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LEE BOYCE :Lock up the imposters preying on our mobile phones

Appeal: Police need all the firepower they can get to put ruthless fraudsters behind bars

‘Hi Jordan. It’s dad. Those were the first words I spoke to my closest friend a few years ago after calling his cell phone.

For 30 seconds he thought I was his dear daddy.

The reason? Although I called him from my own cell phone, I had “spoofed” his landline number so that the words “dad” appeared as the caller on his screen.

Appeal: Police need all the firepower they can get to put ruthless fraudsters behind bars

Appeal: Police need all the firepower they can get to put ruthless fraudsters behind bars

Before you start worrying about me being Money Mail Editor by day and a scammer by night, rest assured this was just an experiment.

You see, I had been invited by Barclays to their London headquarters to see how easy it can be to ‘forge’ a phone number.

All Barclays had to do was find software readily available online and type in the number I wanted to “spoof” – Jordan’s father – and presto.

Jordan and I were a little shocked, to say the least. He couldn’t figure out how I managed to make it look like a call on his cell phone was from his dad.

And I walked out of Canary Wharf in London terrified at how easily fraudsters impersonate a bank, the police, the taxman, your telecoms provider or, indeed, anyone else they love .

These impersonation criminals are often part of organized crime groups, with nifty scripts to read and a bucket full of common sense.

When you put it all together – the technology, the script, common sense, teamwork – no wonder it’s so hard for victims of cruel identity theft scams to tell the difference between a crook and a real bank staff.

Credit where it’s due – an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into one of the leading number spoofing websites last week has brought to light this terrible blight on society.

They shut down one of the biggest impersonation websites and made the arrests public.

This is the first sign for scammers that the net might finally be tightening.

That’s why today we’re asking Money Mail readers to help the Met with its investigations. The police need all the firepower they can get to put these heartless crooks behind bars.

Write to us at Money Mail and we will pass your information on to the authorities in confidence. Or better yet, you can go straight to Action Fraud and report, piecemeal, what happened to you.

If you’re still short of money due to fraud, there’s no excuse for delaying – you may even find it helps get your money back – even if you’ve been the victim of a ‘scammer’ scammer. “a long time ago, please contact the police.

Unfortunately, as the Met told us this week, shutting down impersonation websites is like hitting a mole; as soon as they break one, another pops up.

Your help is therefore essential to send a clear message to these dastardly scammers: committing financial fraud means spending time inside.

parking plague

Private parking companies lead us around with their habit of handing out fines like confetti. And the plague continues to spread.

A whopping 30,000 parking fees a day have been sent to beleaguered motorists over the past year.

Of course, we need restrictions to prevent parking from becoming free access where no one can park near their home or the station.

But on the other hand, rules and regulations should not punish drivers unfairly or make people fear driving in the city because it is so difficult to avoid a fine.

Over the past five years, Mrs. B and I have received three parking fines. We appealed all three and all three were overturned.

In one example, we parked in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on our way home from a day in nearby Holland-on-Sea.

I entered the license plate number into the machine and put the ticket in the windshield – only later did I receive an invoice in the post.

I had long since thrown away the note. I still had to pay the £60 fine even though I had paid by card so I had proof of the transaction.

I appealed through POPLA – an independent appeal service – with the proof and like magic it was struck off. It’s high time to crack down on the lengthy process of appealing parking fines.

Motorists who follow the rules are tired of these locusts.

l.boyce@dailymail.co.uk

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