We are facing severe threats from criminals to our cyber security since their usual criminal activities, such as drug dealing and country lines, are under attack.
Quite often, I read the complaints of residents on the Feltham Community Facebook Page; they say they have been contacted by what appear to be fraudsters. Sadly, in most circumstances, it will be elderly and vulnerable who will be affected the most. It is important, then, that we educate ourselves, because fraudsters are always looking to expand their criminal enterprises. The way to prevent harm is to “get wise”.
I think that education is important to keep yourself safe: both software awareness, as well as financial awareness. It is helpful to install virus protection and internet software, and to do your own research from among credible sources.
The ISC organisation in the US holds webinars on virus, the information was shared by the Hounslow police on Twitter:
(ISC)² 311 Park Place Blvd #400, Clearwater, FL 33759 United States • www.isc2.org
© 1996–2021. (ISC)², Inc. All rights reserved.
If you are victim of a financial fraud, the first point of call should be your bank or other relevant financial institution(s). They are bound by the FCA Principle of Business (https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/PRIN/2/1.html)
A firm must conduct its business with integrity.
2 Skill, care and diligence
A firm must conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence.
3 Management and control
A firm must take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems.
4 Financial prudence
A firm must maintain adequate financial resources.
5 Market conduct
A firm must observe proper standards of market conduct.
6 Customers' interests
7 Communications with clients
8 Conflicts of interest
9 Customers: relationships of trust
10 Clients' assets
11 Relations with regulators
If they do not resolve your issue than you can progress it to the Financial Ombudsman but you need to exhaust the internal complaint process of the relevant company. This is to really prevent and resolve issues at the earliest opportunity. FCA is the regulatory body and does not deal with individual consume complaints but has set up a CONC, Consumer Credit Source Book which has rules and guidance that governs the work and procedures of the financial institutions but also debt advise providers both charities and commercial ones.
I would also point out that a lender must be registered under the FCA, which can be checked. If lender isn’t registered they can be reported for what is known as loan sharks. The following information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark:
“Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously.
You can search the Financial Services Register for companies and individuals authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Telephone: 0800 111 6768
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
If you spot a loan shark or you’ve borrowed money from one you can report them anonymously: Illegal Money Lending Team
Report a loan shark online
Telephone: 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 07860 022 116”
There have been lots of reports regarding Phishing. If you receive an SMS message, email or letter, HMRC and the Government advise the following
Report HMRC phishing emails, texts and phone call scams
You can report something suspicious to HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) phishing team, for example:
- a text message (forward it to 60599 - you’ll be charged at your network rate)
- an email (forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- a message in an application, for example WhatsApp - take a screenshot and forward as an email
- phone calls asking for personal information or threatening a lawsuit (report a phone call)
On www.gov.uk there is information on what to look for if you are not sure if the communication you received is genuine.
The Government has set up a page to help voters with reporting scams (https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing) which suggests the following:
Forward the email to email@example.com.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will investigate it.
Forward the text message to 7726 - it’s free.
This will report the message to your mobile phone provider.
Fraud such as identity theft, hacking and phishing for instance can be reported to the Action Fraud which is than investigated and passed to the police if evidence exist
If you are a victim of fraud, Hounslow Police’s Twitter account suggest that you report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 204 or via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us.
You can report it direct to the police but there are processes in place that are best to be followed. Also, you can report anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Charity [https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information
0800 555 111]
It is advisable if you are a victim of financial identity fraud to set up your record on CIFAS [https://www.cifas.org.uk/contact-us The UK's largest cross-sector fraud sharing organisation].
This will then appear on your credit report so when fraudster applies for a credit, the creditor would ask for a password. This way you could prevent financial loss
You can also create a statement on your credit report file and link it to a particular creditor on your file so that they are aware if you think you are at risk. Your statement can be max 200 words and can be set up free of charge.
The Credit Report files contain other information such as previous addresses the file and your records are linked or individuals who are linked to your accounts so that you can monitor your accounts this way
You can access the three free credit reports using the following websites
- Experian – use MSE Credit Club, which offers full access to your Experian credit report for free anytime.
- Equifax – use Clearscore*, which provides free access to your Equifax report.
- TransUnion – use Credit Karma, which gives you free access to your TransUnion report.
Be wise - Stay Safe.
Please note the above is not intended to be a legal advice. Please contact the relevant authority or www.NationalDebtLine.org (charity) for further advice or your local Citizens Advice, www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Everyone is responsible to taking their own individual action for protection and redress. These comments disclaim all liability for outcomes.