NORTH EAST FRAUD FORUM LIMITED – Joins Movement to Shine a Spotlight on Fraud
International Fraud Awareness Week kicks off Nov. 17, 2019 worldwide
Fraud costs organizations worldwide an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues, according to a study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse analyzed 2,690 occupational fraud cases that caused a total loss of more than $7.1 billion.
The seriousness of the global fraud problem is why NORTH EAST FRAUD FORUM LIMITED announced that it will be participating in International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 17-23, 2019, as an official supporter to promote anti-fraud awareness and education. The movement, known commonly as Fraud Week, champions the need to proactively fight fraud and help safeguard business and investments from the growing fraud problem.
NORTH EAST FRAUD FORUM LIMITED joins hundreds of organizations who have partnered with the ACFE, the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, for the yearly Fraud Week campaign.
During Fraud Week, official supporters will engage in various activities, including: hosting fraud awareness events for members and companies / organisations in the North East, posting articles on company websites and in newsletters and teaming up with local media to highlight the problem of fraud.
ACFE CEO and President Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, said that the support of organizations around the world helps make Fraud Week an effective tool in raising anti-fraud awareness.
“The latest statistics tell us that fraud isn’t going away, and companies that don’t have protective measures in place stand to lose the most,” Dorris said. “That’s why it is reassuring to me to see so many businesses, agencies, universities and other organizations involved in the Fraud Week movement. The first step in combating fraud is raising awareness worldwide that it is a serious problem that requires a proactive approach toward preventing it.”
“Since our first Fraud Week almost 20 years ago, the movement continues to grow,” Dorris said. “I heartily thank all of the supporters of Fraud Week for making it what it is today.”
For more information about increasing awareness and reducing the risk of fraud during International Fraud Awareness Week, visit FraudWeek.com.
The 2018 Report to the Nations is available for download online at the ACFE’s website: ACFE.com/RTTN. The Report is in PDF format.
The mission of the NEFF is to bring the private and public sectors together to reduce financial crime.
- Protect the private and public sectors as well as individuals from becoming victims of fraud.
- Stimulate and encourage growth of the private sector and the proper conduct of public bodies; facilitate working relationships between law enforcement, public bodies, private organisations and the voluntary sector.
- Promote awareness of fraud amongst members and other organisations
- Encourage good practice and an anti-fraud culture by developing anti-fraud strategies for its membership.
- Establish good practice between its members for fraud prevention, investigation and detection.
About the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
Based in Austin, Texas, the ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with nearly 85,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. For more information, visit ACFE.com.
Fraudsters Targeting Social Media Influencers
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received intelligence to suggest that fraudsters are contacting social media influencers, based in the UK and abroad, offering them the opportunity to market a bogus product, service or investment opportunity.
Fraudsters will present professional and credible pitches to the social media influencers and try to convince them to feature the opportunity for a fee on their social media profiles in order to entice unsuspecting followers of the influencer to sign up or make a purchase.
Additionally, fraudsters are using the names of well-known public figures, implying that their opportunity or product is endorsed by the figure when it is not.
The public should be aware that any apparent endorsement by celebrities, influencers or personalities does not necessarily mean that an investment, product or service is genuine. The public is urged to exercise a cautious approach to any such offer of investment, product or service with the same caution they would at any other time.
What You Need To Do
- If you are purchasing goods from a company you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, or ask friends or family for advice before completing a purchase.
- Professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts do not guarantee that an investment opportunity or product is genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make them appear legitimate.
- Avoid paying for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person or company. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use your credit card or payment services such as PayPal as they offer you greater protection if you become a victim of fraud.
Scots investigators have helped bust a €200 million scam when tuna fish caught for canning were treated with chemicals before being sold as fresh.
The Food Crime and Incidents Unit at Food Standards Scotland played a leading role in a European-wide probe into the operation as experts warn of a worldwide explosion in food fraud with faked, mis-sold produce generating £11 billion a year.
Organised crime gangs have now moved in, lured by huge profits and reduced risks.
The operation against mis-sold tuna can be revealed just days after the Food Standards Agency said one in five British meat products tested positive for meat not on the label after their inspectors found ham slices containing no ham, lamb doners with no lamb, and pork sausages packed with beef.
The Active Cyber Defence (ACD) programme seeks to reduce the harm from commodity cyber attacks against the UK. The new report (PDF), written by the NCSC’s Technical Director Ian Levy, presents an honest analysis of the outcomes achieved in the ACD’s second year of operation. It covers a range of services from within the ACD programme, which includes:
- Takedown Service: removing malicious content so it can’t cause harm
- Mail Check: helping domain owners understand and control abuse of their email
- Domain Discovery: helping system owners understand what internet domains they
- Web Check: proactively scanning websites for simple vulnerabilities and issues
- Protective DNS: protecting the public sector at scale from harmful internet stuff
- Routing and signalling: protecting the protocols that route our traffic around the
- Host-based capability: getting a handle on public sector IT
- Vulnerability Disclosure Platform: making it easy to report vulnerabilities in govern
- Suspicious email incubator: building a service to help the public report on suspicious
stuff and automatically take protective action
You can also read a blog post written by Ian Levy discussing the report and its impact.
Individuals pretending to be police officers and traffic wardens are targeting members of the public.
• Increased number of reports to Action Fraud of fraudsters claiming to be police officers or traffic wardens.
• A number of reports have been linked to elderly and vulnerable victims.
• If your bank card is retained by an ATM machine, contact your bank immediately to inform them.
Action Fraud has received 33 reports since January 2019 of victims being targeted by individuals purporting to be police officers and traffic wardens. A number of these victims have been elderly and vulnerable.
The victims are being approached while in their car or in a car park and told by the suspect that they have parked illegally or broken a speed limit and that a photo has been taken of their car for evidence. Victims are advised that they will face a substantial penalty fine unless they pay a smaller upfront fee.
Victims, who opt for paying the smaller penalty, will be directed to a parking metre and asked to enter their card and PIN number. The cards are then retained by the machine and the fraudsters look over the victim’s shoulder to get their PIN number.
- If you are suspicious about the authenticity of the fine, do not pay it until you have verified it with your local council.
- Always shield your PIN from view when using an ATM machine, and never share your PIN with anyone.
- If your bank card is retained by an ATM machine, contact your bank immediately to inform them.
Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “This is a highly planned fraud that takes advantage of the pressure victims feel to pay the fine, especially by those who are elderly and vulnerable.
“It is important that people shield your PIN from view when using an ATM machine. We are urging people to be particularly cautious of anyone claiming to be from an official authority. If in doubt, verify the person’s identity with your local council or police force.”
Scammers are targeting pension pots of all sizes. Make sure you know how to spot the warning signs and how to keep your pension safe.
Pension scams can be hard to spot. Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
How pension scams work
Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or even advertise online.
Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them (or to release funds from it). It is often then:
- invested in unusual and high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units;
- invested in more conventional products, but within an unnecessarily complex structure which hides multiple fees and high charges; or
- simply stolen outright.
The warning signs
Scam offers often include:
- Free pension reviews
- Higher returns – guarantees they can get you better returns on your pension savings
- Help to release cash from your pension, even though you’re under 55 (an offer to release funds before age 55 is highly likely to be a scam).
- High pressure sales tactics – the scammers may try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or even send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents.
- Unusual investments – which tend to be unregulated and high risk, and may be difficult to sell if you need access to your money.
- Complicated structures where it isn’t clear where your money will end up.
- Long-term pension investments – which mean it could be several years before you realise something is wrong.
4 simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams
Step 1 – Reject unexpected offers
If you’re contacted out of the blue about a pension opportunity, chances are it’s high risk or a scam. If you get a cold call about your pension, the safest thing to do is to hang up – it’s illegal and probably a scam.
Be wary of offers of free pension reviews. Professional advice on pensions is not free – a free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam.
And don’t be talked into something by someone you know. They could be getting scammed, so check everything yourself.
Step 2 – Check who you’re dealing with
- Check the Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and they are permitted to provide those services in relation to pensions. If you need any help checking, call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
- Check they are not a clone – a common scam is to pretend to be a genuine FCA authorised firm (called a ‘clone firm’). Always use the contact details on the Register, not the details the firm gives you.
Step 3 – Don’t be rushed or pressured
- Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’. Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.
Step 4 – Get impartial information or advice
You should seriously consider seeking financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements.
- The Pensions Advisory Service – provide free independent and impartial information and guidance.
- Pension Wise – If you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution pension, Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options.
- Financial advisers – It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances so you should seriously consider using the services of a financial adviser. If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use an adviser that is regulated by the FCA and never take advice from the company that contacted you or from someone they recommend, as this may be part of the scam.
If you suspect a scam, report it
- Report to Action Fraud – If you suspect a scam you should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
- If you’ve agreed to transfer your pension and now suspect a scam, contact your pension provider straight away. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet. If you are unsure of what to do contact The Pensions Advisory Service for help on 0800 011 3797.
Counter-fraud measures are to be set up for the apprenticeship funding programme, the government has insisted, amid warnings from the National Audit Office that not enough care is being taken to prevent a repeat of the Individual Learning Accounts fiasco.
Worried about the repeat of the multi million pound fraud 15 years ago, the NAO has found that the Department for Education still has no contingency plan if levy and funding reforms do not work out as planned.
The DfEhas stated “We are working closely with colleagues from across Government to implemnt counter-fraud measures for the new funding system”
The failure of the Individual Learning Accounts scheme led to a reported £67 million fraud after abuse of systems by unscupulous and fraudulent providers and suppliers.
But, a damning report from the NAO has raised concerns that lessons have not been learned, raising the risk of “market abuse” as it warned that not enough has been done to ensure robust control mechanisms are in place to identify how providers,employers and assessment bodies implement and manage the scheme.
The Times suggests that the intrduction of the levy could lead to Shocking and prevalent examples of fraud” unless robust safeguards are put in place. The levy on the payroll bills of large employers is expected to generate £3 billion a year in 2019/20,
triggering concerns about the risk of some employers and training providers using “questionable work arounds” to access and misuse public funding.
The warning was issued as new figures reveal that 114 cases of suspected fraud or misappropriation of funding were investigated by the Skills Funding Agency over a 3 year period.
About this Event
Are you an apprenticeship provider, employer provider or supporting provider who is about to resubmit an application for RoATP?
Are you contemplating your first application to become an ESFA approved apprenticeship provider?
The Tackling Economic Crime Awards which were launched earlier this year – which we are proud to be supporting. The TECAs are an independent awards scheme which serve to acknowledge and reward those who make a significant contribution in tackling all areas of economic crime such as fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption.
The TECAs are free to enter and open to organisations, teams and individuals working in the UK; operating in the public, private and third sectors.
Entry is open until 1st August 2019 and nominations are invited in the following categories:
Outstanding Manager or Director Outstanding Team
Outstanding Customer Service Initiative Outstanding New Product
Outstanding Training Initiative Outstanding Partnership
Outstanding Investigator Outstanding Policing Initiative
Outstanding Young Professional Outstanding Cyber Company
Outstanding Female Professional Outstanding Prevention Initiative
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winners will be announced on Monday, 9th December 2019 at a prestigious awards dinner to be held at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel in central London.
If you, your organisation or someone you know has made a significant contribution in tackling any area of economic crime we urge you to enter to be in with a chance to be formally recognised.
More information about the TECAs can be found at www.thetecas.com
Contact The Forum
John Heslop : NEFF Secretary / Administrator
North East Fraud Forum
C/o Tait Walker LLP
Newcastle upon Tyne
Email:- [email protected]