Online Security: Which? Files Supercomplaint Against Banks Over Transfer Fraud

Banks may face formal inquiry into whether they can refuse to reimburse victims conned into transferring money into fraudsters’ accounts

UK banks should do more to protect customers tricked into transferring money to fraudsters, according to a consumer body that has lodged a “supercomplaint” with financial regulators. The move by Which? means banks could now face a formal investigation into whether they can continue refusing to reimburse victims.

The organisation submitted its first supercomplaint this year in the same week that official data revealed that fraud in the UK payments industry had soared by 53% as criminals develop increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal bank customers’ cash.

Which? said banks should “shoulder more responsibility” when someone is conned into transferring money to another person’s account, just as they reimburse customers who lose money due to scams involving debit and credit cards or fraudulent account activity.

Some customers have lost considerable sums. In March this year the Guardian featured the case of Sarah and David Fisher, who were conned out of £25,000 after a fraudster posed as their builder and emailed them a fake invoice that was virtually identical to the one they were expecting.

The explosion in online and mobile banking means UK consumers now make more than 70m bank transfers a month, compared with just over 100m in a whole year just a decade ago. Which? claims that “protections have not kept up”.

Using its legal powers, the organisation has submitted a supercomplaint to the Payment Systems Regulator, the watchdog for the UK’s £75tn payment systems industry, which must now respond within 90 days.

There are many financial frauds that directly target customers, such as phishing emails and phone- and text-based scams. However, among the biggest growth areas are impersonation and deception scams where fraudsters hack into someone’s email account and then pose as the builder, solicitor, landscape gardener or other tradesperson that the consumer has legitimately employed. Typically, the victim receives an invoice via email, which does not rouse suspicion because they were expecting it. It looks authentic and is usually for the correct amount – however, unbeknown to the consumer, the bank account number and sort code have been changed to those of the fraudster.

This is what happened to the Fishers, from north-west London. Last October they received a genuine invoice for building work that was being carried out, then what appeared to be a follow-up email from the same firm with a fresh invoice attached that included “our new banking details”. The couple duly paid the requested £25,000, and while it quickly emerged they had been scammed, by the time the bank that operated the account used to accept their money was alerted, the cash had been withdrawn.

Almost a year after the incident, they have yet to recover a penny of their money. Sarah Fisher, a record label manager, told the Guardian this week that the police had identified the fraudster as someone living in Denmark. As a result, the case was “not being progressed” and had effectively come to a halt.

She added: “We took it to the financial ombudsman, who said that Barclays [which operated the account] had not behaved improperly.” However, she said their MP, Tulip Siddiq, had said the case raised important issues and intended to pursue the matter in parliament.

Victims conned in this way currently have no legal right to get their money back from their bank, said Which?. Banks typically refuse to refund customers on the basis that they made the payment voluntarily. However, Which? said: “Consumers can only protect themselves so far. People cannot be expected to detect complex scams pressuring them to transfer money immediately, or lookalike bills from their solicitor or builder.”

The organisation said banks had invested in security systems to detect and prevent fraud where they were liable to reimburse the victim, but added: “There aren’t sufficient checks if someone is tricked into transferring money directly to another person’s account.”

Which? said it wanted the regulators to formally investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud and how much it was costing consumers, and propose new measures and greater liability for banks to ensure consumers are better protected.

The Payment Systems Regulator confirmed that it had received the supercomplaint and said it would examine the evidence Which? had supplied and gather its own, “to build a clearer picture of the issue and decide a course of action”.

Possible outcomes might include regulatory action, a review or a referral of the complaint to another body.


Group Holiday in Southbourne Dorset : Things to do in Moreton

Group Holiday in Southbourne Dorset Things to do in Moreton

Moreton is an attractive and character-filled village as many in Dorset are. However, it sets itself apart with a number of unusual associations of international reknown. Quiet, peaceful, off the beaten track, Moreton is a mixture of village styles – linear in part near the ford with a little thatched street, dispersed in other areas reflecting a time when occupants would have their own field patches to cultivate.

Essentially, Moreton centres on the large Georgian house, home to the Frampton family since at least the 14th century. Nearby, and close to the site of earlier Frampton houses, the village church and the thatched-roofed street form the recognisable part of the village and further afield lie the farms making up what Thomas Hardy described as the ‘vale of the great dairies’.

The old wooden village hall lies a quarter of a mile to the west of the street yet represents the centre of the dispersed part of the village. The village hall and two Nissen huts (one in a farm yard, another in a field) are the last remnants of the locally billetted US Army stationed here and elsewhere in preparation for the invasion of mainland Europe on D Day.

Dorset is full of lovely villages similar to Moreton. However, various elements of Moreton set it apart – the amazing windows in St Nicholas’ and St Magnus’ Church; the longest ford in the south of England; the grave of Lawrence of Arabia and the seat of James Frampton who, as High Sherriff of Dorset (and also the landlord) arrested the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

The St Nicholas’ and St Magnus’ Church windows are engraved or etched glass – the original standard stained glass was destroyed (as was half the church) by a stray bomb from a German WW2 aircraft. Over the next three decades local fundraising and donations allowed the church to become the most complete work of the famous Laurence Whistler. A visit to this lovely bright and peaceful church is a must.

T.E.Lawrence was stationed at nearby Bovington and rented (then bought) his cottage, Clouds Hill, from his cousins the Framptons. They were the landlords of Moreton Estate. On his untimely death his mother, who was abroad at the time, asked the Framptons if Lawrence could be buried in the graveyard. This request was granted and photographs in the village tearooms show the great and the good attending his funeral. These include Sir Winston and Lady Churchill and Seigfried Sassoon, as well as the choir boys from the village school (now the tearooms). His gravestone lies not at the church itself but in the removed churchyard near the garden centre. The portico structure marking the churchyard has moved from its original location opposite the tearooms. Lawrence’s grave is under the Cypress tree at the far end of the churchyard.

Geology has blessed the village with what must be one of the longest fords in the country – at least 70 yards across, frequently traversed by horses heading off into the forestry to the north. The ford is paired with a narrow footbridge and is another tranquil spot for the visitor to enjoy.

The association with the Tolpuddle Martyrs is less well known, though in his time sherrif James Frampton was widely linked to what became an internationally renowned incident. While it is generally acknowledged that the Martyrs were treated badly, it is less well understood that Frampton’s actions were a product of his youth. He is held to have been one of the pimpernels liberating the French aristocracy from the guillotine and he saw the barn burning, rioting and destruction of agricultural machinery as a deeper threat. Most of the Martyrs returned and it is interesting to note that the descendants of both the Martyrs and Framptons are still to be found in Moreton and Tolpuddle!

The Peterson Group LLC: Leadership is Never Based on Position

It is a common misconception that if a person is higher in rank than the others, he is already considered the leader of the pact.  Even managers have this kind of mindset.

Well, fact is, they will not be somehow on that spot if they had not shown leadership streaks, will they? After all, famous author and speaker, John Maxwell has defined leadership as having the competence to exude influence on others, thus gaining the chance to outstand over their peers. Perhaps influence means having to step up the ladder with the help of back up?

However, in his review, Prof. Mel Holcom of Arizona State University clearly states that “the first thing to realize is that taking advantage of a leadership opportunity does not necessarily mean moving up the career ladder.”

How then do we define leadership? And who are those worthy of being called a leader if it is not based on rank or position?

The Peterson Group, a leadership development and organizational consulting firm, states that you do not necessarily have to be an official to be a leader. Leadership goes more than a position or authority. The key is demonstrating relationship skills and, as Maxwell has emphasized, influence.

Setting up a good relationship among your colleagues is an important factor in being a leader, even if you are in the same level with them in a team. It is a big deal among human beings to know there is a person who understands them or someone they can go to when they need it. People can also instinctively know if you are being a fraud through your actions or being true in your intentions. The real emphasis on the C’s (charisma, character, commitment, courage and communication) amounts to the level of relationship you have built with other people, not with how many people are under you.

Influence, on the other hand, is a crucial element in leadership. Leadership can never exist without influence. Influence is not on how many influential people can back you up and get you on top of the pyramid; it is on how many people are willing to give you the position because they know you deserve it.

On a healthy debate held for leadership development among students in Jakarta, Indonesia, reasons for being a leader without holding a position was brought to light. Among the most essential characteristics aside from the aforementioned are initiative, discernment, generosity and focus, characteristics which does not necessarily require rank or position.


Dr. Richard Isaacs: Big Pharma has the upper hand ‘and they know it’

There has been an alarming upward trend in the costs of similar treatments, as more drugs are developed and come on to the market, new Pharmac figures show.

And as the price of life-saving medicines soar and pharmaceutical companies show no signs of justifying their costs, the Government is warning that something has got to give.

Pharmac, the Government’s drug buying agency, began funding a key blood cancer drug Thalidomide, manufactured by drug giant Celgene, in 2002. While the true costs of what Pharmac pays are confidential, the list price for the drug in 2002 was $360, based on a daily average dose for a month.

Compare that with a later iteration of the same drug – Lenalidomide – which in 2014 carried a list price of $8353. A third option for blood cancer patients, whose condition might not respond so well to the first two, was Bortezomib, which had a list price of $9742.

The benefits of treating cancer with any of the drugs were similar, and limited studies comparing Lenalidomide and Thalidomide showed no survival difference.

When it came to differing forms of chemotherapy for breast cancer, list prices had risen 443 per cent.

Anthracycline, a common chemotherapy, was listed at $975 in 2002. As two more options came onto the market – Docetaxel, also in 2002, and Trastuzumab, in 2007 – list prices rose to $2488 and $5300 respectively.

A similar trend was also shown across medicines for the treatment of kidney cancer, and lung cancer, rising 411 and 44 per cent respectively.

While all those costs related to the list-price of the medicines, chief executive Steffan Crauzas said Pharmac did not pay that much.

How much less Pharmac paid was confidential, but the increase in the list-price showed an alarming trend that the overall cost of providing New Zealanders access to medicines was becoming more difficult.

Costs were symptomatic of a price-war raging overseas, where the medicines market was not so tightly controlled by a public purchaser.

According to the World Health Organisation, medicines accounted for over half of total health expenditures and were often “unavailable and unaffordable to consumers who need them”.

It recommended making some essential medicines exempt from taxation.

Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition chair Libby Burgess, who led a campaign for the public funding of breast cancer drug Herceptin, said the problem was the Pharmac model.

She cited Australia, where two separate bodies took care of funding decisions and then purchase of the medicines respectively.

“All of that happens under one roof in Pharmac, which means its very easy for one part of the process to compromise another.”

MidCentral DHB Oncologist Dr. Richard Isaacs said the prices big pharma was charging was “gobsmacking”.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of Pharmac over the years, and I was involved in advocating for Herceptin, but I strongly believe now there needs to be a strong focus on the costs that pharma are charging when they introduce new targeted therapies into the market.

“We certainly can’t afford all of them and I think our process of carefully assessing the drugs is a good one.”

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said Pharmaceutical companies needed to justify their costs more.

“I think that there’s a real question about how everything starts with several zeros behind it, and think that is a question mark… but it may not solve the issue as far as access to medicines in New Zealand is concerned.”

Instead, it was Pharmac that would likely undergo changes in the next 10 to 15 years. Those changes were unlikely to be the kind Burgess was after, however.

“Pharmac are remarkably skillfull… and they are able to put these packages together, which are impressive. But the issue I thought they would have done a little more on, is actually evaluating their decisions; was there a benefit from funding Herceptin, for instance?

“We can be confident in the model at the moment, and in the forseeable future. But that’s not going to [last forever].” Dunne said.

“[Drug companies] have got the upper hand, and they know it. At the end of the day, no government is going to deny its citizens access to medicines.”

Dr. Richard Isaacs’ Profile

Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Sacramento, CA

Male. 25 Years of Experience. 3 Insurance Plans
Languages supported at his practice: Russian, Tagalog, English, Spanish


Richard Scott Isaacs, MD is a practicing Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist) in Sacramento, CA. Dr. Isaacs graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1989 and has been in practice for 25 years. Dr. Isaacs accepts multiple insurance plans including Kaiser Permanente, Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to English, Dr. Isaacs’s practice supports these languages: Russian, Tagalog and Spanish.

Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)


Medical School
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit, MI

Howard Marans MD: What are the Treatment Options for Elbow Bursitis?

Elbow bursitis is caused by inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a small fluid filled sac which provides lubrication and cushion among tissues and bones. The bursa sac is located at the tip of the elbow, forming a soft lubricating cover when a person extends and bends the elbow. When the sac is swollen or inflamed, the bursa will produce more fluid. The fluid buildup will create pain in the area. People who do repetitive work tend to develop elbow bursitis over time. Treatment options for elbow bursitis can be either surgical or non-surgical.


Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis


Seek the expert opinion of a health care professional to determine if the symptoms are due to elbow bursitis.


– One of the first symptoms to appear with elbow bursitis is a swollen area at the tip of the elbow. The swelling of the elbow can become painful as the bursa sac begins to stretch.

– The swelling in the elbow can limit movement.

– The elbow is stiff feeling, adding to the pain.

– When the elbow is touched, the extra pressure creates more pain.

– The swollen bursa sac protrudes out from the elbow tip.

–  The tip of the elbow may become red and warm to the touch. The redness indicates an infection in the bursa sac.


Treatment Options for Elbow Bursitis


The best treatment option should be discussed with an experienced doctor. In the Southern California area, Dr. Howard Marans has had over 20 years of consistent experience in one location. Treatment options for people suffering from elbow bursitis will be determined after collecting an accurate patient history.


Non-surgical Treatments


Elbow bursitis often responds well with non-surgical treatment methods. Surgery is often saved for last after all other options are exhausted.


– Apply ice packs to the swollen area on the elbow.

– Restrict movement of the elbow until inflammation subsides. Repetitive movement is often the cause of elbow bursitis flare up. Giving the injured area a rest can help reduce pain and inflammation.

– Use elbow pads to help protect the inflamed area.

– Take over-the-counter medication to reduce swelling and help with pain management.

– Prescribed medications can help decrease the inflamed area.

– Cortisone injections may be administered to help ease the pain.

– If the bursa sac is protruding, draining the inflamed area may be an option. The draining can be done through the insertion of a needle in the swollen area.

– Physical therapy can be assigned to increase


Surgical Treatment


If non-surgical treatment methods do not help to ease the symptoms, surgery may be needed. The surgery involves removing the inflamed bursa. The removal of the bursa sac will allow for a new one to grow and form. While a patient recovers from surgery, a splint will need to be worn. The splint is used as a method to protect the skin around the removal area.


Individualized treatment options for elbow bursitis will be determined by an experienced doctor. In the southern California area, Dr. Howard Marans can give a complete explanation of all the treatments available for elbow bursitis including non-surgical and surgical options. Howard Marans MD welcomes PPO and will work with all other insurance companies to provide the best treatment available. Please click below to schedule your consultation or call us at 714.979.8981.

Malibu’s Best Doctor For Cyclists and Bike Injuries by Dr Howard Marans

Thousands of people each year turn to cycling as a means to stay fit through low-impact activity. As cyclists train to make self-improvements or enter competitions, chances for cycling related injuries may increase. An experienced California doctor (Dr Howard Marans) for cyclists can help the emerging athlete to the die-hard triathlete with any medical concerns they may have.


Cycling Related Injuries


Injuries can affect even the strongest athlete’s cycling abilities. Beginners, who do not properly utilize the correct equipment or train without proper coaching, may have chances for increased health problems especially with knees, ankles, and feet. Improper form will put extra stress on various regions of the body, which can create injuries.


– Knee osteoarthritis is the slow degeneration of the cartilage and bone within the knee. Osteoarthritis can usually be found in older athletes or cyclists. The knee joint gradually wears down from years of use. Treatment will vary depending on the stage of degeneration. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injection, physical therapy, and surgery are among the treatment options.

– Plantar fasciitis supports the arch of a cyclist’s foot. When the foot becomes strained, the area can become swollen and inflamed creating a significant amount of pain. The stiffness and swelling can create problems for cyclists.

– Achilles tendonitis is created when the tendon running from the tibia to the heel becomes inflamed. The cause is usually directly related to overuse. A sudden increase in training can contribute to the inflammation. If the Achilles tendon becomes torn or ruptured, surgery is required.

– A fall off a bicycle can leave the cyclist with traumatic injuries. Torn ligaments or tendons may be a result. Broken or fractured bones are also a common injury from falling off a bicycle. Traumatic injuries can lead to future health problems with degenerated arthritis or other joint problems.


Non-surgical and surgical options are usually available for each type of cyclist injury.


Non-surgical Options


Each injury will have different areas of pain concentration. To reduce the pain and inflammation, non-surgical options may be utilized.


– Apply ice packs to the region to help reduce the inflammation.

– Restrict movement until you receive further instructions from a health care professional.

– Use braces or pads to aid in the support of the injured area.

– Over the counter or prescribed pain medication may be taken.

– The use of physical or occupational therapy to regain full range of motion in the injured area.


Surgical Options


When all the non-surgical options have been exhausted or the trauma to the injured area is too severe, surgery may be the next step in the treatment. A California doctor for cyclists will know when surgery should be implemented. Surgery may require extra recovery time from injuries. The result may be resuming cycling activities without pain and inflammation.


Best California Doctor for Cyclists


An experienced California doctor for cyclists can provide individualized treatment to ensure an optimal outcome for the situation. Howard Marans MD can give a complete explanation of all the treatments available for cyclists’ injuries, including non-surgical and surgical options. Howard Marans MD would be more than happy to discuss the cyclist’s orthopedic health needs and concerns with you. His office welcomes PPO and will work with all other insurance companies to give the best treatment available. Please click below to schedule your consultation or call us at 714.979.8981.