Category Archives: Fraud

Thieves See Christmas Differently

As Christmas fast approaches, we’d like to share a few crime prevention tips that are known to be effective at this time of year.

  • Make approaching your home too conspicuous for burglars – Invest in motion sensor lights or even festive lighting.
  • Be secure, especially with festive lighting – Check for vulnerabilities around the home and garden such as feeding cables through open windows.
  • Create the illusion of occupancy when you’re away, especially at night. Use inexpensive light timers or a Fake TV to deter would-be thieves.
  • Create the illusion of occupancy when you’re away, especially at night. Use inexpensive light timers or a Fake TV to deter would-be thieves.
  • Away over Christmas? Ask a neighbour to park on the driveway, redirect parcels, and be sure to cancel milk or paper deliveries.
  • Be cyber aware and careful not to advertise your new gifts or trips away on social media! 
  •  Don’t hide spare keys and use alarms if you have them.

Protecting your home and family need not be time consuming or expensive; a few simple steps can make all the difference.

Don’t forget to register and protect gifts and valuables on Immobilise  – It is completely FREE and helps deter thieves and combat property crime. Visit immobilise.com and click on ‘register’ or if you already have an account, log in using your account details to update your property list.

We are offering 15% OFF all our marking and security products. Visit shop.immobilise.com using coupon code: Christmas15 on checkout. Discount available until Monday 4th January & includes FREE delivery on orders over £30!

Another (Important) Christmas Checklist

Many of us will have done much of our Christmas shopping online this year. For those of you intending to visit the high street, busy shopping areas can be magnets for pick-pockets and other criminals this time of year. It’s important to be as vigilant as ever and whilst out shopping: 

  • Put cash and cards away safely and try not to keep your valuables in one place, especially your phone – should your bag be lost or stolen you can still call for help.
  • Shield the keypad when typing in your PIN when making payments or withdrawing cash. 
  • Don’t make it easy for thieves by hanging bags on chairs. If you’re having a well-earned break, keep your bag and shopping in your eye-line and away from passing hands.
  • Avoid overtly wearing expensive jewellery and watches in public places. 
  • Park vigilantly in an open, well-lit area. Visit the website parkmark.co.uk for details of police approved car parks. It sounds simple but If you must store presents in a vehicle, make sure they are out of view and that the car is securely locked. 
  • If you witness a crime report it to shop staff or police dialling 999. For suspicions and non-emergencies call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to provide anonymous information

Check Up before you level up

Sony’s Playstation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox series X had their big reveals recently selling out immediately. For those who aren’t willing to pay thousands of pounds on eBay in a bidding war, it appears that the next best chance to score a system will be on Black Friday. That’s when a number of big-box retailers will make their latest shipments available. 

If you are lucky enough to get one this holiday season and are looking to sell your old gaming system don’t forget to sell with a CheckMEND.com certificate it’s been proven to enhance listings on internet auction and classified sites to get you a much better price. All you need is the serial number to perform a check on CheckMEND to generate a certificate.

If you’re considering buying a second-hand system, on the other hand, you may want to look at a Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS4 Pro, or PS4 Slim, all having plenty of life left, there are bargains to be had. For added peace-of-mind before making a purchase don’t forget to ask the seller or retailer for a copy of a CheckMEND certificate to prove the legitimacy of the system. You may check the certificate’s authenticity free of charge by entering its number at checkmend.com/uk/verify.

Finder’s keepers poll results

Immobilise asked what people would do if they found a mobile phone left on a cinema seat. Here’s what we found.

We’re pleased to see that 76% of our respondents knew that they should hand it into the cinema’s reception. All public venues will have a policy for handling found property, and when the owner misses their phone, they are likely to assume that the cinema has it somewhere safe.

6% said they’d give it to charity, which is admirable but we’d suggest against it. The old sayings “finders keepers” and “possession is nine-tenths of the law” are actually very wide of the mark. You don’t own what you find, and you can’t legitimately gift things you don’t own, no matter how well-intentioned.

4% said they’d leave it where it is. Perhaps the second-best option but you can’t be sure the next finder will be as honest as you!

The rest of our audience said they’d drop it off at a police station. This one definitely has its place but only if you find something out in the street rather than on some known business premises. Check your local force policy; most will accept found reports online now and are unlikely to physically take found property unless it’s likely to have personal data on it, is dangerous, or is of high value.

Police will usually check Recipero’s systems for registered owners so just in case you become a victim of a loss, make sure to register your property at immobilise.com as soon as possible!

Finders Keepers – Poll Results Infographic – Immobilise.com

Register and protect your business assets and technology with Immobilise

Immobilise is not just for individuals. We’re here to support small and medium enterprises too. You should register tools, fixtures and fittings, computers, phones, electronic or electrical components, retail stock – in fact, any item that your business owns.

Remote working from home in the kitchen with a company laptop.

Of course, each item must be uniquely identifiable. Most electronic devices will have an inherent serial number, but for those that don’t, you can utilise any asset marking methods you prefer – labels, engraving, RFID tags, stamps, punches, embossing – whatever is best suited to your products and processes. Immobilise supports all asset marking methods from all manufacturers; we even have some of our own that you may buy from shop.immobilise.com.

Register a new account at immobilise.com under the name of a business principal or manager; we recommend using a group email address that several people have access to rather than an individual, but it’s up to you. As a business, you’re likely to have more items to register than individuals, so we’ve provided a spreadsheet template, downloadable from your account that helps you register hundreds of things at once. If you’re already using an internal asset register, you may even be able to export your data in the same format before uploading to your account.

Company tech can be registered on immobiise.com – It’s completely FREE.

If you mark something as lost or stolen on your account, it’s reflected in real-time to national police systems. This unique integration ensures that if police encounter your property, they can return it to you quickly. Of course, if they have someone in possession of property stolen from you, this also provides valuable evidence to detain or even prosecute someone.

While the spreadsheet template makes adding multiple items to your account a breeze, once there, they need managing. It’s no good recording an item as yours once it is legitimately sold. With hundreds, perhaps thousands of items or rapidly changing stock profiles, this can become a chore. For this situation, we have a low-cost service that delivers additional benefits and peace of mind.

AssetWatch

Real-time monitoring for mobile devices and technology

This service receives daily files from your existing asset management or stock control systems, recording identifying serial numbers and remaining synchronised with your systems without manual intervention.

AssetWatch Approved Data Partner Logo.

Being always up to date enables functionality that an Immobilise account cannot deliver. Every AssetWatch record tells us that you still own that item, whether it be the subject of a lease, rental agreement, provided to an employee or merely sitting in unsold stock. In all these cases, you would not want to see the item ‘out in the wild’, cited in an insurance claim or in possession of someone in police custody. All these events indicate that the item is not where it ought to be and so we notify you in real-time of these occurrences. Also, thanks to AssetWatch’s unique integration with CheckMEND, the world’s leading second-hand trade due-diligence service, we even prevent the item from being traded.

Use cases

Your retail outlet keeps a small stock of valuable consumer electronics. The local manager charged with securing and managing that stock is less than honest and is manipulating the system to their ends. They have the necessary access to stock management, and exceptions so can easily hide misdeeds. However, taking a device that is recorded on AssetWatch round the corner to the nearest second-hand trader results in that trader rejecting the sale when they run their due-diligence check. Not only that but the sale attempt is recorded and you notified of the time, date, place and item. You know that item has not been sold but now you know it’s been stolen! AssetWatch has been instrumental in identifying employee theft and benefits from being outside the normal controls within businesses.

For equipment out on rental, a similar same thing may happen. A bad actor reports to you that the item was stolen from a site or vehicle; perhaps they make a police report too in an attempt to convince you of their plight but when a sale is attempted, the date, time and in many cases, CCTV evidence will expose the crook.

Finally, straight up employee theft. The valuable laptop or phone you have provided them to do their job and an employee in need of fast cash. They try to trade the item, but it’s the trader rejects it and an automated alert is sent to you. Perhaps they succeed at the next less diligent trader, and now they report it stolen expecting the company to replace it and make an insurance claim. The times don’t add up with the first offer before the report of theft and the trader holding identifiable evidence of the seller.

In short, AssetWatch tells us the item should not be seen in trade. We use that to prevent sale among thousands of diligent traders and alert you to any attempts. In many cases, we’re telling you that your business has been a victim of theft before your stock checks or loss prevention manager would otherwise have a clue. AssetWatch achieves this while also delivering all the repatriation opportunities and benefits of an Immobilise registration.

What can you do to minimise your risk of buying a stolen phone?

It was great to read about successful businesses in this article from the BBC about buying second-hand smartphones. 

Second-hand smartphones are good for the environment and often represent real bargains. As with any used purchase, though it is essential to take steps to protect yourself and minimise the chances of buying a dud. 

A person checking whether a smartphone has a significant used history on CheckMEND.com

Used phones may have been involved in frauds from ID theft involving bogus airtime contracts to fake retailer returns and fraudulent insurance claims.  In addition of course to the all-too-common burglary, robbery, and more serious crimes. 

What can you do to minimise your risk of buying a stolen phone?

  • Always ask the seller for the IMEI and Manufacturer’s serial number of the phone – if they have many units to sell they may not know this until actual despatch. Still, a private or small volume seller should always be able and willing to provide this. 
  • Use the numbers to run a check for yourself at CheckMEND.com. This will let you know if there is any record that the phone is lost, stolen, or the subject of an insurance claim, police report, or corporate ownership that may affect your ability to obtain the legal title. 
  • Better still, ask the seller for a copy of the CheckMEND certificate produced when they first received the phone. The best sellers do this as part of their business routinely and again will be happy to provide it. An advantage here is that you may check the certificate’s authenticity free of charge by entering its number at checkmend.com/uk/verify.
  • Confirm the IMEI and the serial number of the phone that arrives matches what the seller said they were sending. 

In a typical month, traders using CheckMEND avoid buying £35m worth of stolen property. Don’t become the second victim of a phone crime, insist on CheckMEND.

New AssetWatch Checkmark Provides a Clear Message to Fraudsters!

Recipero are delighted to announce the availability of the AssetWatch Checkmark. Millions of articles are already protected by AssetWatch and the new Checkmark provides a clear, consistent signal to fraudsters that our clients’ property is being actively prevented from unauthorised sale. Full integration of AssetWatch with police systems, responsible second-hand traders and public due-diligence services ensures the widest possible picture of an article’s movements.

Use cases include stock leakage detection, rental or finance default potential, forward and reverse logistics losses, fraudulent claims for non-delivery and even employee theft. Overt messaging with the Checkmark lets potential bad actors know that stealing an AssetWatch customer’s property is no easy way to make money.

AssetWatch can deliver benefits for all businesses who manufacture or sell serial numbered articles or supply goods to employees such as laptops and phones. No obligation AssetWatch trials are available so you can see the ROI before you commit.

If you’re an existing AssetWatch customer and would like to use the Checkmark please contact us or your service representative directly. To read more about the AssetWatch service or Checkmark please visit our AssetWatch page.

Don’t get hung up with fraud this New Year and check for warning signs when buying a second hand phone

Mobile phone fraud prevention specialist, Recipero, part of the Callcredit Information Group, is urging consumers and retailers to undertake device checks when buying a second hand phone to avoid becoming a victim of fraud during the January sales and beyond.

Recipero’s CheckMEND data* reveals, that the number of device checks made on second hand iPhones has almost doubled in the last four years, highlighting the growth in the size of the second hand phone market and the increased awareness amongst some consumers and retailers of ensuring the legitimacy of second hand phones.

Last January there was a spike in the number of iPhone checks performed via the Recipero CheckMEND service. More than 1.3 million checks took place (more than 400,000 up on the month before) and Callcredit’s analysts are expecting upwards of two million at the start of 2018.

Mark Harman, Managing Director of Recipero, said: “Even though our findings highlight that there has been an increase in second hand iPhone device checks, fraud is prevalent in what is a market for increasingly expensive devices. Latest ONS crime figures, compiled from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, show 401,000 mobile phones were reported as stolen in the 12 month period ending March 2017. It’s important that consumers and retailers take the necessary precautions and check the history of a device.”

The Recipero data also revealed a surge in the number of searches on the CheckMEND database following the introduction of new iPhone models – as it shows the number of device checks being performed increasing by over a third (36.6%)** in the period after a new release.

Mark concluded: “A check on a second hand phone includes a device life history that starts at the point of manufacture, through ownership changes, right up to it being recycled. The device is checked against IMEI, a phone’s unique reference number, loss and theft reports and police crime reports in the US and UK, insurers title information and settled claims.
These checks provide information which will flag up (red) in a CheckMEND report if the device is compromised, helping to protect those purchasing a second hand phone from acquiring a lost or stolen device.”

*Based on CheckMEND UK data of number of checks made on iPhones each month from Jan 2014- Dec 2017 inclusive. Taken from the Recipero database which is part of the Callcredit Information Group.

**Based on the average number of CheckMEND iPhone device checks two months prior to a new iPhone launch and the average for the two months following.

Preparation is the key to staying safe this winter

You will hear this saying a lot in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas. Preparation is not only a great idea help your Christmas planning run smoothly, but it’s worth preparing for those unforeseen circumstances around the festive period.
 

The last thing you want around this time of year is to worry about burglars but according to The Office of National Statistics, police recorded burglary is up by 3% and theft by 7% compared to last year. So, it is imperative we do as much as possible to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our property as safe as possible.

Follow a few simple tips for a safer holiday season:

Staying Safe this Winter

  1. Register on Immobilise: Before you get too busy with Christmas preparations take some time to record your valuable items on Immobilise, so you have a secure list of precious items.
  2. Deter potential criminals by investing in a motion sensor outdoor flood light and some Immobilise window stickers.
  3. Fake it till you make it, with a Fake TV that recreates the same flickering glow that looks like someone is watching TV, and invest in light timers especially if you are going away.
  4. Keep curtains closed, at night especially when it gets darker earlier and ensure Christmas presents are out of site.
  5. Don’t advertise on social media when you plan to go away. Publishing your movements can let burglars know when there is an empty house.
  6. Preparation is key. Be sure to cancel any scheduled deliveries such as newspaper or milk deliveries that might alert someone you aren’t there.
  7. Don’t hide spare keys. Burglars often watch a house for a few days before attempting to break in and leaving them a key makes it that much easier!
  8. Secure the outside of your home with deadlocks on windows and make sure any sheds or garages are secure.

Festival season is upon us, so keep your valuables safe!

It’s that time of year to kick back and relax at a festival and listen to your favourite kind of music but have you thought about how to keep your valuables safe from loss or theft.

Festivals can be an absolute goldmine for thieves, although there is plenty of advice out there about what is in vogue to wear at festivals this year, there isn’t much advice about protecting your property.

Opportunists can present themselves at any time especially in large crowds so whether you are protecting your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or HTC phone, or are worried about your wallet and camera there are a few things that you can do to keep your valuables safe.

  1. Firstly, you need to register any valuables on Immobilise, the national property register which is linked to the police database (NMPR) where if any property is found the police can run a search and return it to the rightful owner. It is a must do for gadgets such as your mobile phone, which you will want to take with you to a festival. You can register any property on Immobilise, so get registering!
  2. Try not to bring too many valuables in the first place, but if you do don’t leave anything unattended or in tent. Sometimes there may be free locker areas if you do have something you want to lock away.
  3. Keep valuables in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night.
  4. Only take as much cash as you think you will need and try separate cash from cards.
  5. Don’t put phones and wallets in your back pocket.
  6. Report any suspicious behaviour or crime to police immediately.

Stay safe this festival season and have a great time doing it!