How did I manage to fall for a Goa gem scam?

Sarah Bowles is articulate and bright. Here she talks about how she lost her life savings in India to fraudsters

When Sarah Bowles woke up in a Berlin youth hostel on a chilly morning just before Christmas, she felt both sick and relieved. Sick because she knew that her £6,500 life savings were lost and she would have to explain to her family why she was in Germany rather than travelling in India. And yet relieved that her ordeal was over, not least as she had avoided the  real threat of ending up in prison.

Her story? She had fallen for one of the growing number of ingenious jewellery scams being perpetrated against lone travellers – particularly in the Indian state of Goa, but also elsewhere.

Full Story >> The Guardian

Fraud decrease serves as vindication and warning says CIFAS

The analysis of fraud trends during 2013 by CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service reveals a surprising mix of apparently good and equally alarming news about fraud.

Overall, fraud levels decreased in 2013 by 11 percent from the levels recorded in 2012 – the first year on year drop since 2010 – but fraud remains at a much higher rate than in pre-recessionary times. The decrease, however, is proof of the positive preventative impact of counter fraud measures such as data sharing. While there are some alarming fluctuations within the fraud figures, the most notable findings are: Over 221,000 confirmed frauds were identified during 2013. While this is an 11 percent decrease from the previous few years, the level is still higher than fraud levels recorded in 2008 and 2010. Identity crimes – where fraudsters use a person’s identity data to impersonate them (identity fraud) or hijack an individual’s existing account (facility takeover fraud) – still accounted for over 60 percent of all frauds. Over 125,000 individual instances of an identifiable person becoming victim to fraud. Some startling variations from 2012 have occurred in terms of the products targeted by fraudsters: frauds against mail order and bank accounts have experienced sizeable decreases, while loan and plastic card (e.g. store and credit cards) accounts have seen notable surges. Plastic cards are now the product most commonly targeted by fraudsters (up by 24 percent from the levels of 2012 and accounting for 30 percent of all confirmed fraud in 2013).

Full Story >> HRDirector Business News

The identity thief’s 10 most desirable items

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Theft used to be more straightforward: you could identify your valuables, and keep them locked up. And in the worst case scenario, if someone broke in and stole them, you’d know about it instantly. Identify theft is a whole new ball game. We don’t know what’s valuable to a fraudster; we don’t know how to protect them; and often we have no idea when they are taken.
So what are the 10 most valuable items for an identity thief, and how can we protect them?
Ideally, a thief needs a number of things in order to steal your identity – and your money. Your full name, address and date of birth are highly useful. But add in any account numbers, passwords, PINs, or details about your borrowing limits, and they’re in the money.

Full Story >> //money.aol.co.uk/2014/01/27/the-identity-thiefs-10-most-desirable-items/

10 ways to beat CryptoLocker

Protecting your files from CyptoLocker and other malware starts with a few sensible precautions

So what are our top tips?

Back up your files. If you use an external hard drive, don’t leave it connected to your PC unless you are backing up. Alternatively, pay for an online back-up service – but bear in mind you may still be vulnerable if your backed-up files are mapped as a network drive. Check with your provider if you are unsure.

• Create files in the Cloud and upload photos to online accounts like Flickr or Picasa.

• Switch to a spam- and virus-filtered email service. Google Mail, for example, does not allow you to receive or send executable files (that can install viruses) as email attachments, even if they are hidden in zip files. (It also does not allow you to send them).

• Don’t go to online porn sites, which are often the source of malware downloads. Take care when clicking on adverts; never open Twitter links and attachments from people you don’t know or trust.

• Make sure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest security.

• Install the latest versions of your internet browsers and update add-ons such as Java and Adobe Flash.

• Get reputable anti-virus software and ensure you update it frequently.

• On Windows 7, double-check that you have set up System Restore points or, if you are using Windows 8, configure it to keep the “file history”.

• Act quickly. If you do accidentally download a dodgy attachment, bear in mind it is likely to take some time for the encryption to take place. If you immediately download and run an anti-virus programme, such as the free anti-virus toolkit available from Sophos, it could destroy the CryptoLocker before all your files have been encrypted – however, you will permanently lose affected files.

• Encrypt the files you particularly want to keep private, such as documents containing your passwords or personal information, to prevent criminals from reading what’s in them.