New report reveals where personal data is compromised online

A new collaborative report, released today (Tuesday 19 June) by Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, and Forensic Pathways, an internationally recognised organisation operating at the forefront of digital forensics, highlights that alongside the dark web, the surface web plays an integral role in the selling of personal information.

The new research reveals that personal data is being sold on the surface web via forums and is available through online shops, which are accessible via normal search engines. Furthermore, the findings also show that those selling the data give some individuals’ data away for free by using it as an advert to display what information can be purchased.

In a sample of 30,000 victims of identity fraud, almost a third (8,646) were found on the surface web using name, date of birth, email and/or telephone number, with the majority of those identified on a social media platform. Over two-thirds (69%) of individuals were found on Facebook, with 38% on both Facebook and LinkedIn. Individuals aged 61 years and over were found to have a smaller social media presence; they were, however, more likely to have had an account compromised through a data breach.

Once again, as highlighted by last year’s Who are the victims of identity fraud? report, launched jointly with LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, victims that are company directors are more likely to be identifiable from their social media presence and public director registers. This is particularly the case when the correspondence address is the same as a company director’s home address. 76% of company directors had their home address as their correspondence address and in some cases this related to dissolved companies.

Based on the findings in this report, Cifas and Forensic Pathways have put forward a number of recommendations, including:

· Deactivate and delete old profiles on social media sites that you no longer use. Keep track of your digital footprints. If a profile was created ten years ago, there may be personal information currently available for a fraudster to use that you’re are not aware of or you have forgotten about.
· Social media platforms should consider automatically setting a profile to the highest security settings available. It should be an ‘opt-in’ approach for individuals to share personal information, giving them the ability to select what information they choose to reveal.
· Minimise the data you display publicly online. Take a second before adding information to your profile and question how necessary it is to make this information public. The more personal information you reveal, the more comprehensive a picture a fraudster can create to impersonate you.
· Owners of forums should monitor and manage them more strictly. This report shows that forums are being used, not for their intended purpose, but for the selling of personal data. Creators of forums should monitor them regularly and there should be sufficient channels to report abuse.
· Organisations should consider the transparency and proportionality of publicly available data. Further research should be conducted into the balance between transparency and proportionality of publicly available data.

Deborah Leary, CEO Forensic Pathways, said: “The findings are eye-opening. This report not only demonstrates the vulnerabilities of personal data held on surface web platforms, but also highlights the pressing need to monitor these with more vigour. It also reminds us that although illegal activity occurs on the dark web, it is also prevalent on the surface web, where the selling of personal data through forums and online shops is clearly evident. We welcome further collaboration from all industries and sectors in the fight against identity fraud.”

Sandra Peaston, Director of Insight, Cifas, said: “As individuals, we can take steps to protect our identities online, including deleting old profiles and minimising the data we publicly reveal online. For those who want to promote themselves, either professionally or personally, the real dilemma is whether this promotion outweighs the risks of revealing personal sensitive data.

“With identity fraud reaching record levels in recent years, more personal information available online, and increasing numbers of data breaches, the protection of personal data must be viewed as a collective responsibility. Everyone should play their part, from social media platforms taking more responsibility around security settings, to organisations prioritising the security of personal data.”

Saxo Payments Banking Circle VP of Marketing appointed to the Executive Board of the European Women Payments Network

Miranda McLean, VP of Marketing at ground-breaking financial utility, Saxo Payments Banking Circle since its launch, has been appointed to the Executive Board of the European Women Payments Network.

The European Women Payments Network (EWPN), is focused on championing the skills and expertise of women in the burgeoning FinTech and payments sectors. In particular, through mentorship, leadership programmes, networking events and workshops, EWPN is providing the opportunity for women to learn, network, share and celebrate their achievements.

The appointment of Miranda McLean to the Executive Board signals the EWPN’s ambition to further extend its reach and influence throughout the European business community.

‘”The FinTech sector is, itself, breaking new ground and challenging the status quo”, explained Miranda McLean. “It therefore makes sense for those working in this sector to advocate diversity and inclusiveness – and for women to lead that cause.

“I am tremendously excited to have been appointed to the Executive Board and look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to extend the reach and influence of the EWPN.”

Miranda McLean has built a considerable reputation for developing and executing successful marketing strategies for a wide range of financial services businesses over more than two decades. Starting her career at Thomson Financial, she has also held senior positions at Reuters, Standard and Poor, Lexis Nexis, Equifax and Ukash. In 2015 she was appointed by payments start-up, Saxo Payments, to create the brand identity and marketing strategy which has taken the cross border financial utility to a multi-million dollar business in less than three years.

As a highly motivated marketer, Miranda believes barriers to opportunity only exist if vision is blinkered. She has committed to self-development and improvement at every stage of her career to build a wealth of experience in global and European brand development, execution and management. She aims to bring that enthusiasm and energy to her new role at EWPN.

Martha Mghendi-Fisher, Founder of the European Women Payments Network added: “Since our formation in 2015, we have focused on building a strong network of women working in the sector who can share their experiences to help others to progress their careers. Now we want to take the Network to the next level of influence and Miranda McLean’s experience in the field of marketing will be invaluable to hone our messages and extend our reach.”

Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Ltd. Partners with Xactium to Enhance Risk Management Capabilities

In response to continued growth in and diversification of the business, Arbuthnot Latham has chosen to implement the Xactium Risk management system across the organisation.

Xactium will enhance Arbuthnot’s existing risk management capabilities, supporting standardisation of risks and providing real-time risk monitoring and reporting capabilities.

Aidan Brock, Head of Risk at Arbuthnot Latham & Co explains: “We are always looking for ways to improve how we manage risks within the Bank and Xactium provides us with a flexible, user friendly and intuitive solution that will support us in managing risks in a more consistent and proactive way across the business”

Andy Evans, CEO and Founder of Xactium adds: “We are delighted to announce Arbuthnot as our newest Financial Services customer and we look forward to working with them to ensure timely implementation of our solution across their organisation. Our team will be on-hand to provide the necessary training and support to ensure the transition period is as smooth as possible.”

Bank of England’s warning on 0% credit card deals signals growing concern

Following the Bank of England’s recent letter warning about the growing risks attached to the provision of 0% credit card balance transfer offers,

Daoud Fakhri, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on what this means for credit card providers: ‘‘For the second time this year, the Bank of England has warned lenders about making unrealistic assumptions about their 0% credit card balance transfer portfolios. The Prudential Regulation Authority sent out a letter on 6 June warning that some credit card providers with high exposure to the 0% balance transfer market may be guilty of overly optimistic assumptions about customer retention rates, thus impacting on calculations of Effective Interest Rate (EIR) income.

‘‘Virgin Money, currently the subject of a takeover bid by CYGB, has made an aggressive play in the balance transfer market – it currently offers a 36 month 0% deal, one of the longest on the market – and consequently has an above-average reliance on EIR as an income source. This will leave it more vulnerable than most, should customers reduce their debt exposure more quickly than expected.

‘‘However, this is an issue for the whole industry, and credit card providers would be well advised to act on the PRAs advice to review their EIR assumptions and consider applying interest income-at-risk limits. Should the economy continue to underperform, consumers are likely to become increasingly risk-averse and reduce their indebtedness. Consequently, providers that have been banking on a given level of interest income will have to contend with a significant shortfall.’’

Experian ‘one of most innovative companies in the world’

Experian® has been named among the top 100 most innovative companies in the world for the fifth year in a row by Forbes magazine. In the publication’s eighth annual list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies,” Experian climbed to the rank of 57th and was amongst the top 10 most innovative companies headquartered in Europe.

Technology, innovation and new sources of data are fusing to create an unprecedented number of new ways to solve pressing business and consumer challenges. This accolade underscores Experian’s commitment to innovation, and using the power of data and technology to transform lives, businesses and economies for the better.

“It is an honour to be recognised for innovation for the fifth year running,” said Brian Cassin, CEO, Experian. “We have created a culture of continuous innovation focused on opportunities for businesses and consumers in today’s digital and data economy.”

Experian has jumped up 40 places in this year’s ranking, placing it alongside some of the world’s leading technology companies including Tesla, Netflix and Amazon. Forbes’ ranking identifies firms that investors believe to be innovative at present, and that will continue to achieve profitable new growth through innovation in the future. This recognition demonstrates investors’ confidence in Experian’s ability to innovate both today and in the years ahead.

New survey reveals that 30% of businesses don’t have a social media policy

A survey conducted by leading regional law firm Howes Percival has revealed that 30% of businesses surveyed did not have a social media policy – potentially leaving them exposed to reputational damage, disclosure of confidential information and inappropriate or harmful content or behaviour.

The survey of 220 business leaders, representing a broad range of sectors and size of organisation, ranging from companies with a turn-over of less than £1m to global players with a significant sector presence nationally and internationally, was designed to examine the way in which businesses engage with social media.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the most used platforms for businesses and organisations, with the majority (86%) having a presence on LinkedIn and just over three quarters using Twitter. Creating a brand identity, positive brand associations, and raising brand awareness were the predominant reasons for businesses’ social media presence.

In addition to building and raising brand awareness (49%), other core reasons businesses gave for maintaining a social media presence included improving communication and interaction with key audiences (21%), tracking competitors (10%) and increasing web traffic (9%). Only 40% of respondents said they participate in discussion groups for their sector on social media.

The survey also questioned companies about their ‘go to social media’. The most used sites were LinkedIn (89%), Twitter (54%), Facebook (37%), Google+ (16%) and YouTube (11%).

Worryingly, 4% of the organisations surveyed admitted to having a significant issue with the misuse of social media and/or the internet in their business.

Commenting on the research findings, Edward Lee, Howes Percival Partner and corporate law expert said, “Regardless of the industry you operate in or whether your business is a multi-national or a one-man band, social media offers a great opportunity for companies to establish and promote their brands and products. With millions of subscribers, they’re also an effective platform to connect with customers.

“While social media is undoubtedly a great marketing tool, inappropriate use by employees can cause real problems. We were concerned to see that nearly a third of companies don’t have a social media policy to help guard against potentially damaging postings or online behaviour, such as harassment, by employees. Thankfully, most companies said they haven’t experienced any significant problems with their employees’ online behaviour, but a small minority had. Anecdotal evidence from our survey suggests that distractions caused by social media usage by employees, especially Facebook, while at work is a major concern for some businesses.”

Edward Lee continued, “To help avoid social media pitfalls, companies should put in place a written social media policy. This should be clearly communicated to staff and should outline if, and how, internet use is limited during working time and using company computers. Sanctions for breaching confidentially online, or posting material which could damage the company’s reputation, or making offensive or discriminatory comments, should also be included.”

UK technology startup Rimilia secures place in Microsoft ScaleUp programme

Rimilia, a leading global intelligent financial automation software provider, has announced a collaboration with Microsoft after being accepted onto the current cohort of the select Microsoft ScaleUp programme.

The Microsoft ScaleUp programme, part of the Microsoft for Startups initiative, connects companies with new customers and channel partners and is underpinned by a $500 million investment to drive innovation and growth. Through a rigorous assessment, Rimilia beat hundreds of entrants to secure a place on the programme, as one of only 12 organisations accepted.

The Rimilia solution automates the complete account receivables process, enabling organisations to control their cashflow and cash collection in real-time, using sophisticated analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict customer payment behaviour and easily match and reconcile payments, removing the uncertainty of cash collection.

Whilst the Rimilia solution integrates with any ERP system, Rimilia already has a number customers on the Microsoft Azure platform including Interserve, Securitas and Rentokil. Rimilia has commenced migrating its global blue chip customer base onto Azure, and recent customer wins are being deployed onto the Microsoft Azure application service, delivering enhanced security, resilience, scalability and responsiveness.

MD Microsoft for Startups, Warwick Hill said: “We were struck by Rimilia’s solution. We constantly look to drive value for both Microsoft Clients and the companies being supported in our ScaleUp program – Rimilia is a perfect example of that sweet spot. The ability for our clients to leverage Rimilia’s solution to automate and digitally transform their accounts receivable and audit processes will drive the co-sell partnership for years to come. The power of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics365, coupled with Rimilia’s specific industry and software expertise is a powerful combination.”

Steve Richardson, CCO and co-founder of Rimilia, said: “We are delighted to be working on the Microsoft Startups programme. Microsoft has been tremendously supportive and professional throughout the whole onboarding process. Having never lost a customer to a competitor the extra “stickiness” of working with Microsoft will consolidate that position as well as create a base to support our ambitious expansion plans.”

Equifax joins Scottish Financial Enterprise

Equifax, the consumer and business insights expert, has joined Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) to enhance its collaboration, engagement and partnerships with fellow SFE members.

Equifax organises, assimilates and analyses data on millions of consumers and businesses worldwide and is one of the largest sources of detailed consumer and business data in the UK.

Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights into consumer behaviour and drivers behind the economy. This intelligence helps its clients drive their businesses forward and consumers access the products and services they can reasonably afford.

Equifax also helps organisations to protect against fraud and comply with regulation, and consumers protect their identity and access credit.

Robert McKechnie, Senior Manager for Vertical Propositions at Equifax, said: “As a data and insight business, we know how important it is to work directly with the financial services industry, so we’re delighted to join SFE which provides an excellent opportunity to help shape and drive financial services across Scotland and the wider UK.

“The financial services sector has always been a strong component of the Scottish economy with global banks, insurance and asset management companies, as well as legal and accountancy firms located throughout the country. From an Equifax perspective, we see a huge amount of our focus in the coming years being proactively participating in advancements in Open Banking and Commercial Credit Data Sharing – and our relationship with SFE will enhance our collaboration, engagement and partnership approach in these areas. We very much look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Scottish Financial Enterprise and its member organisations.”

Graeme Jones, Scottish Financial Enterprise Chief Executive, said: “Equifax has shown a real interest in supporting the financial services industry here in Scotland and becoming an active partner in SFE. I have no doubt Equifax will be a great addition to our diversifying and expanding membership, which reflects the changing landscape of financial services in Scotland.

“Scotland has a long-track record of innovation and it’s positive to see data and insight companies, such as Equifax, looking to form partnerships within our sector and also support the work SFE and our members are doing to strengthen financial services in Scotland for the long-term.”

Stonebridge Group records record month for mortgage apps

Stonebridge Group, the mortgage and insurance network, has today (14th June 2018) announced its best ever month for mortgage applications with its advisers last month seeking £800 million of loans for clients.

May’s figures showed a considerable 16% month-on-month increase from April, with the previous best month for Stonebridge being back in February this year.

Stonebridge’s year-to-date figures for mortgage applications also show an overall 16% increase on the same period in 2017.

The network puts the increase in application business down to an increase in productivity from its advisers and AR firms, plus a 4% increase in the average mortgage applied for.

Mortgage application business was split between 55% purchases and 45% remortgages/product transfers.

The record month shows Stonebridge Group bucking the wider market trend with the Bank of England recently announcing that the number of new mortgage ‘commitments’ agreed by lenders had fallen to £61.1 billion in Q1 2018, a 5.9% drop on the previous quarter. This was the lowest amount since Q1 2016.

The network has close to 550 active advisers, spread across 250 AR partner firms; a further 16 advisers are currently in the network’s pipeline and will be brought under its umbrella shortly.

Jo Carrasco, Business Partnerships Director at Stonebridge Group, commented: “Despite some of the general market figures coming out of the Bank of England for recent months, and the year to date, we have had a very strong start to the year in terms of mortgage activity. Our applications continue to move upwards and to post a record month in May, following similar activity levels throughout 2018 is very pleasing.

“Productivity from advisers within the Stonebridge Group is predominantly the reason for this, coupled with an increase in the average loan size, and it’s clear there is a growing demand for mortgage advice from the general public, particularly given the increased complexity and the fact that clients want access to the whole of market.

“It’s for this reason that we are worried by some of the measures proposed in the FCA’s recent Mortgages Market Study Interim Report. The benefits of advice should be clear to all, and the fact the regulator appears to think lenders have over-egged the pudding in terms of following MMR is not helpful. Our advisers provide a quality service with the added protection that advice offers; for the regulator to be supportive of a process which pushes more consumers via direct channels and makes it easier to conduct execution-only business is a retrograde step, and should be resisted by all within our industry.”

Corlytics grows in A&O’s Fuse programme

Corlytics, the innovative regulatory risk intelligence and analytics team has secured a new banking client, following the success of its time in Allen & Overy’s Fuse programme.

Set up in September 2017, Fuse is a tech innovation space where hand-picked innovative fintech and legaltech companies, Allen & Overy lawyers, technologists and their clients collaborate to explore, develop and test legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions. Having spent six months at Fuse Corlytics, a recognised world leader in determining regulatory risk impact, hopes to collaborate with A&O on further opportunities.

Extending the A&O ecosystem
Corlytics was originally selected for its advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) modelling that it has used to develop its regulatory enforcement database. The internal team at Corlytics is made up of leading data scientists, seasoned technologists, proven banking risk practitioners and expert lawyers.

Mike O’Keeffe, general manager of Corlytics Solutions explains, “The access to the Fuse innovation programme was a huge boost both in the development of our products and critically to access to senior banking clients. Having been part of the programme, we are now working directly with new clients introduced to us by A&O.”

He continues, “Being part of the programme at Fuse, we have become part of its ecosystem. That has benefited us enormously. Lending extra credibility to our offer. As part of the extended ecosystem, A&O is now overseeing some cutting edge innovative work with two further banking clients.”

Shruti Ajitsaria, Head of Fuse at Allen & Overy, added: “Working alongside the first cohort of Fuse companies has enabled us to keep abreast of the constantly changing legal and regulatory tech ecosystem. We are really pleased with the standard of the companies that first joined us and the transformative work already underway. We have now invited a second wave of companies who joined us at the start of May and we look forward to further successes.”