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UK millennials most likely to fall victim to banking impersonation scams, poll finds

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UK millennials most likely to fall victim to banking impersonation scams

A new survey has revealed that UK millennials are more at risk than other Britons when it comes to falling victim to banking impersonation scams.

The poll, which was conducted by Lloyds Bank, recorded a four-fold rise in the number of consumers aged between 18 and 34 who were duped over the past 12 months by such scams, during which fraudsters pretend to be workers from banks, tax authorities or police in order to con victims into handing over cash.

In the course of such scams, which can be conducted over the phone or online, fraudsters attempt to convince people to hand over their banking or personal information such as passwords or PINs, or persuade them to make a credit card payment or bank transfer to a bogus recipient account.

While younger people were found to be more likely to fall for such fraud attempts than any other age group last year, victims aged over 55 lost the most in banking impersonation scams.

People in this age group lost an average of £10,716 ($12.850) to this type of fraud over the past 12 months, which compares to £3,573 for those aged between 45 and 54, and £2,630 for millennials.

Oftentimes, people who fall victim to this type of scam in the UK are unable to get their money back on account of the fact they have willingly compromised their account security.

Many banks argue that they offer customers ample warning about the dangers of providing banking information or making a payment to these types of scammers.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Paul Davis, Retail Fraud Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Helping to keep our customers’ money safe is our number one priority – being a victim of fraud can have devastating effects not just on people’s finances but also their lives.

“While we are working 24/7 behind the scenes to protect customers and millions of pounds have been frozen, every day fraudsters are trying to trick people into handing over their personal information like a PIN or password or transferring cash.

“Our new campaign will help people to recognise the signs by reminding them that we will never call and ask them to move money to another account. The more we all know about spotting scams, the safer we will all be.”

In May, the Daily Telegraph reported that new measures intended to prevent this type of fraud had been delayed.

Under a new system that will now not be introduced until March of next year, banks will be compelled to confirm the name on a payee account before actioning a transfer of funds.

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Interpol calls for global action to prevent match manipulation and bet rigging in esports

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match manipulation and bet rigging in esports

Global law enforcement agency Interpol has called for increased international action to guarantee the integrity of esports competitions.

During a meeting of the organisation’s Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF), a global team of sports manipulation investigators who work to prevent corruption in a range of sports disciplines focused in particular on esports.

In less than a decade, esports has become a major part of the multibillion-dollar gaming business, and is now said to be making its way into the mainstream.

As well as attracting thousands of gaming fans to tournaments in which contestants play computer games against each other in large arenas, esports events are garnering increasingly larger audiences online.

Just yesterday, the Esports Observer reported that sources had said Google will pay $160 million across a multi-year contract for the exclusive streaming rights to games publisher Activision Blizzard’s esports competitions, which include the Overwatch League, the new Call of Duty League and Hearthstone Masters.

The growing popularity of esports tournaments is making the sector increasingly vulnerable to match manipulation and bet rigging, and the international organised criminal networks behind these types of crimes.

Gathering at Interpol’s Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore for the 11th IMFTF meeting in December, more than 50 law enforcement officials from 29 countries discussed the creation of a global detection and alert system for suspicions of esports manipulation, such as surges in betting activity or the deposit of unusually large sums on single bets immediately before the start of esports matches.

In August of last year, the Guardian reported that police in Australia had arrested four men aged between 19 and 22 on suspicion of being involved in an esports match fixing conspiracy.

Detectives made the arrests after investigating suspicious betting activity linked to a tournament involving the competitive first person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

Competitors were said to have been placing large bets on matches before intentionally losing them.

Speaking at the time, Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police Neil Paterson said: “Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches.

“It’s important that police and other agencies within the law enforcement, gaming and betting industries continue to work together to target any suspicious activity.

“These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward.”

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British government rushes through emergency law to block early release of terrorists

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block early release of terrorists

The UK government has tabled emergency legislation to prevent the early release of terrorists after two Islamist attacks were carried out in London in recent months by offenders let out of prison halfway through their sentences.

In Britain, offenders who are handed standard determinate sentences become eligible for automatic early release once they have served half their tariff.

Last month, an Islamist extremist stabbed two people in the London suburb of Streatham after being released halfway through a prison sentence just days earlier

Sudesh Amman, who was shot dead by police who were following him seconds after he launched his attack, was set free after being jailed for possessing documents containing terrorist information and disseminating terrorist publications.

In November last year, another Islamist extremist who was released from jail halfway through a sentence for plotting a terrorist attack in 2012 stabbed two people to death at a prisoner rehabilitation event in Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge.

Usman Khan, who was also shot dead by police during his attack, was jailed for plotting terrorist attacks on locations including the London Stock Exchange.

After both incidents, questions were asked as to why both men had been freed early from jail to launch their attacks.

Fears were also raised that other jihadis sent to prison over recent years could soon be set loose after serving half their sentences.

Ministers said today’s change in the law will mean that around 50 terrorist prisoners already serving sentences will see their automatic release halted.

Announcing the new legislation today, UK Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “No dangerous terrorist should be released automatically only to go on to kill and maim innocent people on our streets.

“Enough is enough. This government will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe, including making sure no terror offender is released early without a thorough risk assessment by the Parole Board.”

Buckland added that the UK government is also introducing improved deradicalisation measures in jails, a 14-year minimum prison term for the worst terrorist offenders, and giving more money to the police to deal with terrorist crimes.

The proposed law change was unveiled just one day after former Uber driver Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court of planning a terrorist attack on London tourist attractions months after he was cleared of launching a sword attack on police outside Buckingham Palace.

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Canadian consumers struggle to identify strength of potentially harmful legal cannabis edibles

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Canadian consumers struggle to identify strength of potentially harmful legal cannabis

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have discovered that consumers of legal cannabis have little understanding of information relating to THC content on the packaging of edible products containing the drug.

A survey of 1,000 Canadian citizens aged between 16 and 30 conducted by scientists at the institution showed that few were able to identify whether a product contained high or low levels of THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that causes a psychoactive effect.

The researchers examined whether study participants could identify how many servings of cannabis edibles were in a pack, and if they could understand how potent each serving was.

Only 6% of those who took part in the research were able to correctly identify serving size on products that had no label, or only listed the weight.

Meanwhile, 77% could identify the serving when the dosage was listed.

The researchers additionally found that a “traffic light” system that used colours to indicate potency helped two-thirds of respondents identify products with high levels of THC, compared to 33% of respondents who only used numerical THC information.

Commenting on the results of the research, David Hammond of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems said: “Using THC numbers to express potency of cannabis products has little or no meaning to most young Canadians.

“We’ve known for many years that people struggle to understand the numbers on the back of food packages and cigarette packages.

“Consumers seem to have equal or even more difficulty with THC numbers, which are used to indicate the potency of cannabis products.”

“Effective THC labelling and packaging could help reduce to accidental over-consumption of cannabis edibles and adverse events, which have increased in jurisdictions that have legalised recreational cannabis.”

The findings of the study are significant, not least on account of the fact that previous research has suggested that ingesting cannabis could cause more adverse effects than smoking the drug.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in March last year, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that while visits to emergency rooms attributable to inhaled cannabis were more frequent than those attributable to edible cannabis,  the latter was associated with more acute psychiatric visits.

After the legalisation of the drug in the US state, Colorado hospital observed that the proportion of cannabis-attributable emergency room visits with edible exposure was about 33 times higher than expected.

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