Tag Archives: Fraud

Unwitting cyber scammers cold call industry expert at C3IA Solutions

Would-be cyber scammers made a megabyte blunder when they cold-called Matt Horan of C3IA Solutions: Horan is one of the country’s top cyber security experts. Realising the crooks were trying to take control of his computer, Horan put the call on speaker phone and asked a colleague to record it, with hilarious consequences.

After stringing out the conversation for 35 minutes – during which time he was passed to more senior ‘helpers’ as he posed as an ignorant computer user – Horan then informed the caller that he had no Internet connection.

This prompted the fraudster to use an expletive before hanging up in anger. An edited video of the call has been amusing people across social media.

Horan is keen that the video is used to help people avoid falling for cyber scams. He told Risk UK: “One of the weakest parts of any business’ cyber security is the staff. They do nothing malicious, but can easily assist fraudsters. Along with ‘phishing’ e-mails, this type of phone scam is common and can cause huge amounts of damage.”

Matt Horan, director of C3IA Solutions

Matt Horan of C3IA Solutions

Horan continued: “The caller purports to be from Microsoft or a similar outfit and informs the person who answered the call that there’s a problem with their computer. They then instruct that person to look at the computer’s ‘systems and events logs’, which is simply a log of every action taken. They tell them that this is evidence of ongoing malicious attacks. After that, they try and entice them to log into TeamViewer or something similar which means they then can gain remote access and control of the target computer.”

In addition, Horan stated: “They then have all the information on a computer or network and can infect the system, read e-mails, steal passwords or encrypt the stored data. They can basically do anything they want. Obviously, this can cause massive harm to a business and may well lead to data loss, the theft of funds and the stealing of intelligence as well as cause acute embarrassment.”

C3IA Solutions trains staff at businesses to be ‘cyber-savvy’ and always to hang up on calls like this. If staff are in doubt they should contact their IT support.

“Firms such as Microsoft don’t make calls like the one I took, but they seem authentic,” explained Horan. “Often, the scammers work in pairs so the initial caller can pass over the call to a ‘senior supervisor’, as they tried with me. This gives an added authenticity. Caution should be the watchword when taking calls like this one.”

*The video can be viewed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ncIehp0fBT8

Based in Poole, Dorset, C3IA Solutions is one of fewer than 20 companies certified by the Government’s National Cyber Security Centre. In addition to its work with Government agencies including GCHQ, the company operates a commercial section that works with businesses, assisting them with their cyber security.

C3IA (a military term) Solutions was set up in 2006 by Horan and Keith Parsons. It has 84 personnel on contract of whom 33 are employees and 51 are associates. The business operates in the defence and security sectors serving both SMEs and multi-national firms.

C3IA is a leading provider of secure ICT, technical programme management and information security services and solutions.

The company takes its Corporate Social Responsibility seriously, supporting serving and past members of the Armed Services. Indeed, the business sponsors those engaged in personal and team development through arduous sporting and other challenges.

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Research suggests up to 45% of fraud linked directly to organised crime

New research conducted by the Police Foundation and Perpetuity Research has found that between 31% and 45% of fraud may be linked to organised crime. This is up to three times higher than the 15% level found in previous studies.

The research, which was funded by The Dawes Trust, looked at a large sample of frauds taking place in the Midlands and the South West. It found that fraud linked to organised crime was more harmful to victims than other types of fraud. On average, individual victims of organised fraud were likely to lose significantly more money per fraud offence (£10,260) than victims of non-organised fraud (£3,982).

Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI, director of Perpetuity Research and one of the research report’s authors, said: “We know that fraud, and particularly online fraud, is the new volume crime. Our research shows that organised crime groups play a much larger role in fraud than has previously been estimated, and that fraud linked to organised crime causes much more harm than other types of fraud.”

Investment fraud was most likely to be linked to organised crime, with around 70% of this fraud type estimated to be perpetrated by organised crime groups. Between a third (38%) and over a half (59%) of mass-marketing fraud is estimated to be linked to organised crime.

stop fraud

The research also found that the police response to fraud was inadequate. Unlike traditional crime types such as burglary and vehicle crime, victims who report a fraud rarely receive a visit from a police officer or any other official.

Response to organised fraud

There are many agencies holding a wide range of powers which could bolster the local response to organised fraud. However, at present these agencies only work together on an ad hoc basis and systematic data sharing is virtually non-existent.

Given the complexity, the expense and the low success rate of fraud investigations, a more problem-oriented, multi-agency approach would, the researchers argue, be somewhat more effective.

Police Foundation director Rick Muir explained: “Despite its increasing scale across the UK, fraud doesn’t currently receive the recognition it deserves and tends to fall between the gaps of a number of agencies, including the police. While the offenders of organised fraud are difficult to prosecute, it’s clear there are vulnerable victims to safeguard, communities to protect and crimes to be prevented. It’s more important than ever to ensure that agencies and authorities don’t relinquish their responsibilities in tackling it.”

On average, Action Fraud receives details on 25,000 reported frauds per month. Based on the researchers’ estimates, this means that between 7,000 and 12,000 reported frauds could be perpetrated by organised criminals every month.

In practice, only a small proportion of these incidents are ever investigated by police forces. Furthermore, forces are not systematically recording the outcomes of fraud investigations, and are therefore not being properly held to account.

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Criminals target UK’s youth as cases of identity fraud increase

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing a 52% rise in young identity fraud victims in the UK. In 2015, just under 24,000 (23,959) people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.

The figures have been published on the same day as a new short film, entitled ‘Data to Go’, is launched online to raise awareness of this type of fraud. Shot 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.

Identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often, victims don’t even realise that they’ve been targeted until a bill arrives for something they didn’t buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

IdentityTheftNew

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters usually have access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank details and information on who they hold accounts with. Fraudsters gain such detail in a variety of ways, including through hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together. 86% of all identity frauds in 2015 were perpetrated online.

People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud, but with growing numbers of young people falling victim, Cifas is calling for better education around fraud and financial crime.

Fraudsters are opportunists

Simon Dukes, CEO of Cifas, said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, so the fraudsters have instead focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details. Society, Government and industry all have a role to play in preventing fraud. However, our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need.”

Dukes continued: “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they’re now a hunting ground for identity thieves. We’re urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what information they share. Social media is fantastic, and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”

IdentityTheftSign

Commander Chris Greany, the City of London Police’s national co-ordinator for economic crime, added: “We’ve known for some time that identity fraud has become the engine that drives much of today’s criminality, and so it’s vitally important that people keep their personal information safe and secure. In the fight against fraud, education is key and it’s great that Cifas and its members are taking identity fraud seriously and working together to raise awareness of how the issue is now increasingly affecting young people through the launch of this film.”

As part of the campaign, Cifas commissioned a survey with Britain Thinks to find out more about 18-24 year olds’ attitudes towards personal data and identity fraud. The survey found that young people are alarmingly unaware that they’re at risk:

  • Only 34% of 18-24 year olds say they learned about online security when they were at school
  • 50% of the 18-24 year olds surveyed believe they would never fall for an online scam (compared to the national average of 37%)
  • Only 57% of 18-24 year olds report thinking about how secure their personal details are online (compared to 73% for the population as a whole)

They’re also less likely to install anti-virus software on their mobile phone than the national average (27% compared to 37%).

Organisations such as the City of London Police, Action Fraud, Get Safe Online, Her Majesty’s Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign, Financial Fraud Action UK and Cifas members including Coventry Building Society, BT and Secure Trust Bank are all supporting the campaign and sharing the new film across their social media networks.

Cifas is also appealing to youth organisations, schools and universities to share the film so it reaches as many young people as possible.

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March Networks introduces “world’s first” self-contained HDR surveillance camera for banking ATMs

Intelligent IP video solutions developer March Networks has introduced the MegaPX ATM camera. The MegaPX is believed to be the security sector’s first self-contained, covert IP camera with High Dynamic Range (HDR) image clarity.

Purpose-built for easy installation in leading ATMs, the camera captures highly-detailed video in all lighting conditions, enabling banking investigators and the police to clearly identify faces and other distinguishing features.

The new models are ONVIF Profile S compliant and can be deployed seamlessly to provide the high quality ATM video evidence many financial institutions are seeking to fill a gap in their complete banking surveillance solution.

March Networks' Mega PXATM camera

March Networks’ MegaPX ATM camera

“While ATM-related fraud incidents fell last year, related losses and losses through both skimming and ATM physical attacks have increased in Europe* so banking organisations are relying more heavily than ever on IP video technologies that can provide clear video evidence to accelerate investigations,” explained Net Payne, chief marketing officer at March Networks. “This new camera offers financial institutions a way of capturing better video at ATMs and advances an area of the banking surveillance ecosystem which, until now, has not kept pace with technology improvements.”

The MegaPX ATM camera combines HDR and “exceptional” low-light performance to capture clear video in high contrast lighting, such as the direct sunlight and near-dark conditions that ATM’s can be located in at different times of the day.

Available with a 2.8 mm standard lens or 3.7 mm pinhole lens, the camera’s wide field of view records ATM users from the waist up rather than just capturing faces to provide more comprehensive video evidence. In addition, an innovative feature auto-corrects images recorded behind the tinted glass enclosures present in many of today’s ATMs.

Distinct from other covert cameras with separate sensor units, the MegaPX ATM models combine all components in a single housing measuring just 2.2 x 2.3 x 2.7 inches (5.6 x 5.8 x 7 cm). This self-contained design speeds installation and eliminates typical cable wear and tear.

To prevent the cameras from shifting – a common issue caused by ATM doors being slammed during the daily cash vaulting process – the MegaPX ATM solution offers a choice of two mounting brackets that lock firmly into place. The robust locking mechanism ensures that the camera’s desired field of view is maintained and that images are not cut off or lost altogether.

Importantly, this feature saves financial institutions and their systems integrators valuable time and expense by eliminating continual service calls for onsite camera adjustments.

Making service calls even faster and more convenient, each MegaPX ATM camera is supplied with a unique QR code that technicians can scan with their mobile device using March Networks’ free GURU Smartphone Application. GURU automates typically time-consuming tasks such as determining a camera’s serial number, verifying its warranty status and completing online return forms.

The app also connects systems integrators with ‘How To’-style video tutorials, product manuals and convenient troubleshooting tools to help them work more efficiently and resolve camera issues onsite.

*Further information on the new MegaPX ATM cameras is available online at: www.marchnetworks.com.

*Source: EAST, European ATM Crime Report, April 2015

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March Networks delivers insights on “superior surveillance” in banking with video-driven business intelligence

March Networks, the global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, is helping banking organisations understand how they can use business intelligence drawn from video, analytics and transaction reporting to implement strategy, gain tactical and operational insight and facilitate effective decision-making. 

In a topical webinar, now available for replay on the Banking Technology website, Ely Maspero (March Networks’ IP video management solutions product manager) highlights the growing relevance and popularity of analytics and industry-oriented reporting tools. They’ve become so useful to banks, in fact, that an investment of just $1 in analytics resulted in an RoI of $13 in 2014, representing a growth rate of 18% since 2011[1].

Video and analytics are increasingly being used together, not only to provide data on specific ATM-related fraud, but also to deliver meaningful insights into bank branch performance and help improve customer relations, reduce waiting times and increase the effectiveness of in-branch marketing activities.

According to 61% of those individuals surveyed by Technology Business Research at the end of last year, the main driver of business intelligence software market growth is operational efficiency.

Ely Maspero of March Networks

Ely Maspero of March Networks

Financial institutions can be vulnerable to different types of fraud, from cash trapping and card skimming through to the more extreme use of explosives. While ATM fraud incidents fell by 26% last year, related losses did increase by 13%.

The combination of video and analytics can speed investigation times and identify at-risk ATMs to help reduce prevent fraud.

Video, analytics and transaction data

From a marketing perspective, video and analytics may be used to help banks maximise their up-selling and cross-selling opportunities by analysing staff and customer behaviour. Multiple banking departments can use the powerful combination across all aspects of client relations in order to help them move from a product-oriented business model to one that’s more customer-oriented.

“Today, most banks are using video surveillance to help reduce losses and better protect their customers’ assets,” said Ely Maspero, “but the combination of video, analytics and transaction data can target more than loss prevention. Video-driven business intelligence can provide banks with valuable information on the behaviours and habits of customers and staff, helping banks refine and improve their in-branch services.”

Talking specifically about the webinar, Maspero added: “This webcast highlights the many opportunities that today’s video analytics can provide, including the reduction of vulnerabilities and improving customer experience to help build brand loyalty and increase revenues.”

Reference

[1] Nucleus Search, September 2014

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City directors sentenced to 28 years behind bars for £23 million green biofuel fraud

Three men have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court as a result of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation and prosecution of Sustainable Growth Group (‘SGG’) including its subsidiary companies Sustainable AgroEnergy plc (‘SAE’) and Sustainable Wealth (UK) Investments Ltd (‘SWI’).

All three were convicted following a prosecution which focused on the selling and promotion of SAE investment products based on “green biofuel” Jatropha tree plantations in Cambodia. The green biofuel products were sold to UK investors who invested primarily via self-invested pension plans. These investors were deliberately misled into believing that SAE owned land in Cambodia, that the land was planted with Jatropha trees and that there was an insurance policy in place to protect investors if the crops failed.

*Gary Lloyd West (of Hertfordshire, the former director and chief commercial officer of SAE) was sentenced to a total of 13 years’ imprisonment
*James Brunel Whale (of Sussex, the former director, CEO and chairman of SGG) was sentenced to a total of nine years’ imprisonment
*Stuart John Stone (of Shropshire, director of SJ Stone Ltd, a sales agent of unregulated pension and investment products) was sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment

Both West and Whale have been disqualified from being directors for 15 years while Stone has been disqualified for ten years.

City directors have been sentenced to a combined total of 28 years in prison for a £23 million green biofuel fraud

City directors have been sentenced to a combined total of 28 years in prison for a £23 million green biofuel fraud

“Thickening quagmire of dishonesty”

When handing down sentencing, Judge Beddoe described the fraud as a “thickening quagmire of dishonesty” and that “there were more than 250 victims of relatively modest means, some of whom had lost all of their life savings and their homes.”

The Judge added that the bribery was an aggravating feature.

Jane de Lozey – the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) Head of Fraud – commented: “This is the first of a number of SFO cases to come to trial involving the miss-selling of investment products connected with self-invested pension plans in which savers on modest incomes have tried to invest for their retirement only to find themselves the victims of fraud. Pension scams can be difficult to detect even for experienced investors. The SFO is working closely with partner agencies across law enforcement to tackle this type of serious economic crime.”

Legal proceedings to establish compensation and confiscation orders against the three defendants have commenced.

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Two-thirds of UK companies fail to check employee references ahead of start dates

According to new research conducted by HireRight – the leading global due diligence organisation – most UK companies are failing to check references before new employees start in their roles and are struggling to respond to other companies’ reference requests.

The Point of Reference research suggests that two-thirds (66%) of new employees begin work before their reference checks are complete. Two-in-five (39%) of Human Resources (HR) function leaders believe this is normal practice within their industry.

However, such checks are absolutely vital. The HireRight study reveals that more than half (58%) of successful applications contain errors*. In tandem, one third (36%) of HR leaders admit they need a clearer way of identifying job candidates with malicious intent.

Steve Girdler, managing director (EMEA) at HireRight, explained: “References reveal important details about an individual’s history and help employers ensure they can trust the people they allow to work with their customers, clients and colleagues. By failing to carry out due diligence before people start work, companies risk hiring individuals unable to fulfil the duties of their respective roles, who may commit fraud or theft or even damage customer relationships.”

Steve Girdler: managing director (EMEA) at HireRight

Steve Girdler: managing director (EMEA) at HireRight

Girdler added: “A great deal of damage can be done between the moment an employee starts at a new company and when referencing requests are completed.”

‘Administrative burden’ on HR Departments

HireRight’s Point of Reference research results are based on the perspectives of senior HR leaders in some of the UK’s biggest companies. The results also highlight that reference checking is an administrative burden on many HR Departments at a time when they’re already struggling to find enough hours in the day for important strategic work.

One third (31%) of HR Departments are ‘bogged down’ with responding to queries about references. In a quarter (27%) of cases, employees have complained to their managers about the amount of time they spend working on such requests.

Many HR Departments simply don’t have the spare capacity when one third (34%) of their time is spent on administrative tasks. HR leaders themselves estimate they spend an average of two hours and 12 minutes every day on what might be described as ‘low value’ work.

This latest Point of Reference research is based on detailed interviews with 140 senior HR leaders in both regulated and non-regulated UK companies boasting more than 5,000 employees.

*The inaccuracies figure quoted is based on the analysis of data from candidate due diligence programmes, with this quarter’s findings focused on 121,000 checks of almost 34,000 applications between July and September 2014

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