The figures, for England and Wales, which are based on the 2011 census, show a 30% rise in the number of people reaching the age of 65, meaning that 169,000 more people this year are reaching retirement age compared to 2011, which is the highest ever number of 65-year-olds in history. Though the numbers are expected to fall back slightly, 3.3m people are predicted to reach that age within the next five years.
The rapid rise in those drawing their pension is put down to the baby boom at the end of the Second World War, with the mass demobilisation of servicemen, transforming family life in the UK.
As well as living longer, more of course are healthier and capable of contributing to society, which leads into the debate about the retirement age which is an ongoing issue. Though many are opposed to the raising of the retirement age, on the basis of this evidence it seems an inevitability.
Chisenga Mafuta was jailed for 24 weeks after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud in which he took Tristan Kirby’s bank details over the phone, whilst at work, and used them to pay for his own gas and electricity, worth about £500. Mr Mafuta also tried unsuccessfully to use Mr Kirby’s details at a coffee shop and shoe shop.
British Gas is looking into how such blatant fraud could occur in its workplace but was there anything that the company could so in such a case? Surely they have to put their trust in the workers they employ to do the right thing. As the chairman of the bench said in sentencing Mafuta, financial transactions depend on the trust vested in trading companies and its employees. What more could British Gas have done to ensure that he could not commit his crime?
Booking hotels or holiday apartments is a fraught business at the best of times but recent holiday rental fraud has shown that there is an additional concern to bear in mind.
Those booking for a fortnight in the sun should especially beware of bargains and last minute deals, but even the most established holiday rental websites are no protection against fraud, so those booking in this way should always take extra care.
There is however action that the consumer can take to try and avoid it happening to them. So, those visiting rental sites should be able to see how long a property has been advertised on a particular site and the longer it has been on, the less chance there is of it being a scam.
Though these bookings are often made online, without any human interaction being necessary, efforts at making human contact with the rental owner should be made. This can give some reassurance that it is genuine as well as giving information about the accommodation and the resort as a whole.
It is sensible in any case to have details of the owner and consumers should certainly get these at the booking stage as at that stage it can be determined that they are serious about staying in the property. When paying, a credit card gives the best protection against fraud or misrepresentation, so try and use one when booking.
These actions won’t completely protect you from the possibility of fraud but they are simple actions that can be taken to reduce the chance of it occurring and, they are also generally common sense procedures that should be taken by every potential holidaymaker.
Revenue and Customs officials have been urged, by MPs, to have new technology in place to tackle those people who are selling rebated fuel at inflated prices. More details here.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee has said that it is concerned that not enough is being done to sort out the problem of over £70m in tax revenue having been lost through gangs and paramilitaries in the province selling reduced agricultural diesel to ordinary drivers. The committee has called on Revenue and Customs to implement new rebated fuel marker technology as soon as possible.
With people throughout the UK panicking about a possible fuel shortage due to an impending tanker drivers strike, it may not be the last we hear about groups trying to make a fast buck out of fuel.
A Channel 4 investigation has found that a new contactless payment card from Barclays is especially vulnerable to fraud.
The new cards work in a similar way to Oyster cards on London Transport, in that they can be swiped at a terminal although only low level transactions can be made in this way. Barclays is not the only organisation to have introduced these cards which are appealing as they can potentially speed up transactions in-store. However the fraud risk will be a concern.
The investigation found that simply holding a smartphone with the right software near to the card would be enough to get private account details from it; it could take all the information listed on the front of Visa cards though would not be able to take details such as the PIN or CVV code not embedded in the card’s chip.
Barclays said that it was now talking to retailers to see that they were carrying out “adequate and robust” checks. Though I can see the benefit of these cards in that they would definitely speed up transactions and could signal the end of queuing at the checkout, the risks appear obvious and the investigation has done everyone a favour by clearly identifying them. What do you think?
Not for one particular policeman anyway as he faces a suspended prison sentence after defrauding a number of high street banks.
PC Jamie Hillman applied for loans or credit cards from the banks, including Northern Rock and Barclays, to fund an extra-marital affair with a female colleague from Avon and Somerset police force. In doing so he falsely claimed that he was a sergeant rather than a PC and also that he was a soldier who had been serving in Afghanistan.
At Bristol Crown Court, Hillman claimed that he was suffering from amnesia whilst committing the fraud which amounted to over 73,000. The judge in the case sympathized with Hillman to some extent, saying that he was emotionally fragile and had been brave for admitting the offences. He was given a 12-month custodial sentence which was suspended for two years.
Hillman was also ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work and there will be a confiscation hearing to determine repayments of the debt. However, he can perhaps count himself lucky that he didn t receive an immediate prison sentence for the offence. Would you have expected an immediate custodial sentence for those offences? Let me know.
Posted by admin | Posted in finance, legal | Posted on 13-03-2012
In what is perhaps unsurprising news, a new study has shown that consumers are more wary of the possibility of fraud when they are shopping online rather than when they conduct transactions in person.
The poll, commissioned by Accertify, the American Express fraud prevention and risk management provider, showed that two-thirds of those questioned believed that more fraud took place in online transactions than those conducted in person. It also found that almost half of those who used smartphones or web-enabled computers had encountered a fraud protection system which had delayed or stopped their transaction.
This can clearly affect shopping behaviour and many of those affected in this way said they were prepared to punish the firm responsible by moving their business over to a competitor. Mike Long, vice president at Accertify, said that there was a need for an automated fraud prevention system that could cope with emerging fraud threats and changes to businesses.
Interestingly, of those who shopped online, most placed trust in their own computer rather than their smartphone or tablet.
Posted by admin | Posted in finance, legal | Posted on 07-03-2012
An article on how the New Year will see a change in the way we pay for our goods reports on new developments such as buying through mobile phones and online shopping, which have increased apace during the last couple of years. Another development is quick response (QR) codes, which allow a consumer to scan a barcode with their camera, which then directs them to a voucher or special offer.
In amongst all the new developments aimed at consumers and their shopping experience, card-not-present fraud is identified as a live, current issue and new developments can help in this area too.
One such modification will make it possible for someone to process a transaction by checking a credit card through a webcam or a mobile camera, so it would, in effect be a card-present transaction, and works by using secure video streaming to identify and then approve the information on the credit card.
The customer would hold their card up to the camera, wait for it to initialise and then enter their card s security number to complete the purchase. It is in its early stages of development now, but will certainly take off in the coming months and should provide some reassurance to those who are concerned about providing their card details online.