Alert: watch out for new “number spoofing” scam

Fraudsters are using a new scam to make the people they are phoning believe they are speaking to a trusted organisation by fooling their phones into displaying any number they choose.

The scam, known as ‘number spoofing’, works by fraudsters cloning the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them on a landline.

The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.

However, it’s not only individuals who are vulnerable to this type of fraud. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau also warns that spoofing is used in Mandate Fraud. Emails and telephone numbers of genuine companies have been spoofed by fraudsters in order to fraudulently initiate transfers (for example, impersonating the company director to the same company’s accountant), or modify existing account details (impersonating a supplier with respect to a genuine invoice, or an employee with respect to pay).

Increasingly common

Financial Fraud Action UK‘s intelligence unit who issued the alert said the scam has become increasingly common in recent weeks. Whilst the technology needed to spoof someone’s number has existed for years, only recently have criminals begun using it to defraud people.

The advice to beat the scam is simple – never assume that someone is who they say they are just because their number matches that of an organisation you know. In fact, if someone tries to draw your attention to the number on your caller ID display, you should immediately become suspicious.

This scam comes as a new variation on a type of telephone fraud, where fraudsters call people and pose as bank staff, police officers or other trusted organisations to persuade their victim to part with financial and personal details.

Once criminals have their victim’s confidence they will try to extract information such as the victim’s PIN, online passwords or other sensitive information which will then be used to steal from their bank account.

Read more on the Financial Fraud Action UK website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use theironline fraud reporting tool.

4Children welcomes Troubled Families announcement

Today the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, announced that the Government’s Troubled Families Programme has reached 117,000 families across England.

4Children, welcomed the achievements. Commenting on the announcement, 4Children’s Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:

It is very positive to hear that the Troubled Families Programme has reached such a large proportion of the families it identified as in crisis.

Early reports from the Programme showed how interwoven and interdependent family crisis is with mental health, domestic violence and child protection being a regular occurrence for a significant number of families. That is why it is so important for local agencies to work together to provide the joined up, holistic support families need.

We are calling on all political parties to commit to expanding the Troubled Families Programme to reach families on the edge of crisis and redesign services to meet the needs of children and families in new Children and Family Community Hubs.”

Jenny Willott supports launch of Dogs Trust Chip My Dog website

Jenny Willott MP Dogs TrustYesterday Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, showcased its website with the support of a host of MPs. The website is a unique “one-stop-shop” for all microchipping queries.

Members of the public are now just a click away from a wealth of information on this important element of dog welfare, including:

Details of free microchipping activity across the UK via a quick and easy postcode search

  • Advice on how to update microchip details with a click-through function to UK databases
  • Guidance on the upcoming change of law in England and Wales
  • Advice on what to do if you have lost or found a dog
  • Frequently Asked Questions on all elements of microchipping

To mark the launch of the site, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity which saw them manning a mocked up “chip van” which appears to offer free microchips to queues of dogs, and even a few fellow Parliamentarians!

Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central said:

“I am delighted to support Dogs Trust and help the charity launch its Chip My Dog website. I am supportive of the charity’s microchipping campaign and greatly welcomed the Welsh and Westminster Government’s announcements on the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs. Compulsory microchipping will make it easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners and cut unnecessary kennelling costs for Local Authorities. I urge my dog-owning constituents to get their canine companions microchipped and visit to find out more about this vital component of dog welfare before the new law comes into force“.

Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

Microchipping has been at the heart of Dogs Trust activities for a long time and we’re now looking forward to an exciting few years during which it will become compulsory in England, Wales and – we hope – Scotland. will be the portal for all microchipping questions and we hope it will ensure that no dog is left unchipped when the laws change.”

“Whilst only the size of a grain of rice, a microchip can be a highly effective means of reuniting a lost dog with its owner. Results from our recent Stray Dog Survey showed that just over 10,000 dogs were returned to their owners for this exact reason. However, it is vital to update your details! Just as you would tell your bank you’ve moved house, so too should you inform your database. Sadly without up-to-date information a microchip on its own is redundant.”

To find out more about when the roaming Dogs Trust teams will be in your area or learn more about the benefits of microchipping visit

nnette Brooke supports charity cancer’s campaign to find more young lifesavers

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, is supporting a blood cancer charity’s campaign to find more teenage lifesavers.

Annette is backing Anthony Nolan’s ‘Save a Life At 16′ campaign in a bid to help the charity save the lives of more blood cancer patients.

The campaign sees the charity attempt to persuade HMRC to include details of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register when it writes to young people with their National Insurance numbers in advance of their 16th birthdays.

The charity has pledged to cover all associated costs and hopes this would encourage more 16-year-olds to join the register. This is important as young people are more likely to be chosen as stem cell donors by transplant doctors.

The charity hopes that if young people are informed about the chance to save the lives of people with cancers such as leukaemia, many more will step forward to register, with an increase of up to 25 per cent in the number of young donors predicted.

Annette said: “I hope this campaign encourages more 16-year-olds to join the register. As young people are more likely to be chosen as stem cell donors it is vital that we get the message out to them that they might be able to help.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Every year in the UK around 2,000 people with blood cancer need stem cell donations from a stranger. We believe young people are passionate about helping others, but they also need to be well informed about the chances open to them.

“By agreeing to our proposal, the government can make it easier for people as young as 16 to become lifesavers.”

George accuses Cameron of “abusing power” over scuppering of anti bedroom tax Bill

Liberal Democrat MP for West Cornwall, Andrew George, accused the Prime Minister of abusing the privilege of executive power and denying the will of the House of Commons today. He raised his point at Prime Minister’s Questions after the Tories announced that they refused to grant money for Mr George’s Affordable Homes Private Members’ Bill.

Mr George raised his question after the Prime Minister sought to blame the Liberal Democrats for the halting of the Conservatives Private Members’ Bill for an EU Referendum. Mr George’s Bill is first on the Private Members’ Bill list and should be given the support of the Government before the EU Referendum Bill (which is third). MPs suspect that the Conservatives are using the necessary money resolution as an excuse to scupper Mr George’s Bill which would effectively scrap the ‘Bedroom Tax’.

Mr George’s question and subsequent response from The Prime Minister, David Cameron, as follows:

Andrew George (St Ives) (LD):

“If the Prime Minister wants his European Union (Referendum) Bill to proceed, as he claims he does, all he needs to do is demonstrate a level of mature engagement on the granting of money resolutions. Is he proud of the fact that his party is abusing the privilege of Executive power and denying the clear will of this House by denying the money resolution for the Private Member’s Bill to protect the vulnerable and disabled from the bedroom tax?”

The Prime Minister:

“I am afraid the problem with my hon. Friend’s point is that his Bill is literally a Bill: it would cost more than a billion pounds for the British taxpayer. That is why it would not be right to give it a money resolution. But if he believed in democracy, he would recognise that the European Union (Referendum) Bill passed this House with a massive majority and went into the House of Lords. We should reintroduce it as a Government Bill—that is what ought to happen.”

Mr George described the Prime Minister’s remarks as preposterous. “This is a gross exaggeration. The Tory bedroom tax would save the Government about £350million per annum – and he’s claiming that a Bill to introduce some exemptions would cost more than three times that amount.

“They should hang their heads in shame.”


The post George accuses Cameron of “abusing power” over his scuppering of anti bedroom tax Bill appeared first on Andrew George.

Lord McNally’s speech to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children

Thank you. I am very pleased to have been asked to address you all today, as Chairman of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB). I congratulate Baroness Massey and the APPG for Children for their efforts in producing this timely report on ‘Children and the Police’.

Relationships between Children and the Police

The report, ‘Children and the Police’, has put forward many recommendations that merit due consideration and response. But in the time allotted for me to give you the Youth Justice Board’s views, I have chosen to focus on some of the key issues the report highlights, which are of particular concern to the YJB.

The first of these considers the current relationships between children and the police. I am pleased to note that this report recommends the need to establish mechanisms for involving young people in police-work, in order to promote good relationships between children and the police.

Whilst efforts have been made to do this in the past, the types of young people, targeted to work with police, have not been representative – proportionately, or otherwise – of those who most commonly come into contact with the police.

It is, in my view, essential for Police and Crime Commissioners, and those who work in the policing areas that they are responsible for, to listen to – and hear from – young people who are the real end-users of the services that they provide. The insight and intelligence that they can gather by doing so, would be invaluable to them, and significantly improve the practices and priorities in local areas.

There is also more scope for more upstream engagement with young people. There is an opportunity now, for the police to be enabled by government to continue to deliver the Safer Schools Partnerships programme. I echo the APPG’s for the Home Office to examine how the police can do so and find a means through which this can be done without taking funds from the shrinking budgets of local police forces.

Police training

I turn now to the recommendations made by the report in regard to police training. I cannot stress enough the need for the police, and all agencies involved in the criminal justice system, to have a solid understanding of the specific needs of children and young people. But they also need to apply this to the way they communicate and engage with this age group.

Police need to treat young people as children, first and foremost. Among the most crucial reasons for doing so are so that they can identify vulnerability and recognise when children themselves are actually victims – even if they present as offenders.

Detention in police custody

Detention in police custody is another issue, rightly raised in the APPG’s report.

And I hope that the Home Secretary and Education Secretary take up the APPG’s recommendation, to jointly write to all police forces and local authorities reminding them of their statutory duties in this regard.

Police need to be able to secure the effective transfer to local authority accommodation post charge. But it is a duty on local authorities to provide appropriate accommodation; and to make this available when required.

Identification of children’s needs and vulnerabilities

I turn now to APPG report’s recommendations which specifically require action of the YJB. There are 2 of these and I will address each in turn.

Recommendation 20 states:

“The Department of Health should ensure that all liaison and diversion schemes provide dedicated and tailored support to children and young people, and engage with the Youth Justice Board on this matter.”

The prevalence of mental health issues amongst children and young people, who come into contact with the youth justice system, has long been a matter of great concern to me.

A wide range of figures are often bandied about in regard to the extent of the needs of young offenders who fall into this category. But, as the Mental Health Foundation correctly says:

“There is still a scarcity of research data on the precise nature and prevalence of mental health disorders among young people caught up in the criminal justice system.”

Encouragingly, there is a growing, cross-party, consensus for the need to give greater priority to mental health needs throughout the criminal justice system. And some useful initiatives are already underway. There has been Lord Bradley’s follow-up to his ground breaking report. Lord Bradley will be addressing the YJB convention next month.

The YJB, working in collaboration with the Welsh Government to address mental health issues for children and young people, published a guidance document entitled ‘Addressing the Mental Health Problems of Young People in the Youth Justice System in Wales’ two weeks ago.

I have already used this work as a calling card for dialogue with ministers in Whitehall departments, to see if we can identify areas for action in England as well. I recently had a very encouraging meeting with Norman Lamb MP.

Mental health issues in the criminal justice system, including young offender’s mental health, now seems to be on the political radar.

But it is too easy for them to fall through the cracks, not least because the effective pilot that the Health Department ran – to enable the successful liaison and diversion of young people with mental health issues – has been combined with the overall service which caters for more adults than it does young people. I believe the needs of young people needs a distinct focus and effort.

Many young offenders suffer from not being treated as children, in instances where their mental health is a significant, and contributing, factor towards their behaviour and actions. The police, especially, need to be able to access appropriate accommodation for mental health evaluations to take place. The use of police cells as a proxy for that is happening far too frequently now. It is not acceptable to the police, and cannot continue.

Reducing the prosecution of children in care

The second recommendation directed toward the YJB, recommendation 24, states:

“The College of Policing should work with the Youth Justice Board and local criminal justice boards to develop a protocol which will reduce the prosecution of children in care…”

An area where there is clearly need for careful research, and evidence-based reform, is in addressing the appalling number of young people who are – or have been – looked-after children and who then end up in the criminal justice system.

It is a harsh fact that, though less than 2% of young children have contact with children’s services during their life, some 24% of the youth custodial population are, or have been, looked-after children.

Last month I particularly welcomed the suggestion of the Prison Reform Trust for a more comprehensive study to examine how we deal with looked-after children, and to identify the measures needed to help end their over-representation in our criminal justice system. And I have met with them since then, to explore further how this study will take shape and when it will commence.

This work will, in my view, contribute substantially to the need to reduce the over-criminalisation of young people in the care system. I see no reason not to adopt a ‘nationwide protocol’ to support effective practice in this field, to ensure this does not continue. It is essential that we do all we can to provide some life chances and opportunities to children who are already disadvantaged by not being with their parents or living in a stable home.


I am very pleased to note that the report recognises the complexities of the tasks that front-line police men and women face on a daily basis.

It makes many helpful recommendations to the police, and to the other agencies involved in the criminal justice system. In doing so, it recognises that we all strive to achieve common objectives.

I see it as a clarion call to us all, to work together to cut crime off at its headstream and divert young people to a life of positive purpose.

The truth about the Tories and the EU Referendum Bill

The Conservatives have pulled the plug on their own EU Referendum Bill, despite being given the opportunity by the Liberal Democrats to take it before the House of Commons.

Questions are now being asked as to whether this was a short term tactic to distinguish themselves form UKIP by being able to promise a referendum at the next election, which they couldn’t have done if the Coalition had made it law.

For the first time, we are lifting the lid on some of the negotiations behind the scenes in order to reveal the truth to the public.

Quite simply, a deal was being made in government, where the Liberal Democrats offered to grant the required money resolution for Conservative MP Bob Neill’s EU Referendum Bill in return for the Conservatives agreeing to a money resolution for Lib Dem MP Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill.

This is standard practice in government and is a completely reasonable deal – each party getting a money bill for a Private Member’s Bill they feel strongly about.

But the Tories decided to putting forward a proposal they know for certain will be turned down by the Lib Dems – a completely unfair deal where Andrew George’s Bill would only get a money resolution, but Bob Neill’s Bill would have both a money resolution and government time for the EU Referendum Bill.

The Liberal Democrats have been more than willing to sign up to a fair deal that is the same for both sides – i.e. a money bill being granted for both Andrew George and for Bob Neill. This is not the case with the Conservative’s last ditched proposal.

David Ward MP said:

“The Liberal Democrats in Government provided the Conservative’s with a very reasonable and balanced offer which was to provide a Money Resolution to both Andrew George’s Bill on amending the Spare Room Subsidy and the Bob Neill’s Bill seeking an EU Referendum.

“However, as part of this deal the Conservative’s demanded Government time to pass the Referendum Bill which we refused as the Liberal Democrats do not support this Bill, which is why it’s a Private Members Bill in the first place!

“Such a deliberate and nonsensical tactic from the Conservative’s is a calculated move so that in one fell swoop they quash reforms to the Spare Room Subsidy, that had sufficient support from the Lib Dems and Labour to pass, and somehow blame the Lib Dems for not supporting an EU referendum in 2017.”

A spokesperson for the party has said:

“The Liberal Democrats were never going to block Bob Neill’s Referendum bill. We were happy to allow them to try and get it passed in the House of Commons. But the truth is they have folded like a cheap deck chair and are trying to make us take the blame by adding ridiculous conditions they knew we would not and could not accept.”

The only logical conclusion that can be reached is that the Tories don’t really want their bill to pass and are trying to set the Lib Dems up as the scapegoats. Why else would they put forward a proposal they know cannot be agreed?

We can only assume they would prefer it hadn’t become law by the time of the General Election. They would prefer not to be talking about their bottom lines in their proposed grand renegotiation and instead try and deal with UKIP by saying the only way to get a referendum is to vote Tory. They couldn’t do the latter if their bill had become law. They clearly never wanted the referendum bill to pass.

It is amazing that the Conservatives are prepared to sacrifice this Bill, which they say they care about, for some short-term tactical distinction from UKIP

Malcolm Bruce’s open letter to Conservative MPs on the EU Referendum Bill

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Malcolm Bruce has written an open letter to Conservatives MPs following their accusations that the Liberal Democrats have blocked Bob Neill’s EU Referendum Bill.

You can read Malcolm‘s letter below.

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to correct the misinformation contained in Michael Gove’s recent letter to parliamentarians, which accused the Liberal Democrats of ‘killing’ Bob Neill’s European Union (Referendum) Bill.

The claim is utterly false. The Liberal Democrats have never had any intention of preventing this Bill from being debated in the House of Commons. We do not support it – in Government we have already legislated for an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. However, we are more than happy to allow the appropriate passage of Bob Neill’s Private Members Bill, in line with standard Parliamentary procedure.

On that basis, the Liberal Democrats were happy to grant the required money resolution for Bob Neill’s Bill in return for agreement to a money resolution for Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill, as is normal practice.

What we could not accept, however, was the demand by the Conservative leadership that – in return for a money resolution for Andrew George’s Bill – both a money resolution and government time were provided for the EU (referendum) Bill. This would have been highly unusual and would not have been a like-for-like arrangement.

The only logical conclusion, therefore, is that the real block to Bob Neill’s Private Member’s Bill is the Conservative leadership, who – by creating an impossible hurdle for the Bill’s advancement through the Commons – have scuppered it and sought to lay the blame at the Liberal Democrats’ door, while distorting the potential costs of Andrew George’s bill in the process.

I can only assume that the reason they do not wish Bob Neill’s Bill to move ahead is that it’s success would be a serious electoral inconvenience to the Prime Minister and his team next May – because it removes what they believe is their best offer to disaffected Conservative voters who may otherwise be tempted to vote UKIP. One can only infer from their recent behaviour that the Prime Minister actively wants his 2017 referendum to hang in the balance come the General Election, in order to enhance his own appeal.

The risks of such short-term political tactics are an internal matter for the Conservative party. However, the Liberal Democrats will not be used as a shield between a Conservative leadership determined to avoid providing a statutory guarantee for a 2017 referendum and a Conservative backbench determined to deliver it. From our perspective, Bob Neill’s Bill remains entirely within reach – all that is required is for the Conservative Party to follow precedent: providing a money resolution for Andrew George’s Affordable Housing Bill in return for a money resolution for Bob Neill’s Bill.

You will know from your time in the Commons that this fair, equitable arrangement is always the way Private Members Bills are advanced.

Put simply, the message from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservative party is: know a fair offer when you see it, play by the rules and you will get your Bill.

This will remain our position for as long as it is possible for both Bills to proceed.


Malcolm Bruce MP

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Tim Farron joins the ‘nation of lifesavers’ campaign to save 5,000 lives

Liberal Democrat MP for South Lakes, Tim Farron, is urging people to join the campaign to dramatically increase the number of people trained in life-saving CPR and help create a Nation of Lifesavers.

More than 30,0001 people suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK every year – 80%2 of which occur in the home, often in front of family members and loved ones.

But fewer than one in ten people survive3, partly because not enough people have the skills and confidence to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The British Heart Foundation says that the Nation of Lifesavers initiative could save around 5,000 additional lives a year in the UK, based on survival rates in countries like Norway (25%)4 where CPR training is mandatory in schools.

The BHF is calling for CPR and public access defibrillator (PAD) awareness to be taught in all secondary schools and a recent survey showed 82%5 of people would be behind this move.

Since the launch of the campaign on October 16, more than 5,000 people have already signed the petition to make these skills part of the curriculum.

Today, Timhas pledged his support for the Nation of Lifesavers campaign and called on secondary schools and community groups inWestmorland and Lonsdale to order their free Call Push Rescue Training Kit.

Commenting, Tim said: “Cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK fall way behind survival rates in other countries where CPR training is part of the curriculum.

“By joining the Nation of Lifesavers I want to see every child in the UK finish school equipped with the necessary skills to respond in a medical emergency.

“CPR is an important skill and just 30 minutes of training could save someone’s life.”

Tim was joined by Samantha Hobbs, who at 14 helped to save her mum’s life by performing CPR. With her dad, they kept her mum alive until the emergency services arrived and could get her heart beating again with a single electric shock from a defibrillator.

Samantha had been trained in CPR so she knew what to do. Now she’s campaigning to raise awareness amongst others so that more people are trained and more lives can be saved.

Samantha said: “I was only able to help save my mum’s life because I’d been trained in CPR. I don’t know what might have happened if I hadn’t. We’re really pleased to be able to support the BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign and spread the message about the importance of CPR. I hope more lives are saved.”

On October 16, the BHF trained nearly 12,000 schoolchildren at the launch of a new CPR training programme which is free for schools to register for.

The innovative training programme enables schools, workplaces, and community groups to become completely self-sufficient in teaching the three simple steps that could save a life: Call. Push. Rescue.

Simon Gillespie, BHF Chief Executive, said: “Too many lives are lost needlessly because people don’t have the basic CPR skills to act in life-threatening situations.

“We’re determined to radically improve the country’s shocking survival rates and mandatory training in secondary schools will go a long way towards that.

“We need every school, workplace, community group and individual to join the Nation of Lifesavers and help make the UK a safer place to live.”

To help the BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers visit and sign our petition at