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We live in a connected world where fraud is, unfortunately, ubiquitous. Criminals are constantly seeking opportunities to steal identities and payment credentials. New fraud statistics released by CIFAS, show that over 100,000 people are the victims of data-driven identity fraud every year, and this has been the case since 2010. This year will be no exception with 90,000 cases already identified. The report goes on to say that a shocking 45% of all frauds are identity crimes, so clearly this is an issue society needs to deal with.

It can be surprisingly easy to trick unsuspecting customers into revealing enough account and security information to provide access to their hard-earned cash, so it’s essential to remain vigilant in the face of potential identity crime. It’s not difficult to do this, and can be achieved by following a few simple rules:

  1. Take precautions. Use anti-malware software to protect the devices you use for online banking, and keep the software up to date. Adopt any security measures offered by your bank.
  2. Be vigilant. Be sceptical of calls or emails that come from an unknown or unexpected source, or present themselves in an odd format. You wouldn’t simply invite a stranger into your home, so retain this mentality when dealing with unknown entities in your virtual life. Avoid giving any personal or security details or clicking on suspicious attachments or links.
  3. Protect your credentials. The only person that should know all of your authentication and payment security details is you. If anyone asks for full credentials or passwords, for whatever reason, do not provide it. Even your bank will never ask you to state all of these details.
Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO

Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO

While educating banking customers about the dangers of fraud is essential, some have felt inhibited, concerned about the risks of scaring consumers away from new channels and technologies that might ultimately be in their best interests to use. Recent research, however, shows that actively engaged customers generated 23% more profitability than the average disengaged customer. So, communication around the risks associated with fraud must be carefully balanced to ensure customers remain confident in the overall benefits of the services and technologies they use.

With this in mind, an increasing number of organisations are focusing on the customer experience within the fraud cycle. In this, three elements are key: education, ease, and accessibility across multiple channels.  For example, giving customers the option to be informed immediately by text or phone call when suspicious activity is identified ensures the customer is in the know about what is happening with their accounts at all times and can help them feel empowered and in control.

The European card industry has been a leader in using chip and PIN technology to combat card fraud losses in areas such as counterfeit and lost and stolen cards. The US is (finally) catching up, recently announcing its own chip card issuance and acceptance. However, back in Europe, overall levels of card fraud are again on the rise. This seems like a contradiction.

It is clear that Europe has seen fraud attacks evolve and mutate rather than be eliminated altogether. Just like a snow plough on a snow-laden road, whilst the path immediately ahead is cleared, the displacement merely results in a greater build up in adjacent areas. Our fraud map commentary associates fraud migration to cross-border and remote (card-not-present) transactions. These are areas where chip and PIN defences do not extend, and therefore, they have become the chosen targets for the criminal fraternity.

The longer an area of exposure is left untreated, the greater the attraction to criminals, and the greater effort and emphasis they put upon it. Combine this with the fact that, as a society, we are now far more inclined to make “remote” purchases (such as online or via telephone), to spend with merchants overseas and to travel far more widely than ever before. Needless to say, fraudsters still have a rich seam of opportunity so banks and consumers both need to keep their guard up.

When looking at what the banks are doing to counter fraud, we notice that enterprise fraud management is a leading focus. Unfortunately, only a small number have been able to really crack it. We’ve worked with Garanti Bank in Turkey, for example, to prevent a cycle of fraud by centralising its fraud protection and case management across credit cards, debit cards and current/demand deposits accounts (DDA).  Garanti also uses FICO application fraud models to detect potential fraud in credit card and consumer loan applications.

This meant that at a time when card fraud attacks were doubling, Garanti’s anti-fraud team were able to increase the number of credit and debit fraud cases it was able to detect and, most impressively, protect multiple accounts for each individual, viewing them at a customer level rather than simply transaction or account level. This allows the bank to now respond faster to high-priority risks and to differentiate fraudulent and genuine transactions.

With the likes of the FICO® Adeptra® Mobile Services Platform, businesses can communicate with customers instantly using their preferred mobile channel to resolve such important matters as identifying whether a credit transaction is fraudulent, confirming a payment plan, and fixing customer service issues. Now is the time for businesses to make the investment in best-in-class fraud solutions and best-practice fraud strategies.

Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO

Brian Kinch is a senior partner working with FICO’s global fraud clients. A seasoned fraud manager in the European banking industry, Brian was most recently head of customer account fraud at Lloyds Banking Group, where he initially designed and implemented the bank’s fraud management target operating model. Previously, he worked at Visa Europe’s risk management group with specific responsibilities for driving reductions in both issuing and acquiring fraud across the region. He also spent 15 years at HSBC Card Services.



Exclusive: India woos Tesla with offer of cheaper production costs than China



Exclusive: India woos Tesla with offer of cheaper production costs than China 5

By Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India is ready to offer incentives to ensure Tesla Inc’s cost of production would be less than in China if the carmaker commits to making its electric vehicles in the south Asian country, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters.

Gadkari’s pitch comes weeks after billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla registered a company in India in a step towards entering the country, possibly as soon as mid-2021. Sources familiar with the matter have said Tesla plans to start by importing and selling its Model 3 electric sedan in India.

“Rather than assembling (the cars) in India they should make the entire product in the country by hiring local vendors. Then we can give higher concessions,” Gadkari said in an interview, without giving details of what incentives would be on offer.

“The government will make sure the production cost for Tesla will be the lowest when compared with the world, even China, when they start manufacturing their cars in India. We will assure that,” he said.

India wants to boost local manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs), batteries and other components to cut costly imports and curb pollution in its major cities.

This comes amid a global race by carmakers to jump-start EV production as countries work towards cutting carbon emissions.

But India faces a big challenge to win a production commitment from Tesla, which did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment about its plans in the country.

India’s fledgling EV market accounted for just 5,000 out of a total 2.4 million cars sold in the country last year as negligible charging infrastructure and the high cost of EVs deterred buyers.

In contrast, China, where Tesla already makes cars, sold 1.25 million new energy passenger vehicles, including EVs, in 2020 out of total sales of 20 million, and accounted for more than a third of Tesla’s global sales.

India also doesn’t have a comprehensive EV policy like China, the world’s biggest auto market, which mandates companies to invest in the sector.

Gadkari said that as well as being a big market, India could be an export hub, especially with about 80% of components for lithium-ion batteries being made locally now.

“I think it’s a win-win situation for Tesla,” Gadkari said, adding he also wanted to engage with Tesla about building an ultra high-speed hyperloop between Delhi and Mumbai.

India is drawing up a production-linked incentive scheme for auto and auto component makers as well as for setting up advanced battery manufacturing units, but the details are yet to be finalised.

Switching to cleaner sources of energy and reducing vehicle pollution are seen as essential for India to meet its Paris Accord climate commitments.

India last year introduced tougher emission rules for carmakers to bring them up to international standards. It is now looking at tightening fuel efficiency rules from April 2022, which industry executives say may compel some automakers to add electric or hybrid vehicles to their portfolios.

Battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry says it needs longer to make the transition.

Gadkari said he was not directly responsible for making the decision on whether to delay, but was confident India would meet its Paris treaty commitments without disrupting economic growth.

“Development and environment will go hand in hand. We will take some time but we will soon reach the international standard norms,” he said.

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah. Editing by Mark Potter)

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Is it legal for an employer force an employee to have the COVID vaccine?



Is it legal for an employer force an employee to have the COVID vaccine? 6

By Amanda Hamilton, CEO, National Association of Licensed Paralegals

Can you force your staff to have the vaccine before they return to work? Quite simply, no, not legally!

Despite the claims of some of the anti-vaxxers, there is no law in the UK which requires mandatory vaccination. The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 devolves powers to Parliament to legislate in order to protect UK Citizens. The law enables Parliament to intervene in an emergency situation, such as the pandemic, and impose lockdowns and restrictions to protect citizens, but it cannot impose mandatory vaccinations.

In other words, there is no power to make vaccinations mandatory. This raises a whole host of issues – from human rights to equality – and balances them against the rights of others to be safe in their workplace. In addition, it raises issues around the possible criminal implications of forcing someone to be vaccinated against their will.

Potential criminal implications: The Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 s20 states that an unlawful wounding would occur if a person were forced to have a vaccination against their will. A wound means ‘a break of the skin’. This statute still remains in force today.

Human Rights and Equality: Compulsory medical treatment or testing is contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights meaning that it is a human right to refuse medical treatment if you wish to do so. Refusing medical treatment could be because of deeply held religious or other beliefs, and this brings into play the Equality Act 2010. This statute states an individual is protected from discrimination from nine possible characteristics including: age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex.

So, an employer cannot force an employee to be vaccinated. But can that employer dismiss an employee for refusing the vaccine?

Again, simply no. If they did, then it would amount to an unfair dismissal and the employee could justifiably take the employer to an employment tribunal for discrimination. The case would be brought under the Equality Act 2010 in that the claimant’s refusal to be vaccinated is founded on a fundamental belief or on religious grounds. It would of course, be for the claimant to prove that she/he has such beliefs.

And it would be exactly the same if the claimant felt that they were being victimised, because of their belief, to such an extent that they felt that they could not continue being in the employ of the employer, and consequently, resigned. This would amount to constructive dismissal. The result being the same as if the employer had dismissed the employee – an employment tribunal case could ensue for unfair dismissal.

So how on earth can an employer manage such a situation if there is a statutory duty to provide a safe environment for employees in the workplace? The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places the responsibility on employers to protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ at work of all employees and includes others on the premises such as temps, contractors and visitors.

This appears to be in contradiction to the premise that it is an individual’s right to refuse the vaccine. The only way to manage this is to impose certain guidelines on employees such as those we are all asked to follow during the current pandemic, e.g. social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising/hand washing etc.

It may also be prudent to find alternative work for the employee until it is safe for them to return. A reasonable solution such as this should be acceptable to an employee. If not, and the employee brings an unfair dismissal case against the employer for constructive dismissal on the basis of discrimination, then a Tribunal, hearing such a case would weigh up the rights of the claimant to refuse the vaccine, with the nature of the work they do, the alternatives offered to them, and how many others would be put at risk, if they were to continue in their role without vaccination. In other words, they would look at the situation and apply a test of reasonability.

Lastly, can an employer insist that their staff tell them whether or not they have been vaccinated?

If you can demonstrate that asking them to be vaccinated is a reasonable management instruction, then asking them for this information will also be reasonable. However, just as you can’t force them to be vaccinated, you also can’t force them to reveal their vaccination status. Again, equality laws will come into play if there is a risk that revealing their vaccination status will result in discrimination within the workplace.

If they do agree to tell you then this will constitute sensitive personal health data and you’ll need to comply with GDPR. The same applies to information about who has not been vaccinated and why.

Generally, the best policy is one of unambiguous communication. Explain why you’d like staff to be vaccinated and why you’d like the information about their status. Give them an opportunity to discuss this privately with you or your HR department, and look at ways to mitigate the risks and offer alternative working options.  This way you have done your best to provide the right working environment, have kept staff informed and engaged in the process and ultimately reduced the chances of a successful Tribunal claim.

Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP), a non-profit Membership Body and the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its Centres, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional.


Twitter: @NALP_UK


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UK’s Taylor Wimpey sees recovery building in 2021 after good start



UK's Taylor Wimpey sees recovery building in 2021 after good start 7

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

(Reuters) – Britain’s third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey reported a strong start to the year on Tuesday and forecast a recovery in sales and margins in 2021 after a slump in 2020.

The group also earmarked 125 million pounds ($174 million) for fire safety work on its developments amid a nationwide drive to improve building safety following a deadly tower block fire in London in 2017.

The FTSE 100 firm said it expected to develop fewer affordable homes than usual this year, with a higher proportion of more profitable private homes, which would help improve its operating margin.

Its shares were trading 2.2% higher at 1000 GMT.

“The key news is that they are talking better on the operating margin for 2021, recent trade has been resilient … and all looks in pretty good shape,” said Canaccord Genuity analyst Aynsley Lammin.

Taylor Wimpey said it expected 2021 operating margin to rise to between 18.5% and 19% after it tumbled to 10.8% in 2020 from 19.6% a year earlier.

Britain is expected to extend a tax break on home purchases by three months and unveil a mortgage guarantee scheme in Wednesday’s budget, moves that could bolster the housebuilding sector after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled an exit plan from coronavirus lockdowns.

Taylor Wimpey, which has operations in Britain and Spain, joined rivals Barratt and Persimmon in setting aside funds to meet new fire safety regulations introduced after a deadly fire at London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017.

The group made pretax profit of 264.4 million pounds ($367 million) last year, down 68.4% from a year earlier and just below analysts’ average forecast of 267 million in a company-provided poll. Revenue fell about 37% to 2.79 billion pounds.

It resumed dividend payments, with a final payout of 4.14 pence per share.

($1 = 0.7202 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru. Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Mark Potter)

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