Met Police chief: Social media leads children to violence

The UK’s top police officer has blamed social media for normalising violence and leading more children to commit stabbings and murders. Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick told the Times social media sites “rev people up” and make street violence “more likely”. Fatal stabbings in England and Wales are at their highest levels since 2011.

 What can parents do about social media leading children to violence?

Parents can remind the children and young people in your care that…

  • Smartphones are everywhere. It is really easy for someone to take a photo or video of a young person involved in something spontaneous like a fight and share it with others online. This can have a permanent effect on their online and offline reputation. How would the video or image be viewed by a future employer or university recruiter?
  • Drama between friends can seem so important at the time, but in a few weeks, they’ll look back and won’t remember why they were so concerned about it.
  • If they hear plans of a fight, or something similar, spreading across their social media feeds, they should let an adult know about it. They won’t get into any trouble.
  • It can be easy to get irate and self-righteous on social media and become caught up in an unhealthy group mentality. It could be because of someone’s comment that they found offensive, or to fight for a collective cause. But things aren’t always as they seem – often comments only seem offensive after being taken out of context, for example.
  • When you’re part of a group, it’s easy to join sides and become aggressive. Advise your child that things can quickly escalate and move into the territory of group attacking or bullying.
  • Young people should be encouraged to think before they post on social media, and be reminded that silly comments they’ll probably regret in the future can have a permanent effect on their online reputation.

What If your child has been involved?

  • If you find out your child has been involved in a fight, the first thing you’ll worry about is whether they’re physically OK. After you’ve established that, you’ll need to have a serious conversation with them about why they got into a fight. Try not to seem too accusatory, or upset, as this may prevent them from opening up to you. As always, making sure all lines of communication are kept open is a priority with this kind of issue.
  • If there is footage of your child in a fight – whether they’re the perpetrator, or the one being targeted – it isn’t something you want online for other people to see. Find out who posted the content, and ask them to take it down. If the incident is linked to school, they can help you do this. If the person who posted the content is unknown, contact the social media platform to ask them to take it down. Find out how here (link is external).
  • It may be that you can’t control the spread of the footage. If that is the case, support your child. As with all bad experiences, there are lessons to be learnt. Make a plan together of how they will avoid situations like this in the future. Good plans usually focus on getting rid of negative influences and avoiding high risk situations. Discuss with them how they can spend more time on positive friendships and activities.
  • If your child sees this sort of content on social media and tells you about it, remind them that this sort of violence is never acceptable, even if it is a joke or prank and the chances are that somebody has got hurt. Encourage them to always report the content to their school, as well as the social media network they’re using. Instagram in particular has a very strong stance against bullying.
  • Both resorting to physical aggression as a way of dealing with a problem, or fighting just for the ‘fun’ of it, may point to a deeper emotional issue. You may want to ask them if there’s anything else in their lives that’s worrying them. Remind them that it’s very important they find other ways of dealing with problems, such as communication, negotiation and compromise, as carrying this violent behaviour into adulthood could get them into serious trouble in the future.

You may feel your child needs professional help with anger or other problems. Young Minds has some good advice (link is external) on anger, aggression and violence in young people and what parents can do to help their children.

Be aware of callers claiming to be from Police Station and asking for bank card details.

Officers have responded to several reports of a caller claiming to have arrested suspects who were in possession of bank cards belonging to the victims, before asking for confirmation of their card details.

If you or your family get a phone call like the ones we’ve described, hang up – do not provide any personal details or hand anything over and call police on 101. You can also report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.

It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find

Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data. We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed. So in addition to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcements last week – cracking down on abuse of the Facebook platform, strengthening our policies, and making it easier for people to revoke apps’ ability to use your data – we’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy. Most of these updates have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance.

Making Data Settings and Tools Easier to Find

Controls that are easier to find and use. We’ve redesigned our entire settings menu on mobile devices from top to bottom to make things easier to find. Instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens, they’re now accessible from a single place. We’ve also cleaned up outdated settings so it’s clear what information can and can’t be shared with apps.

A comparison of the old settings menu (left) and new settings menu (right).

New Privacy Shortcuts menu. People have also told us that information about privacy, security, and ads should be much easier to find. The new Privacy Shortcuts is a menu where you can control your data in just a few taps, with clearer explanations of how our controls work. The experience is now clearer, more visual, and easy-to-find. From here you can:

  • Make your account more secure: You can add more layers of protection to your account, like two-factor authentication. If you turn this on and someone tries to log into your account from a device we don’t recognize, you’ll be asked to confirm whether it was you.
  • Control your personal information: You can review what you’ve shared and delete it if you want to. This includes posts you’ve shared or reacted to, friend requests you’ve sent, and things you’ve searched for on Facebook.
  • Control the ads you see: You can manage the information we use to show you ads. Ad preferences explains how ads work and the options you have.
  • Manage who sees your posts and profile information: You own what you share on Facebook, and you can manage things like who sees your posts and the information you choose to include on your profile.

Tools to find, download and delete your Facebook data. It’s one thing to have a policy explaining what data we collect and use, but it’s even more useful when people see and manage their own information. Some people want to delete things they’ve shared in the past, while others are just curious about the information Facebook has. So we’re introducing Access Your Information – a secure way for people to access and manage their information, such as posts, reactions, comments, and things you’ve searched for. You can go here to delete anything from your timeline or profile that you no longer want on Facebook.

We’re also making it easier to download the data you’ve shared with Facebook – it’s your data, after all. You can download a secure copy and even move it to another service. This includes photos you’ve uploaded, contacts you’ve added to your account, posts on your timeline, and more.

The Road Ahead

It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people. We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.

We’ve worked with regulators, legislators and privacy experts on these tools and updates. We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks..

What does the National Cybercrime Security Centre (NCSC) think of password managers?

 People keep asking the NCSC if it’s OK for them to use password managers (sometimes called password vaults). If so, which ones? Who should use them – private citizens, small businesses, massive enterprises? And how should people use them? Is it safe to put all your crucial passwords into a password manager, and forget trying to remember any at all?

This is a big topic, so we’re chunking it up. This blog explains what I think about password managers in general, and how I use them myself. This might be helpful if you’re an individual deciding whether and how to use a password manager for your personal use. If you’re looking for business use, this blog post won’t hold all the answers you need (look out for more from the NCSC on this soon).

Should I use a password manager?

Yes. Password managers are a good thing.

They give you huge advantages in a world where there’s far too many passwords for anyone to remember. For example:

  • they make it easy for you to use long, complex, unique passwords across different sites and services, with no memory burden
  • they are better than humans at spotting fake websites, so they can help prevent you falling for phishing attacks
  • they can generate new passwords when you need them and automatically paste them into the right places
  • they can sync your passwords across all your devices, so you’ll have them with you whether you’re on your laptop, phone or tablet

All these things are full of win. They reduce security friction – making security easier and more convenient.  If security is difficult, tedious, appears to add no value or gets in the way of the main task we’re trying to do, then we tend to find (insecure) ways around it. And then we end up less protected.

Well, that all sounds great. Where’s the catch?

You might be thinking “If password managers are this good, why haven’t you recommended them before now?”

Well, they do have some drawbacks:

  • Password managers are attractive targets in themselves. They’ve been successfully attacked in the past, and realistically they will be again. So all your passwords could get stolen in one go.
  • If you forget the master password for your password manager, you will not be able to get back in. You will have to try and access all your accounts individually, or recreate/reset them from scratch. This will hurt.
  • You can’t use them for everything. Some service providers (such as certain banks) don’t support the use of password managers. If you tell them you’ve put your banking passwords into one (or written them down in any way at all) they might not give you your money back if you are the victim of cyber crime. If your bank is one that takes this stance, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to manage critical passwords without writing them down. On the brighter side, this is much easier to do once you’ve got most of your passwords out of your head and into the password manager.

Should I use a browser-based password manager?

Many web browsers now come with password managers built in, and they can be a very good choice. They are very convenient to use, as they are fully integrated with the web browser – so they know when you’re on a website that needs a password, and they just pop up and do their thing. You don’t even have to remember a separate master password. So feel free to use the built-in password manager, provided that:

  1. You keep your web browser up-to-date.
  2. You have some kind of access control on your device such as a PIN/password/biometric
    …two things you should be doing anyway!

One drawback with browser-based password managers is that your passwords may not automatically sync between all your devices if these use different operating systems. So, if you have a Windows laptop, an iPad and an Android smartphone, your passwords may not follow you around everywhere – unless you use the same web-browser on all your devices and log into it. Also, if more than one person uses a device on the same user profile, they would all have access to the same password-protected content. You may not want that.

Should I use a standalone password manager?

Compared to browser-based managers, standalone password managers tend to do a better job of keeping your passwords available to you on all your different devices, no matter what platform they’re on. They give you a little more control over when and where you use your passwords, as you get to press a button to say ‘I want to use the password please’, rather than the web page in the browser requesting one when it feels like it. Importantly, with a standalone password manager you do have to create and remember a long master passphrase (unlike with a browser-based one). Standalone password managers may also include more advanced features, such as:

  • notifications about compromised websites
  • flagging up reused or weak passwords
  • prompting you to change old passwords*
  • helping you change passwords for some websites, by integrating with your browser
  • multi-factor authentication

How do I do this, then?

As with many things, there are lots of different ways of going about this. This is what I do myself:

  1. First, try and cut down the number of passwords in your life, and reduce how much you rely on those passwords to prove who you are. Use multi-factor authentication or single sign-on where available. For infrequently-used passwords, use a password reset mechanism when you need to log in (instead of making any attempt to recall or store the password). But take really good care of the email account that the password reset emails are sent to.
  2. Consider biometrics. Fingerprint readers on smartphones are generally good enough to protect your phone and the data on it, and they are very usable. So feel free to use them. Turn on encryption (if it’s not already on) for extra protection.
  3. Decide whether to use a browser-based or a standalone password manager. Personally, I use both, for different things.
  4. If you use a standalone password manager, make its master passphrase the best you possibly can. We suggest a passphrase rather than a password as it’s much easier to make it really long, and adding length gives much more protection than adding complexity. Make it hard for someone who knows you to guess in 20 attempts, and make it totally different from any password or passphrase you’ve ever used anywhere else.
  5. Memorise your passphrase. Yes, you really do have to, sorry! If it helps, write it on a piece of paper until it’s firmly lodged in your memory. Keep the piece of paper very safe, and destroy it when you’ve memorised the password.
  6. Don’t put any work passwords into your personal password manager unless you’ve got permission from your employer.

Finally, think about how important each password is to you for each account. If someone discovered this password, would it result in

  • your life being ruined?
  • your bank refusing to refund any lossesIf the answer to either is ‘yes’, then I wouldn’t put it in a password manager. For these cases, a password shouldn’t be the only thing that the security of your account rests on. So look at extra defences such as multi-factor authentication.

For other, less important accounts, having the password stolen might be massively inconvenient, but there would be no real permanent damage done. Passwords for these accounts should be OK to go into your password manager. Some accounts have very low value. For instance, an online forum that requires a password, but doesn’t actually hold any personal information you care about. These passwords can be stored in a password manager without a second thought.

A future without passwords?

Long-term, I think the success of password managers shows  – yet again –  that password-based authentication has outstayed its welcome. Passwords are supposed to be ‘something you know’, but now we’re saying the best way to manage them is not to know them (because your password manager knows them all for you). Passwords have taken us a long way, but now it’s really time to move on. The NCSC is working to help us all reduce our reliance on passwords, and to move towards a future where we make greater use of better, more secure, more usable authentication mechanisms instead. In the meantime, we’re also working on some guidance on how best to use password managers in organisations – look out for this soon.

Password managers are a good thing – for now. But we hope not forever.

Source: What does the NCSC think of password managers? – NCSC Site

The top 8 frauds to watch out for in 2018

A new report from NatWest has identified the top ways they expect fraudsters will try and get their hands-on people’s cash in 2018. NatWest has worked with research agency The Future Laboratory to analyse data from the last 18 months to predict eight frauds expected to emerge in 2018.

Eight scams to watch out for in 2018 

  1. Social media spying. People might not realise how much information they are giving away, but to a fraudster the posts can be very helpful in setting up a scam.
  2.  Malicious software on smartphones. It is expected that malware or malicious software threats will grow among mobile devices.
  3. Bogus Brexit investments. Consumers should be wary of fake investment opportunities. For example, fraudsters may email customers, warning Brexit will affect their savings, and that they urgently need to move them into a seemingly plausible, but actually fake, investment product.
  4. Fraudsters preying on World Cup excitement. Some fraudsters will sell football tickets that are either fake or will never arrive. It is also expected that “package trips” will be offered by fake travel companies. Always buy tickets from a reputable source.
  5. Money mules. Mule recruiters may trawl social media for potential targets, particularly cash-strapped students in university towns, and use them to inadvertently launder money. Money mules receive the stolen funds into their account, they are then asked to withdraw it and send the money to a different account, often one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.
  6. Wedding excitement. Experts fear couples could be easy prey for fraudsters who tempt victims with extravagant offers at bargain prices. Fraudsters can set up fake websites for elements of the big day like venue hire, catering, or wedding dresses that appear very realistic. Fake wedding planners will take people’s money and then disappear.
  7. Romance scams. Criminals create fake profiles to form a relationship with their victims. They use messaging to mine victims’ personal details to use for identity fraud. Or, just when the victim thinks they have met the perfect partner the fraudsters asks them for money.
  8. Scams aimed at first-time buyers. Computer hackers monitor emails sent by a solicitor to a first-time buyer and then they pounce, pretending to be the solicitor and telling them the solicitors’ bank account details have changed in order to steal cash.

Julie McArdle, NatWest security manager said: “Scammers are dogged in their attempts to get their hands on people’s money and are always looking for new ways to get ahead. This means banks and customers need to evolve alongside scammers too. By being aware and staying ahead of scammers, we can stop them winning and keep the country’s money safe and secure.”

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by using the online reporting tool.

No excuses: how to tighten up your online security in 10 minutes | Cyber Aware | The Guardian

It’s one of those “it’ll never happen to me” things. Sure, we’ve all got a friend whose cousin had their identity stolen online, but cybercrime is so uncommon, isn’t it?

Not according to an Office for National Statistics survey. There were 3.7 million victims of fraud and computer misuse in the year ending September 2017, meaning you are 35 times more likely to encounter it than robbery. The good news is there are very simple things you can do to tighten up your online security right now, according to the government’s Cyber Aware campaign, which has been set up to help the public and small businesses better protect themselves from cybercrime.

Don’t say ‘remind me later’ to updates
It’s tempting to flick away a software or app update reminder, telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow, but updates are crucial to help protect devices from viruses and hackers. They’re designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps that hackers could potentially take advantage of. Set up your devices so updates are done automatically or, even better, at night when you’re sleeping.

Pa55word! is not gonna cut it any more
Cyber Aware says passwords are prime territory for hackers – so it’s high time you gave up using your dog’s name. Make sure you use strong, separate passwords for your most important accounts like your email, so that if hackers do manage to steal your password for, say, your fitness app, they can’t use it to access your banking app. Try using three random words which you can supplement with numbers and symbols, for example, 4wartschickenbath32£.

You should also use two-factor authentication, when available, to protect your email account, a handy tool to give it an extra layer of security. New research from Experian and Cyber Aware reveals that over half of all those surveyed aged 18-25 reuse their email password for other accounts – putting their cybersecurity and identity at risk. As a result, they’re urging Brits to help protect their email accounts from hackers with a strong and separate email password through the just-launched #OneReset campaign.

Set up screen locks
Did we say dead simple? Yes, this is about as easy as it gets in making your online security watertight. All devices should go to lock mode when you’re not using them. Pins, patterns or passwords to unlock them shouldn’t be easy to guess, like 1, 2, 3, 4 or an L shape (we’ve been through this, you’re better than that).

Back up, back up, back up
The one golden rule of smart online behaviour is to back up your data regularly. If your device is infected by a virus, malware or is hacked, you may not be able to access your data as it could be damaged, deleted or held to ransom. Use an external hard drive or the cloud to save copies of your photos and documents, but make sure the external hard drive is not permanently connected to the device – either physically or over a wifi connection – as it could become infected too.

Not all wifi is created equal
We all love a bit of free wifi, but be careful about using public hotspots to transfer sensitive information like credit card details. Hackers can set up networks, enabling them to intercept information you’re sending online. So it’s best to do your online banking and shopping on a trusted network.

‘Jailbreaking’ is a no-no
Here’s one for the more tech-savvy. “Jailbreaking” or “rooting” your smartphone means disabling software restrictions set up by the manufacturer so you can download apps and tools which aren’t available through official app stores. Doing so leaves your phone vulnerable to malware and invalidates the warranty of the device. You will also stop receiving software updates, which, if you’ve been paying attention, is bad news.

Spot the imposters
Cybercriminals can set up fake websites that look very similar to the real thing, in an effort to get you to share sensitive information such as your bank details. There might even be a padlock or “https” in the address bar but check thoroughly for misspelled names, and logos and design features that don’t quite look right. Wherever possible, type the address of the website directly into the browser yourself, or find the website using a search engine. If you notice something is up, get out quickly.

Resist the urge to open suspicious links or attachments
Haven’t heard from your cousin John in eons and he’s now sent an email with a link to win a free iPhone? Back away. Even if something arrives in your inbox supposedly from someone you know or a company you trust, it could be fake. Never respond to suspicious or unexpected emails, as this will let the sender know your email address is active. Flag it as spam and send it to trash where it belongs.

For advice on simple ways to be more secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website

Source: No excuses: how to tighten up your online security in 10 minutes | Cyber Aware | The Guardian

WhatsApp fraudsters turning ‘naive’ young people into money mules

New data, compiled from the National Fraud Database by not-for-profit fraud prevention body, Cifas, suggests in the past year there has there has been a “sharp rise” the number of 18 to 24 year-olds being tricked into using their bank accounts to transfer the proceeds of crime. According to the figures, there were 8,652 cases of ‘misuse of facility’ between January and the end of September this year, a 75 per cent rise.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sandra Peaston, Assistant Director at Cifas, said social media was being increasingly tool used by fraudsters to convert young people into accidental money launderers – by offering them fake money making schemes or even fake job offers, and then convincing people “who don’t ask many questions” to transfer money as a favour. ” The use of social media is one of the things we know is happening… be that by instant messages, or via adverts on YouTube. Ms Peaston said they were known to be using messaging apps such as WhatsApp to communicate with would-be victims.

Cifas is launching a ‘Don’t Be Fooled’ campaign alongside UK Finance that aims to deter young people – in particular, students – from becoming money mules. UK Finance added: “If an offer of easy money sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Source: WhatsApp fraudsters turning ‘naive’ young people into money mules

Common fraud threats

Being aware of common threats, knowing how they work and what to look out for can help to protect you against falling victim to fraud.

Here are some of the common techniques fraudsters attempt to use to trick you into giving away your personal information, banking details or even access to your computer.

Scam emails, texts or social media messages (Also known as Phishing and Malware)

Fraudsters send fake messages which appear to be authentic and from legitimate organisations.

Scam telephone calls (Vishing)

Fraudsters may phone you out of the blue and claim to be from the bank, police, or other reputable organisations, in an attempt to obtain your personal information and banking details.

 Investment scams

Investment scams or get rich quick scams happen when fraudsters pose as pushy salespeople and trick you into putting your money into a fake investment.

 

 

Pension scams

Pension scams happen when fraudsters pose as pension advisors and trick you into releasing your pension early or transferring your money into bogus investments that are guaranteed to grow in value and make you lavish returns.

Romance Fraud Scams

Online dating can be a wonderful way to get to know someone and find love, but it’s also a common way for fraudsters to scam you.

 

Invoice re-direction scams

Invoice re-direction scams can result in losses that run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. It happens when a fraudster tricks a business into changing bank account payee details for a known supplier.

Seniors & Cyber Crime – 5 Tips to Protect Yourself Now

Definition: hacker [ˈhakər] a person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.

Decades ago, hacking used to be something of a joke. A tech nerd living in their parents’ basement would see if they could gain access to the CIA or send a digital virus around the world. But today, it’s much more pervasive and sinister.

“This is now organized crime and their intentions are financially motivated,” says cyber security expert Daniel Tobok, CEO of CytelligenceTM. “They want to make money and they want to steal money.”

Tobok says although we’re all vulnerable to cybercrime, seniors are much most at risk. “They understand how to protect themselves from a bad guy at the door, they don’t always understand that the person pretending to be your friend on Facebook® could be a hacker trying to steal your information, access your computer to obtain your financial information and so much more.”

“I think everybody can be dumb at times,” says Dr. Tom Keenan, author of Technocreep. “People are generally pleasant, but if a weird, creepy person came up to you in the park and started asking you about your medical history and stuff like that and offered you a free magazine, you’d probably run the other way.” Yet when it comes to giving free information away on social media, we’re sharing too much.

Awareness is the Key

Tobok stresses that education, awareness and being cautious, even a little paranoid, is healthy and could prevent half of cyber security issues.

Phishing

Phishing is a major point of entry for criminals. This is where you’re sent an email, text message, Facebook message or more asking you to click on a link, open up an attachment, change your password etc. The emails can look very real, like they’re coming from your bank, a friend, the government or a retailer – but they’re not real. They’re coming from criminals. And with our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to not pay attention and accidentally click on something you didn’t mean to. However, that one misstep can allow hackers to see everything you’re doing on your computer. If you went to their fake website and entered in your personal information, they now have that info, too.

5 Tips to Protect Yourself Now

  1. Never give any personal information over the phone, email, text or social media to anyone.
  2. Don’t click on jokes, attachments or links that you aren’t 100% sure are authentic.
  3. Use antivirus software and make sure your computer, smartphone and tablet are up-to-date.
  4. Don’t use free WiFi – especially if you’re checking your online banking or using your credit or debit card to purchase something online.
  5. Be careful using free apps, games and software – they’re free for a reason and could be using your computer, phone or tablet to track you, install malware (malicious software) or gain access to your sensitive and financial information – or worse.

If you have a smartphone, it may not feel like it, but you have a very powerful computer in your hands. You need to know how to protect yourself while using it.

Fraudsters stole £875k from vulnerable pensioners in Spain timeshare scam – Coventry Telegraph

Police say they are intent on rooting out fraud after a group of scammers conned hundreds of sick and elderly victims out of £875,000. The ‘cynical’ timeshare scam saw around 470 vulnerable people – often elderly and those in poor health – targeted in a three-part scam.

First, the victims were cold called by the scammers who falsely informed them prospective buyers had been found for their timeshare properties – most of which are in Spain. However, the group demanded advance ‘sale fees’ from the victims to support the fake transactions. Further attempts to gain yet more money were then made under the pretence that ‘sales had fallen through’ and needed more funding. Adding further insult to injury, the fraudsters then hit the same victims again, adopting different names and company names to contact them about the lost money. They then made false offers of further schemes and transactions to help the victims mitigate their losses. The third part of the scam saw members of the group contact victims pretending to be from the Spanish authorities. They stated that the funds would be returned to the victims’ bank accounts for an up-front fee.

To facilitate the frauds, the group set up more than ten limited companies (both in the UK and abroad), with offices in the West Midlands, staff, bank accounts, and the means to process card payments. Between 2012 and 2015, the fraudsters stole more than £875,000 in payments from their victims.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “This has been a long and complex investigation and I am pleased that the offenders have been brought before the courts this week to receive custodial sentences. These scammers targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our society in a deliberate and cynical campaign of fraud. Their scheme had devastating consequences on the victims – not just financially but emotionally too. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police remain committed to bringing to justice those who commit fraud and financial crime.”

Nine people have now been sentenced for their roles in the ‘deliberate and cynical’ timeshare fraud. Six men, three of which are from Redditch, have been jailed or a total of 20 years in prison following the sentencing at Stafford Crown Court between February 21 and 23:

  • Brian Carr, 31, from Redditch was charged with conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice. He was handed six years and eight months in prison and disqualified from holding the position of company director for ten years.
  • Daniel Carr, 24, also from Redditch was charged with conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years.
  • Dawn Gingell, 55, from Hampshire: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
  • James Barrass, 37, from Norwich, was charged with money laundering and handed a two-year prison sentence.
  • Craig Walker, 27, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years in prison.
  • Steven Cross, 37, from Worcester: Charged with conspiracy to defraud and jailed for six months.
  • Matthew Barker, 25, from Bromsgrove was charged with fraudulent trading and sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.
  • Brendan Hicks, 28, from Redditch was charged with fraudulent trading. He was sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months, and ordered to 250 hours of unpaid work.
  • Alan Sharp, 66, from Norwich was charged with money laundering and sentenced to a suspended sentence of eight months in prison and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

All defendants will now face proceedings to recover the funds stolen, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Source: Fraudsters stole £875k from vulnerable pensioners in Spain timeshare scam – Coventry Telegraph