The Anonymous Widower

An Open Letter To Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard

In the article in Friday’s Standard with the front page headline, Force Banks To Fight Web Fraudyou say that the banks must fight web fraud.

I agree that banks must be forced to report all frauds to the Police.

As someone, who has analysed a lot of databases in his time, I know from experience with some of the best consultants in the City, that properly analysed these reports will uncover valuable patterns that will help police locate the perpetrators. The findings should result in sensible advice that would help both the banks and customers.

My worry is that the banks will introduce levels of security, that mean you have to do things like access your bank account with a dongle or install special protection software on your computer. This approach just means that criminals use the new restrictions as new ways to fool clients.

In my view, banks need to think deeply about adding new features to their banking systems for the benefit and protection of customers.

So what would I do?

1. A friend was robbed at a cashpoint and someone took his card and got him to give up his pin at knife-point. I think we should all have an emergency pin, that if typed into a cashpoint, indicates something is wrong. The machine keeps the card and perhaps gives out a minimum amount of money, saying that the client has no funds available.

2. We should be able to set a limit on payments, above which the bank sends us a text message, to say that we’ve just paid £220 to Marks and Spencer. So if say your card details had been stolen, you would at least get an early warning.

3. We should also be able to lock bank accounts. Say you were going away for a month and during that time, you would not be accessing your bank account. You would enter an extra password, which only you would know, that stopped access to your account until it was re-entered.

If banks were to think what customers actually want and not waste their time selling them junk products, we might get a banking system that was fit for purpose and very secure.

Banks should do other things.

1. Some of the work I know was done with my software, allows banks to profile how customers access their accounts. Are they doing enough in this area to fight crime? I doubt it.

2. Banks should also only use systems and programmers based in the UK, as this would mean that those responsible for any serious breaches or problems can have their collar felt.

Personally, I also always access my banking from the same computer, which stays locked in my house and has never left. Those that use apps on their mobile for banking deserve all the trouble they get!


December 8, 2014 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Spam Purporting To Come From DFS

I’ve just had one of those spam e-mails looking for agents, that says it has come from DFS.

It might have come from DFS in somewhere else, but it had all the hallmarks of fraud and may have started its journey in Paraguay.

So beware!

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Computing | , , | Leave a comment

Is Sochi A Monstrous Scam?

I have just read this report on the BBC’s web site.

Admittedly it is from May last year, but in a few weeks time, we’ll see whether the Games will be worth the reported $50 million spent.

The Times had a news report yesterday, where Giuan-Franco Kasper, the Head of World Skiing, said that a third of the cost had been lost to fraud.

The 2014 Winter Olympics could be one of the best examples of car crash television for some time.  Especially, after reading about the climate on Wikipedia and reading reports that there hasn’t been much snow in the area.

January 12, 2014 Posted by | Sport, World | , | 2 Comments

Kicking A Bank When It’s Down

I keep all the scamming e-mails, that I get sent, so I can see any trends. If for instance I were to see a large number attacking the bank I use, it would put me on alert, and I’d be very careful in checking my account.

Over the last few months, RBS and its subsidiary, Natwest have had a series of well-documented computer problems. So as customers of this group now seem to be the target of most of my scam e-mails, could it be that the scammers get a higher chance to fraudulently remove money from a customer of a bank, that has a series of computer problems, as this softens customers up.

So perhaps, if your bank continually annoys you with unavailability of the service and security lapses, you should move to one that is more reliable.

Perhaps, the Financial Conduct Authority, should publish a web site, showing all of the failures of banks, building societies and credit cards. Then we’d all be able to sort the good from the bad.

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Computing | , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Analysis Of Bank Phishing E-Mails

I have been collecting bank phishing e-mails since July.

I’ve received a hundred and six of them, with most banks being mentioned a couple of times. The scores were as follows.

Halifax – 2

Nationwide – 2

HSBC – 9

Santander – 2

Lloyds – 2

But this is dwarfed by twenty six aimed at customers of RBS and Natwest. Let’s face it, if you’re a phishing expert, you might target a bank with well-publices problems, as an e-mail about security issues might be expected. Incidentally, I’ve never had an e-mail of any sort from Nationwide, except for a monthly one, to say that my statement is ready. But that has no links in it.

So that is another reason to leave the bank, as because you are obviously not that savvy in staying with them, you might be the sort of person, who falls victim to the scam.

But I wouldn’t think of moving to Barclays, as they score a massive 53 in the period.

It would seem to me, that the time you are most vulnerable to scams is just after you’ve changed banks, so as there are still Barclays phishing e-mails flying around, I’d avoid them.

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Banks Help To Cut Fraud By Doing Simple Things?

A couple of days ago, I noticed a spurious and unknown payment in my bank account for £115.73. It was just labelled Bank Ctedit, with no indication as to who had sent it.

Checking for those that usually pay money into my account, I could not find a similar payment in the past. So I came to the conclusion, it was probably an error in the banking system. Or possibly some clever fraud! But then I’m cynical.

This morning it revealed itself as a rebate from nPower, who supply my electricity and gas. Perhaps four days ago, they read my electricity meter, so there is a possible explanation.

But supposing that the credit had been a debit, or I had not noticed it, as many people don’t check their bank statements every day, as I do.

Now if the banks put more information on the pending debits and credits, which they must have, it might help cut fraud, in that customers would be alerted to what was happening earlier.

It’s the same with cashpoint withdrawals, where the information is very minimal.  How many people would spot a fraudulent withdrawal from their bank account, from the information given now. If the withdrawals were properly labelled, customers would probably spot an illegal one earlier and more easily.

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Getting Fed Up With Tax Refund Spam

For the last few days, I had several of that old chestnut the Tax Refund Alert spam message.

Obviously, it must work with idiots out there as why do they persist, but now it is just boring.

It’s a pity, there isn’t a simple way to get back at idiots like this.

For those who phone me trying to scam me, I usually say can you phone me on my alternative number and give them a suitable alternative, like the Fraud Reporting Office of the Metropolitan Police.  They never phone back!

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , , , | Leave a comment

A Clever Phishing E-Mail Supposedly From O2

I just received an e-mail supposedly from O2 asking me to change my user name. This is the body.

Hello ,
We recently asked you to change your O2 Username.
To change the username to email please click on this link below to confirm this email and finish changing your username.
To keep your details safe, this link will only work for 48 hours from the time it was sent, so please click it now.
Sorry, but we can’t write back to you from this address, so please don’t reply to it. If you need further assistance, please contact Customer Services.

I am a customer of O2, but I never access them on-line, so I was a bit puzzled to start with.  I then noticed it came to an old e-mail address, I only used for support on a company I owned. I then checked the headers and found that the e-mail came from Turkey.

It didn’t fool me, but it does show that phishing e-mails are getting more credible.

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | Leave a comment

What A Surprise!

This story from the BBC web site doesn’t affect me, as I only drink the odd bottle of what is best described as a properly made gluten-free beer like Celia.  Here’s the first couple of paragraphs.

Beer drinkers in the US have filed a $5m (£3.3m) lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its beer.

The lawsuits, filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states, claim consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content stated on beer labels.

The suit involves 10 Anheuser-Busch beers including Budweiser and Michelob.

It certainly reminds me of that joke about that terrible beer of the 1960s, Watney’s Red Barrel.

Why is drinking Watney’s Red Barrel, like having sex in a punt? They’re both f**king close to water.

Although, I suspect the joke has been updated several times since.

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Food, News | , , | Leave a comment

The Danger Of Religious Fraud

This story is running on BBC’s London News. This is the first part.

TV shows made in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer have been condemned by charities.

Charities criticised an episode of the Miracle Hour show, on Faith World TV, during which a diabetic caller was told he was “set free” from the disease.

“It is particularly dangerous and puts his life at risk,” said African Health Policy Network head Francis Kaikumba.

It strikes me that when people like these make dangerous television programs like this, that the law should get involved.

At least they should be charged with fraud, as that is what it is!

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Health, News | , , , | 2 Comments