THAT HE’D SAVED UP. (Let’s just take a moment here to well up with indignant tears).
Simon’s bank refunded the money, but the trouble won’t be over for Wonga. According to Watchdog, which will be getting its teeth into the story on tonight’s show, there have been 386 reported fraudulent loans granted by the company – some amounting to thousands of pounds.
The Office of Fair Trading are currently investigating the whole payday loan industry – and MPs are calling for much stricter measures, including real time credit checks. Let’s hope these shabby shysters get their arses kicked soon.
In fact according to the European ATM Security Team (who we hope are a gang of Mission Impossible types in black catsuits hanging around outside The Royal Bank of Scotland with Kalashnikovs) it’s becoming the norm.
Criminals use Bluetooth to get your card details and pin number, then before you know it you no longer exist and you’re running through Waterloo station with a sniper on your tail.
It’s becoming a widespread problem, so make sure you take the same precautions as you might with a cash machine – check for any suspicious devices, and don’t use if you’re in doubt.
The good news is they have yet to crack Chip and Pin devices, which are widely used in the UK and Europe, but be on your guard. Meanwhile, there’s always less subtle methods of snaffling cash from ATMs, like this…
Security researchers have found a dastardly botnet that is stealing millions per month from advertisers by simulating click-throughs on ads.
It has been called the “Chameleon” botnet by analytics botherers spider.io thanks to its ability to display adverts that make money for fraudsters and hoodwink advertisers’ behaviour-tracking algorithms.
It is estimated that Chameleon is responsible for at least nine billion fraudulent ad impressions, which means that the botnet causes $6.2 million per month in advertising losses.
There’s a phishing scam knocking around that behaves like a nightclub bouncer, according to reports. Does that mean it wears a black overcoat with a luminous yellow armband and barks at you to take your drinks back inside?
Either way, phishing attacks aimed at getting your personal information out of you were 59% higher in 2012 than the previous year and researchers reckon that it is costing the global economy over $1.5bn in fraud damages.
And there’s been a rise in the phishing scam that has been called “bouncer list phishing” because, ostensibly, it acts like “if your name is not on the list, you’re staying out.” according to Limor Kessem, cyber intelligence expert at RSA.
The bouncer phishing kit targets a list of email recipients and a user ID value is generated for the target, sending them a unique url for access to the attack. Any outsider attempting to access the phishing page is redirected to a 404 page.
“Unlike the usual IP-restricted entry that many older [phishing] kits used, this is a true – depending on how you look at it – black hat whitelist,” Kessem said.
When victims access the link, their name has to be on the list and their “D value is verified on-the-fly as soon as they attempt to browse to the url.” And then, validated users find that the kit generates an attack page designed to steal their information.
“These kits, used to target corporate email recipients, can easily be used as part of spear phishing campaigns to gain a foothold for a looming APT-style attack,” wrote Kessem. “Unfortunately, it is entirely up to the webmasters to become more aware of security and ensure that their websites don’t get exploited.”
There’s a number of people out there who have downloaded a dodgy version of Angry Birds to their phones, finding that they’ve been hit with a £15 charge every time they opened it.
It seems to be mostly children who have fallen foul of this rogue version, and some of them have run up bills beyond £500.
PhonepayPlus, mobile content regulators, have seen a 300% rise in complaints relating to children and app downloads in the past 12 months. Some of the complaints focus on free downloads which introduce in-app purchase options once the kids are hooked on a game. Then there’s the swine who create copies of popular games and plant malware in them.
A spokesman for PhonepayPlus said: “In one case, children as young as 11 years old downloaded free versions of popular games from the Android app store such as Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed and Cut the Rope… in one case a 14 year old girl was tricked into paying for virtual credits in a game when a social media ‘friend’ said she had no credits to phone her dying grandmother.”
Elsewhere, children were tricked into sharing a promotion for supermarket vouchers from Tesco and Asda on Facebook, which misled them into taking part in a premium rate competition, which meant that up to 89,000 children were charged £5 every time a trivia question was sent to their phone.
PhonepayPlus continued: “Connected devices will define the age in which today’s children live and we are determined to ensure that they can receive the benefits while being protected from the risks. Smartphones in children’s pockets can burn holes in parent’s wallets, so we are working with partners across industry and other agencies to prevent this.”
If you need advice, see the phonebrain.org website.
Is it violently glamorous like a rap video, or really awful that Britain’s biggest bank – HSBC – appear to be friends with gun runners and drug dealers? That’s what tax authorities are wondering as they’ve got their hands on every British client of HSBC after a whistleblower secretly gave them a list of names, addresses and accounts.
And according to various reports, it seems that HSBC hold the account for Daniel Bayes, a drug dealer who is now in Venezuela and Michael Lee, who just so happens to be a man convicted of possessing more than 300 weapons at his house in Devon.
Then there’s bankers facing major fraud allegations and a someone who has been referred to as one of the biggest computer crooks in Europe.
All these people have offshore accounts with HSBC and of course, authorities are now faced with some serious questions about the bank’s procedures in Jersey. All this comes on the back of the breaking of money laundering rules in America, which HSBC have put $1.5 billion aside for fines.
And now HMRC are rifling through a list of the names and addresses of more than 4,000 people to see how many dodgy people HSBC have been happy to do business with. There’ll be a few twitchy bumholes in the City because HSBC won’t be the only company with some unsavoury customers.
Last night, a spokesman for HMRC said: “We can confirm we have received the data and we are studying it. We receive information from a very wide range of sources which we use to ensure the tax rules are being respected. Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over claiming benefits is a top priority for us and we value the information we receive from the public and business community.”
The 4,388 people holding offshore accounts with HSBC account for a gaspingly large £699 million.
Stuart Gulliver, the chief executive of HSBC, previously admitted: “We failed to spot and deal with unacceptable behaviour.”
Thundering herbert, eminently punchable, obscenely wealthy and, of course, Tory chairman Grant Shapps, is to be investigated by the ASA over a ‘get rich quick’ business he set up while he was posing as a web guru called Michael Green.
The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into the allegation that the public was misled with the presentation of “Michael Green” as a genuine businessman with a personal fortune of $28m (£17m). HowToCorp.com is the name of the company co-founded by Shapps with some character called ‘Sebastian Fox’.
“The complainant has challenged whether the website is misleading because it implies Sebastian Fox and Michael Green are successful businessmen whereas they believe neither are real people, and whether the testimonials are genuine,” a spokesman for the ASA said.
Shapps has refuting the idea he has deceived anyone while pointing out that he did go by the name Michael Green in a bid to keep his business and political careers separate. And then there’s the small matter of the photograph showing Shapps in Vegas at a meeting with a badge that says ‘Michael Green’ on it.
In his business, Shapps Green said that he could help people earn ”$20,000 in 20 days guaranteed or your money back”, but of course, he won’t give out this foolproof information out for free to the general public so we can nix this recession overnight, will he?
This comes on the back of Google blacklisted a network of websites run by Shapps for breaches of copyright (or, in plain English, ‘borrowing’ content from other sites wholesale and creaming off Google ad revenue from them… ALLEGEDLY).
All this news, just in time for Shapps starring role at the imminent Tory Party conference. How lovely.
As more measures are developed to stop credit and debit card fraud, criminals are going old-school with their methods, indulging in unsophisticated card snatching and PIN theft, according to an industry body.
Card losses accounted for £185m in the first half of the year, a 9% rise on first half of 2011, the UK Cards Association said. So when they’re not stealing your card, they’re phoning your house pretending to be your bank and getting your PIN from you.
“This increase is due to organised criminal gangs committing straightforward frauds,” said Det Ch Insp David Carter, of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, which is funded by the banking industry.
“Given this rise in old-fashioned crimes – criminals using distraction techniques and duping people into disclosing their passwords and online banking details – we are urging everyone to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal activity.”
“Your bank or the police will never cold-call you or email you and ask you for your full login details, cards or PINS. If anyone does, hang up the phone or delete the email.”
Keep an eye on nana, basically.
As we all know, times are tough right now, but it seems that some of us are prepared to commit fraud in order to get a house that we possibly can’t really afford.
According to a report from Experian, fraudulent mortgage applications are up by 23% year on year, with 39 in every 10,000 applications detected as being laced with lies. While it’s not a huge number, there’s probably a more significant number of applicants who are gently massaging the figures on their applications and getting away with it.
As we all know, the mortgage providers aren’t helping matters, tightening the lending criteria, insisting on larger deposits and refusing to lend to people with funny eyes. Perhaps it’s the funny-eyed ones who are fraudulently applying for mortgages, who knows?
James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, said: “The increase certainly reflects the fact that many households are increasingly cash-strapped and resorting to ever more desperate measures. Nearly a quarter of mortgage fraud is due to people inflating their incomes.”
In addition, there’s also been an increase in naughty applications where people have said they planned to live in the house themselves only to actually rent it out once the application has been approved and the house purchased.
Are you in jail for a naughty mortgage application? Maybe you’ve done one and gotten away with it. Tell us how it all makes you feel. Also, describe your eyes to us. Thank you.
The cost of driving has been on the up since time began, but lately, it seems to be something of an unfunny joke. And the news that cost of car insurance has rocketed to an average of more than £1,000 a year, isn’t making the joke any funnier.
The AA British insurance premium index found that the cheapest average premium for comprehensive cover, sold directly, went up 8.5% year-on-year to £1,034. Greater Manchester and Liverpool were the most expensive regions for buying policies, with average quotes of £1,648.
The study claims that some insurance companies are putting their prices up in a bid to tackle “crash for cash” scams and “excessive” numbers of whiplash claims. Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said the market was “in turmoil”, adding that ”significant inroads” were being made to tackle fraudulent claims.
“We expect the industry eventually to have routine access to DVLA data and the sooner this happens the better,” Mr Douglas said. ”It will allow fraudulent applications to be weeded out. Insurance companies are already exchanging information about people who appear to be manipulating data in order to cut the price quoted.”
Experian, who now seem to like checking who is up to no good online, have said that fraudulent swine have exchanged 12 million pieces of personal information in the first quarter of 2012 which is a whopping increase of 300% since 2010.
According to their findings, victims of identity theft experience refusal of loans or credit cards (14%), debts being run up in their name (9%), refusal of mobile contracts (7%), and being chased by debt collectors for money they do not owe (7%).
And the increase of identity theft is due to the fact that more people are signing up for things online than they used to. Simple as that really. While we immerse ourselves online more frequently, sadly, we’re still as gullible and stupid as we were 2 years ago.
The average person has 26 online accounts, but uses around five different passwords. We’d be interested to see how many people have one password for everything.
Earlier this week, Eric Doerr, group program manager for Microsoft account system (formerly Windows Live ID), said: “This highlights the longstanding security advice to use unique passwords, as criminals have become increasingly sophisticated about taking a list of usernames and passwords from one service and then ‘replaying’ that list against other major account systems.”
“When they find matching passwords they are able to spread their abuse beyond the original account system they attacked.”
The UK is a trusting and trustworthy place. Not only do barely half of us trust our banks and building societies, a rising percentage of us are glibly lying to our financial service providers in the search for credit and banking facilities. Quite the dysfunctional relationship.
New research by YouGov shows that only 53% of consumers are willing to trust any bank or building society, with 63% of consumers saying they cannot trust any bank and 57% finding any building society untrustworthy.
People also blame banks for the current financial crisis. Holmes was constipated. 70% of respondents think corporate greed is responsible, together with poor management of the UK economy (58%) and consumers taking on too much debt (57%).
Banks aren’t even trusted when they rank on impartial third party websites. Only 11% of consumers strongly agree that a high ranking on a price comparison website would encourage them to trust a financial services brand.
Instead, what the people need from banks is “fair and transparent dealings with customers”, with 62% of consumers saying this would encourage their trust. Other important factors include brands offering consistent high-quality customer service (53%) and knowing there is no risk of going out of business (56%). Because we all knew Northern Rock was a risk beforehand didn’t we.
But this isn’t just a one-sided deal. According to credit-history-check-mongerers Experian, current account fraud has reached its highest level in at least three years, mainly due to people lying about the state of their finances.
44 in every 10,000 current account applications were found to be fraudulent in just the first quarter of this year, up 23% from the last three months of 2011. This is more than twice the number of naughty applicants than for financial services generally, at 19 in every 10,000.
Credit card fraud is also proving popular, increasing from 10 cases in every 10,000 applications in the final three months of 2011 to 14 per 10,000 in the first quarter of 2012. Attempted identity frauds on cards also went up from five to eight in every 10,000 applications.
Experian said that current account fraud often involved “financially stressed” people exaggerating or hiding aspects of their personal circumstances, “providing false information attempting to open new accounts or obtain overdrafts or making payments they knowingly couldn’t afford.”
So who’s to blame here? Are customers going to be named for unreasonable behaviour in trying to keep their heads above water or have the banks been unfaithful, prioritising their liaisons with fat cats and shareholders?
OK. So times are tough. A double dip recession is apparently a bad thing and not something tasty with a lolly and two different types of sherbert. Good job we all have our morals and are fine upstanding members of society eh? We’ll pull through this- as millionaire David Cameron said, we’re in this together.
Or not. New research from Moneysupermarket.com, reveals that we are, in fact, becoming a nation of fraudsters, with 11% of respondents, an equivalent of 4.3 million people nationally, saying they would make a false home insurance claim. What’s worse is that over a third of those, a whole 4% of respondents say they would do so regardless of the economic climate, and the equivalent of almost 780,000 people admitted they had already done made a fraudulent claim. Tut tut.
Nice people, your neighbours. Particularly if you live in the North- people in the North East (15% and North West (14%) are most likely to make a false claim, compared with only 8% of those living in the South East. Insert obligatory scathing remark about how well-off everyone is in the South East.
In addition, men are more likely to make a fraudulent claim (14%), six percentage points higher than females. Those under the age of 35 are more likely to act dishonestly, with 21% making, or likely to make, a false claim compared to just 10% of over 45′s.
Of course, the standard excuse is that insurance companies have so much money anyway, putting a little bit back into the pocket of a poor, struggling (or greedy) householder isn’t going to make much of a dent in mega profits. This is possibly true. However, insurance companies are quite partial to their lovely big profits, and will try and preserve these at all costs. This means that the people who lose out aren’t the shareholders (who would, most likely, be institutional investors like your pension fund anyway) but are the poor old householders whose insurance premium goes up and up every year so the insurance company covers its losses. Insurance fraud is also illegal. In case you hadn’t worked that out.
Peter Harrison, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “It’s extremely concerning to discover so many people are contemplating making a false or exaggerated claim on their home insurance. With recent news the UK has slipped into a double-dip recession, household finances will undoubtedly be stretched, but no matter how tempting, fabricating a claim for a payout is illegal, and you could face being prosecuted as a result.”
Insurance companies take fraud very seriously, no matter how big or small the amount being claimed for. If insurers are suspicious of a claim’s validity it will be investigated with specialist detection processes and anti-fraud technology. Anyone caught and found guilty of insurance fraud would find it extremely difficult to get insurance cover in the future. Previous convictions for insurance fraud must be disclosed on application forms for any type of insurance. Insurance premiums will be much more expensive for someone guilty of making a false claim, and in some cases insurers may not be willing to offer cover at all.”
“For a homeowner, being declined buildings insurance would go against the terms of your mortgage, and for a driver, not having valid car insurance would leave them unable to take to the road as it’s illegal to drive without valid insurance,” finished Mr Harrison, himself unable to compute that, much as 2 plus 2 equals 4, those scurrilous individuals who would make a fraudulent claim are unlikely to have any crisis of conscience of driving without insurance.
So there you have it. If you are thinking of making a fraudulent insurance claim-don’t. If your home insurance premiums go up on renewal- go and sort out your neighbours with the new 47” 3D TV…
The Serious Organised Crime Agency, or SOCA from now on to save us from typing all that out, have arrested two men and shut down 36 websites which were used to sell compromised credit and debit card data.
Working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, the police managed to arrest the men who are suspected of making huge purchases of data about cards from the sites. The sites specialised in flogging stolen payment cards and online bank account details.
SOCA say that these nefarious goons used e-commerce type platforms known as Automated Vending Carts which allowed criminals sell large quantities of stolen data. People trying to access these sites are now directed to a screen which tells them that the web domain has been seized by law enforcement.
As well as these arrests, the UK’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) seized computers which were most likely used to facilitate offences under the Fraud Act. As such, an AVC operator based in Macedonia has been arrested by the Macedonian Ministry of Interior Cyber Crime Unit (which sounds tremendously authoritarian). And this is a huge worldwide operation. SOCA has been working with the FBI, the BKA in Germany, the KLPD in the Netherlands, the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Australian Federal Police and the Romanian National Police, and to date, has recovered over 2.5m items of compromised personal and financial information in just 2 years.
It is thought that the prevention of this fraud has stopped in excess of £500m being swiped, although, there’s no telling how anyone comes up with a figure like that. Sounds impressive though.
Lee Miles, the head of cyber operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.”
Barclays may be flaring their nostrils today, aware that they’re being followed by the smell of the brown pants of trouble.
They could be looking at a situation that sees them recalling a toweringly huge number of credit and debit cards – 13 million of them. What has happened is that vulnerabilities have been found in its contactless payment system which allows NFC-enabled phones to steal your card details with a simple bump.
Security firm ViaForensics found the flaw and have said that they managed to steal card numbers, expiry dates and user names by simply tapping an NFC phone to a contactless-enabled Barclays card.
It appears that none of the data was encrypted, which means that some nefarious swine could nick your credit card details by simply bumping an NFC smartphone at your pocket. Very worrying indeed.
Barclays and Visa claim it’s not a problem with the software, because that’s how NFC payments are supposed to work, and indeed, they have said that there are safeguards to stop thieves using the stolen data. Alas, Channel 4 – who are also investigating this – have said that they were able to set up an Amazon account and use the stolen information to make purchases.
Are you a Barclays customer who has had someone bump into their pocket recently? Start worrying now.