UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Reuters Investigates:

Morbid money-spinners

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If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.

Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.

What they were buying sounded kosher, even if it did depend on how fast their wealthy American counterparts were dying. Of course, the investors may not have known that.

As is so often the case with these things, the projections were a little optimistic. And then some other irregularities blew up. Around 100 million pounds went missing, one of the business’s partners dropped dead in Singapore and the investment company was shut down by the regulators, leaving British pensioners like Tony and Pam Tobin out of pocket.  The Serious Fraud Office is investigating.

Would you apply for an ID card?

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The people of Manchester will soon be the first to be able to apply for an identity card, which the government says will help fight terrorism and reduce fraud. Opposition parties, however, oppose the five billion pound scheme and say it should be scrapped to save money and protect civil liberties.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards, which will be available in the city in the autumn ahead of a nationwide roll-out by 2012, will be voluntary. She said the move would allow Manchester citizens “the best chance to start realising the benefits of identity cards as soon as possible.

Gone whaling: Web fraudsters land a bigger catch

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fraud.jpgFirst there was “phishing” – where criminals try to steal people’s personal details using dodgy emails that look like they’re from the bank.

Then there was “spear phishing” – more sophisticated, targeted attempts to defraud specific organisations or their customers.

The little white lie that could spell financial ruin

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cash.jpgA little white lie never hurt anyone, right? Wrong: it could have serious financial implications for your future. A growing number of people are getting into financial difficulty at a younger age and are then telling lies on applications forms to obtain credit, insurance and other products, according to CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service.

The number of application fraud cases filed on the CIFAS database increased from 62,000 in 2004 to 77,000 in 2007, an increase of more than 24 percent. In each of these cases, people told “material falsehoods” on application forms or supplied false or altered documents to support them. The lies most frequently told included trying to conceal a poor credit history or exaggerating the length of time resident at a particular address in the belief that stability increases creditworthiness.

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