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Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill

Source: The Scottish Parliament published on this site Wednesday 17th July 2018 by Jill Powell

The Bill is for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision about the use of special measures for the purpose of taking the evidence of child witnesses and other vulnerable witnesses in criminal proceedings; to make provision about the procedure relating to taking evidence by commissioner; to make provision about the procedure for authorisation of standard special measures; and for connected purposes.

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is seeking views on the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill.

The main aim of the Bill is to improve how children in the most serious cases participate in the criminal justice system by enabling the much greater use of pre-recording their evidence in advance of a criminal trial. The Bill also provides the framework for extending the use of pre-recorded evidence to other vulnerable witnesses in the future.

To read more about the Bill and how to make written comments before August 29th click: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/109036.aspx

To read the Bill click: http://www.safecic.co.uk/freebies/55-free-downloads-and-safeguarding-links/445-scotchild

Alert: Cyber criminals send victims their own passwords in new sextortion scam

Source: Action Fraud published on this site Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Jill Powell

Cyber criminals are sending victims their own passwords in an attempt to trick them into believing they have been filmed on their computer watching porn and demanding payment. 

There have been over 110 of reports made to Action Fraud from concerned victims who have received these scary emails. 

In a new twist not seen before by Action Fraud, the emails contain the victim’s own password in the subject line. Action Fraud has contacted several victims to verify this information, who have confirmed that these passwords are genuine and recent. 

The emails demand payment in Bitcoin and claim that the victim has been filmed on their computer watching porn. 

An example email reads;

I'm aware, XXXXXX is your password. You don't know me and you're probably thinking why you are getting this mail, right? 

Well, I actually placed a malware on the adult video clips (porno) web site and guess what, you visited this website to experience fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching video clips, your internet browser started out working as a RDP (Remote Desktop) with a key logger which gave me access to your display screen as well as web camera. Just after that, my software program gathered every one of your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, and email. 

What did I do?

I made a double-screen video. First part shows the video you were watching (you have a nice taste omg), and 2nd part displays the recording of your webcam. 

Exactly what should you do?

Well, I believe, $2900 is a fair price tag for our little secret. You'll make the payment by Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search "how to buy bitcoin" in Google). 

BTC Address: 1HpXtDRumKRhaFTXXXXXXXXXX

(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)

Important:

You now have one day to make the payment. (I have a special pixel within this email message, and now I know that you have read this e mail). If I do not receive the BitCoins, I will definately send out your video recording to all of your contacts including close relatives, co-workers, and many others. Nevertheless, if I receive the payment, I'll destroy the video immidiately. If you need evidence, reply with "Yes!" and I will send your video to your 10 friends. It is a non-negotiable offer, therefore do not waste my time and yours by responding to this message.

Suspected data breach

Action Fraud suspects that the fraudsters may have gained victim’s passwords from an old data breach. 

After running some of the victim’s email addresses through ‘Have i been pwned?’, a website that allows people to check if their account has been compromised in a data breach, Action Fraud found that almost all of the accounts were at risk. 

Last month, fraudsters were also sending emails demanding payment in Bitcoin, using WannaCry as a hook. 

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: paying only highlights that you’re vulnerable and that you may be targeted again. The police advise that you do not pay criminals.
  • Secure it: Change your password immediately and reset it on any other accounts you’ve used the same one for. Always use a strong and separate password. Whenever possible, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
  • Do not email the fraudsters back.
  • Always update your anti-virus software and operating systems regularly.
  • Cover your webcam when not in use.

If you have receive one of these emails and paid the fine, report it to your local police force. If you have not paid, report it as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud. 

                        

There is a newly recorded case of FGM in the UK every two hours

Source: Barnardo’s published on this site Friday 13th July 2018 by Jill Powell

Much more needs to be done to support survivors of female genital mutilation and protect girls at risk, as the latest NHS statistics reveal there is a newly recorded case of FGM every two hours in the UK.

The National FGM Centre says it is vital for agencies, such as the police, education, health and social care, to work better together to prosecute those who carry out this type of abuse.

According to the latest figures released by NHS Digital (released on July 5) there were 6,195 women and girls treated for FGM in the past financial year and, of those, 4,495 were newly recorded cases.

Of the 6,195 women and girls, 85 cases of FGM took place in the UK.

The most common age range when FGM took place was between 0 and 10 years old. But the statistics reveal it can take years before a medical professional is aware of it – often during an appointment with an obstetrician or gynaecologist.

FGM was detected when the person was still a child (under 18 years old) in just 70 of the 6,195 cases – with it more commonly being discovered during a medical appointment when the woman was aged between 25 and 40.

The National FGM Centre is run by Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association.

Its head, Leethen Bartholomew, said:

“Shockingly, the figures confirm that dozens of women and girls born in the UK have undergone FGM, despite the practice being illegal for over 30 years.

end of quote. Yet there still hasn’t been a single successful prosecution to hold perpetrators to account. FGM is child abuse and it’s vital that we work with affected communities to change hearts and minds about the practice. Agencies must also work better together to prosecute those who fail to protect girls from this type of abuse.”

Charity Commission regulator provides update on work of its interim safeguarding taskforce

Source: Charity Commission published on this site Monday 16th July 2018 by Jill Powell

Reporting of serious safeguarding incidents by charities continues to increase, according to the Charity Commission. The regulator has published an update on the work of its interim safeguarding taskforce, and has confirmed that it received 620 safeguarding related reports in April and May 2018, compared to 196 during the same period in 2017.

In total, since February, the Commission has received and been responding to 1,152 reports of serious incidents (RSIs) about safeguarding (to end May 2018).

The Commission established a temporary safeguarding taskforce in February, which has been managing and handling increased serious incident reports, and undertaking a review of historic serious incident and whistleblowing reports on safeguarding issues.

New reports of serious safeguarding incidents

  • 1,152 reports of serious safeguarding incidents received between February 2018 and May 2018, compared to 1,210 during the whole of 2016-17, and 1,580 during 2017-28
  • 734 new cases have been opened relating to safeguarding concerns

As set out in previous updates, the reports cover a wide spectrum; some relate to risks of harm that a charity has identified, rather than to incidents of harm – for example internal audits showing that safeguarding procedures were not followed in certain situations.

The Commission has previously raised concerns about under-reporting of serious incidents by charities.

Among the reports are those from some of the 179 charities to which the Secretary of State for International Development wrote in February to seek reassurances that all appropriate incidents had been reported to the Commission. Of the 179 charities DFID issued the assurance request letter to, 34 charities have submitted incident reports to the Commission. In total, these 34 charities have reported 298 incidents. Of these, 218 related to historic incidents.

The Commission has also opened 734 cases relating to safeguarding concerns raised in serious incident reports from charities, or complaints and whistleblowing reports. These have been prioritised according to risk.

The taskforce has been undertaking a ‘deep dive’ of its records of serious incident reports on safeguarding matters to identify any gaps in full and frank disclosure by charities, and to establish whether appropriate follow-up actions were taken by charities, including whether incidents were reported to other primary regulators or agencies. This has required the team to analyse a total of 5,501 serious incidents reported to the Commission between 1 April 2014 and 20 February 2018. 5,238 or 95% of the relevant records reports have now been analysed. Analysis so far has not identified any cases where the Commission has serious and urgent concerns that require it to take immediate action, or where it has had to engage with the authorities about any ongoing risk or unreported criminality.

Of these incidents, 3,000 involved allegations of potential criminal behaviour; the Commission’s analysis has identified that in only one of those incidents was it unclear from its records whether it was reported to the authorities at the time. The Commission has now followed this up and verified that this incident was reported appropriately.

Once the work of the taskforce has concluded, the Commission will publish a report setting out the key findings and lessons for charities.

Successful project blocks over 100,000 nuisance calls

Source: National Training Standards published on this site Thursday 12th July 2018 by Jill Powell

Telephone scammers who target vulnerable and elderly consumers with scams and nuisance telephone calls have been stopped in their tracks, with a National Trading Standards project blocking more than 100,000 unwanted calls in less than a year.

The half-a-million-pound project, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last April and funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, was coordinated by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and supported by local Trading Standards departments and saw over 99% of unwanted calls blocked over an 11-month period.

Over 1,500 trueCall call blocking devices were provided to potentially vulnerable consumers as part of the project, including consumers with dementia and those deemed to be most at risk of receiving scams and nuisance calls. Members of the public were also invited to apply for call blockers via the Friends Against Scams website – run by National Trading Standards to help people spot and report scams.

Throughout the project, which ran between May 2017 and April 2018, a total of 108,918 calls were blocked. A survey of those who had received the call blocker devices found that three quarters (75%) of participants reported they no longer feel at risk of falling victim to telephone scams.

The trueCall call blocker devices completely block all recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers not already pre-identified by the home owner – offering particular protection to those with dementia.

Prior to the project, 79% of participants felt worried by unwanted phone calls and 60% felt threatened or scared about receiving calls. After the blockers were installed, these figures fell to 17% and 10% respectively.

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