The UK government has launched a specialist cyber-enforcement team and allocated extra funding for Trading Standards as part of a campaign designed to clamp down on online scams. OFT figures suggest online scams claim 3 million UK marks every year and result in losses of £3.5bn. Approaches most often arrive in the form of scam …
Another pointless, headline - grabbing waste of money initiative by Brown and his gang of idiots
but nothing will knock trying to use the loss of his daughter for electioneering political capital from the pinnacle of the crassness league table.
About bloody time
Scams are legion on gumtree (try the London housing section some time), and the police don't care.
"take the fight to these criminals." ?
Just about all of them are abroad. Once the money has been Western Unioned, that's it.
The police aren't interested. Understandably, as there's nothing they can do.
The volunteer sites such as www.scamwarners.com do more to fight scammers than officialdom.
Two questions spring to mind.
1. What proportion of these sites are hosted and/or run from the UK?
2. What jurisdiction will this cyber-scam crackdown team have over sites that are hosted/run from another country?
It's not OFT officials that need training to address this problem, it's members of the public.
You can't legislate against gullibility...
In my experience most scams, whether email, surfing or (since a century before the internet) the postbox, are aimed at the greedy and/or the gullible. Most scams shouldn't fool a child - but 1000s seem to fall for them every year. I've read stories in the press, or seen them on TV, of scam victims whose stupidity simply strains credulity. The Nigerian scam, for instance, is STILL fooling people - and that's been going on in some form or other for over a century at least.
A TV documentary some time ago had a (suitably anonymised) con artist telling the interviewer his philosophy. A simple matter as he saw it. The mark was ready, willing - even eager - to be parted from his money. All it took was to tempt his greed. The conman's excuse being that if he didn't take the mark's money, then the next conman down the road would. The mark was going to be conned sooner or later and that was that - if you didn't do it, the next guy would.
Obviously, I DON'T agree with that philosophy - but I can see its saccharin appeal to people looking for easy money. Not that every conman even needs an excuse.
By all means catch and punish scam artists and conmen - if only because they prey so often on the most vulnerable in our society. And that includes big business so much of the time, not just common criminals.
But it must all start with education - preferably, these days via TV and the internet - LOTS of education, not just the occasional gesture. Education for our policemen too, whose computer dyslexia is often disgraceful. If there's money to spare, spend it on alerting and educating people. A nice grant to organisations like scamwarners.com, and more sites and services like them, might be a good step - people who really know their business.
Ultimately, though, as some wit once said, "It is not the business of government to ... preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly."
@ You can't legislate against gullibility
The "traditional" 419 scam does catch the occasional victim, but the majority of victims nowadays fall for scams that mimic normal commercial transactions and day to day activities.
Buying and selling on Craigslist, fake jobs, romance scams, pets for adoption, and fake charities.
They do not make the headlines, or take huge sums off a few victims. But overall, I have no doubt that they catch more victims and rake in more money.
A change of heart
So, after 13 years of resolute disinterest in the affairs of the Great Unwashed Labour (with regard to helping them at least, screwing them is quite another matter) are suddenly full of prole friendly 'eye-catching initiatives' - hey, and it's coming up to an election in which Labour are very likely to take a serious caning.
I'm not sure what's more depressing; a raft of Labour policies aimed cynically at those they have effectively disenfranchised (to be magically disappeared should a miracle occur) or the fact that that long ignored section of society will probably swallow this crap in sheer desperation, ignoring the fact that the party long ago abandoned soap boxes for champagne cases.
If they were serious about fraud, they could do worse than go after the corporate fraudsters they've done so much to help over the years.
I'm sure I'm reading this wrongly, but...
"OFT figures suggest online scams claim 3 million UK marks every year and result in losses of £3.5bn"
Am I reading this correctly? Does each mark really cost the country £1 million? If so, how?!?
More labour voters
Just another taxpayer funded sinecure. Millions of these captive labour shills will vote to keep their useless public funded jobs from being cut after the next election, regardless of the effect on the rest of us and the country in general. I hope there are enough real people left to get this lot out.
You ARE reading it wrongly.
£3.5 billion / 3 million marks = £1167 / mark
A billion is always regarded as 1,000 millions these days.