PIN numbers for payment cards could soon be a thing of the past.

The aim to tighten security within the payments industry is well under way with Visa Australia at the forefront. Several years ago they abolished signatures and now it looks like the not-so-trusty PIN number is the next to go.

Visa Australia is claiming new technologies seen already on mobile devices such as Apple Pay will soon be implemented throughout the world allowing us to pay for items simply by using our thumbprint, retina or even voice.

Rob Wallis, head of product at Visa Australia told The Sun “Industry research suggests eight out of ten people are using the same PIN across a majority of their payment cards. In 2020, the average consumer will have more than 200 passwords to remember”.

With people advised to use different passwords for each login, the concept of using your body as verification could completely change the way we spend money throughout the world.

This means that ID verification will be more important than ever before. Here at Security Watchdog we can supply cutting edge technology for KYC (Know you customer) ID and age verification so you know that your business is ready for the future.

Visit for more information.

The 4th Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive – The impact so far

Since its introduction on June 26th 2017 the 4th AML has caused quite a stir, mainly because of the lack of prior warning of the finer details. The overall objective of the directive is to ensure that the UK’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regime is kept up to date, effective and proportionate. This should help to safeguard the UK’s financial system and ensure that it is an increasingly tough environment for both money laundering and terrorist financing.

How has it affected the industry since its introduction?

One of the most affected industries is the estate agent market. Combined with new investigation powers given to HMRC within the Criminal Finance Act 2017, agents are now obliged to perform further due diligence on cash buyers and sellers of properties which has begun to delay the buying process by as much as 6 months.

HMRC are already visiting higher risk estate agents, especially in London, who deal with foreign cash buyers. Lenders and agents also need to check whether buyers and sellers are politically exposed either in the UK or abroad.

With the new regime in full swing agents are seeing increased workloads due to the larger volume of administration required. On top of that, existing staff are required to retrain and in some cases agents are having to employ more staff to help with the administrative burden.

Some agents have excess of 100 branches and have received very little time to implement the new regulations meaning that a surprise visit from HMRC could result in some serious penalties.

Implementing these regulations will require businesses to re-think their current approaches to KYC as additional manpower, new technology, resource and improved process are called for. In short, the impact has been far reaching, the cost of which is being picked up by the consumer through increased house prices and fees.

Industry heads are recommending that agents appoint a money laundering officer or outsource the service to a specialist so that they are compliant and not falling foul of the directive resulting in fines from the HM Treasury.

This is where we come in…

The Advisory Bureau at Security Watchdog draws from over 20 years experience in risk mitigation and is therefore ideally placed to carry out audits to ensure full compliance with the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Landmark case could have implications for passport applicants

The European Court of Justice is to rule on a case involving a dual British-Spanish citizen seeking authorisation for her Algerian husband to live with her in the UK.

Under current UK immigration law, British nationals must meet certain criteria before bringing family members from outside of the EEA into the country.  In this case however, the applicant, a Spanish woman who has settled in the UK and acquired British citizenship whilst retaining her Spanish citizenship, is attempting to use her rights under EU law which state that any individual moving to another EU country is entitled to bring family members, including adult dependents, with them and are less restrictive than UK immigration rules. 

The woman’s husband, currently residing in the UK, has applied for a residence card based on the rights bestowed by her EU membership, but was turned down by the Home Office based on her status as a UK citizen.

The case was referred to the Grand Chamber by the High Court last year and its significance and possible ramifications have attracted legal submissions from Spain, Poland and the UK Home Secretary.  If the Home Office wins the case, precedence could be set for all EU countries to put their own domestic policies before those set out in EU law, which could have wide reaching ramifications not just for the UK, but also the other 27 EU member states.

This would also indicate that any dual nationality EU nationals currently living within the UK are no longer recognised as EU citizens in the context of their rights to bring family members from outside the EEA into the UK, which in turn could affect many EU nationals currently considering applying for British citizenship to secure their right to remain in the UK post Brexit.

For help with UK immigration law, please contact us using the button below.

Right to Work in the UK Check

It is every employers responsibility to ensure all employees, no matter their place of birth, to check that they have a legal right to work in the UK. Fines and even company closures can result from failure to do so.

Unfair Dismissal Upheld

An employment tribunal upheld the right of a bus company to dismiss an employee after checks revealed that he could not produce evidence of his right to work in the UK, despite being given numerous chances and assistance by his company to do so.

The bus company discovered during a check of its employees that one of its drivers, that had worked at the company for years, could not produce evidence that he had the right to work in the UK. Mr Baker was Jamaican born, but has lived in the UK since childhood. He therefore has right of abode, which is the right to live in the UK indefinitely, but had no evidence of his right to work. His Jamaican passport had expired so his employer lent him £350 to renew it, but stated he had to get the passport endorsed confirming his right to work in the UK. The passport was renewed, but Mr Baker failed to request the endorsement, leaving his employer no choice under immigration law but to dismiss him.

Immigration law states that it is the responsibility of every company to ensure all employees have the right to work in the UK. There is a penalty of £20k per illegal worker if employers fail to do so.

Separating Dr Jekyll from Mr Hyde - HR Grapevine

In its November 2016 edition HR Grapevine undertook to examine the problem of determining how employers can ensure a prospective candidate applying for a role within their organisation is qualified to perform and fulfill that role? The answer is obviously by conducting such skill tests required for the job and by conducting background checks, using employment screening resources to confirm that the candidate has the required qualifications, experience and moral integrity to do so.

They sought the opinions of industry leaders to shed light on how to conduct best practice screening of candidates.

Read the article 'here'.

Why didn't they run a qualifications check?

This report emphasises the importance of background screening for senior position within an organisatino, something many large corporations fail to do, relying purely on trust.

Metro Newspaper today reported that a 'Walter Mitty' builder managed to become chairman of two NHS Trusts after claiming to have a PhD, Masters and other degrees.

Jon Andrews pocketed over £1 million in salaries and expenses during his 9 years as chairman of Torbay Healthcare Trust and Chairman of Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust . He has now been jailed for 2 years by a judge at Exeter Crown Court after admitting three counts of fraud against the Trusts.

After later making enquiries with three universities it was established that Andrew's only qualification was a higher education diploma in social work.

Young gamblers not challenged

UK bookmakers are failing to check the ages of young gamblers using FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals) in their shops claim campaign group 38 Degrees.

The challenge tests found that teenage “mystery shoppers” were able to place bets using the terminals in over 50% of the shops run by some of the UK’s largest gambling chains. The terminals allow users to place single bets as high as £100 on casino games like black jack, bingo and roulette. In the UK it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 years to gamble. Most high street betting shops use the ‘Think 21’ standard to challenge they believe are underage.

The campaign was conducted in fifteen of the UK's most deprived areas and the 'testers' where chosen specifically because they looked young. UK law states it is illegal for anyone under 18 years to enter premises for the purpose of gambling. It is also a criminal offence for operators not to challenge those they believe to be under this age.

The Least Challenging!

The high street chains dominate in this market, so you might think that they would be the most likely companies to challenge youths using the FOBTs. In fact of the 32 William Hill branches tested only 7 challenged the age of the tester. At BetFred 5 of 15 shops asked for proof of age and Ladbroke/Coral made a challenge in only 50% of the 30 shops tested. The best performer, but not by much, was Paddy Power who made the challenge in 13 of their 22 stores.

In total betters collectively lost around £2 billion on these terminals last year and they have the reputation of being very addictive. However, no software is installed on the terminals to check the age of users should the management fail to challenge potentially under-age customers. 

Most of the big chains have welcomed the results of the test and are now to conduct their own internal investigations.

Betting using FOBTs is big business in the UK,which is also fueling the growing problem of gambling addiction. The survey does highlight that more care needs to be taken by operators to restrict underage  users placing bets. Technology has been developed which can provide ID and age verification at the point of use, so operators need to consider making an upgrade to machines to incorporate this technology.

Are you ready for GDPR?

Most organisations and businesses are still blissfully unaware just how much the new European General Data Protection Regime (GDPR) is going to affect their business processes. They are also unaware of the severity of the fines if they are not compliant.

Businesses need to be aware of five important things: -

  • They will need to identify each and every one of their business processes which involve handling data to see which are subject to GDPR and detail how that data will be processed, stored and used
  • They will then have to then have to ensure each process conforms to their data privacy policy, or amend the process, or the policy so it complies. Failing that a separate policy may be required to be written for that process.
  • They will need to employ and pay the salary and expenses of a Data Protection Officer, whose job it is to make the Data Protection Impact Assessments and report back whether or not you are compliant to the member state's Data Protection Regulator, or Privacy Commission. So effectively you pay for someone, bound by law to report on your company if you are in breach of the law.
  • Each member state can write its own data protection laws, so there will be no set standard across the whole EU. This could mean in theory that each business has to write several policies for one business process.
  • Penalties for non-compliance can run into millions of Euros.