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Car Thief Breaking A Glass In Car With CrowbarThe decision by the Victorian Government to withdraw funding to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council is a disgrace. It was never my intention in this blog to raise political matters, other than my small involvement in the removal of Fire Service Levy’s across Australia, which continues until such time as Tasmania sees the light.

Having said this, the decision by the Victorian Government, under Robin Scott the Acting Minister for Police, to remove funding to the national motor vehicle theft reduction council cannot go without comment. Night after night the television news has scenes of cars been broken into. In the last month or so in our office we have had one person’s car broken into while parked in front of their home and another witness his neighbour being bashed and his car stolen right in front of his home as he left for work. Three cars in my residential street have been broken into at night, while a number of cars around our office have been broken into in broad daylight.

This whole issue is much greater than cars just being broken into. There is evidence that 4 wheel drives and earth moving equipment are being stolen and shipped to the Middle East to war zones or to war recovery zones. The number of high value cars that are never recovered is also on the increase. Here, it is my understanding that many of these are being put into shipping containers and sent overseas,  under the false label of ‘car parts’. As I say above, it is not just motor vehicles but also mobile plant and machinery, particularly earth moving equipment that is being stolen. There is also the strong possibility that the funds from these criminal activities is in part being used to fund or at least aid overseas terrorist activities. The seriousness of this whole issue cannot be overstated.

It is certainly more than just a few teenagers going for a joy ride, rather it is organised crime which appears to have extended its tentacles into some tow truck operations, panel shops and when you bring in staged traffic accidents, some dubious law firms. It is a huge issue that effects all Victorians in some way even if you are not a direct victim, it does potentially mean higher motor insurance and CTP premiums.

Let us put this into perspective. We are not talking about millions of dollars in savings. The amount of the Victorian Government’s contribution was $300,000 per year. If we say the approximate population of Victoria is 6 million, we are talking about each of us contributing 5 cents towards reducing the theft of motor vehicles. I repeat, 5 cents per person.

Rather than the funding being cut, which I might add, is matched dollar for dollar by the insurance industry, meaning the Council loses $600,000, the funding should have in fact been increased in line with the growing increase in the crime rate and community concern.

nmvtrcLogoTo learn more about what the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council does, I would refer you to the open letter from David Morgan’s, Chairman of the Council to Mr Robin Scott, acting Minister for Police – see here.

Please note that I am not involved in any way with the Council but simply and passionately feel, on what I know of the work of this Council, that the benefit to the community far outweighs the cost of the funding.

John Locke, the great 17th Century English philosopher believed that the primary role of government is to protect individual life, liberty, and property. My own view is that nothing has changed and that by failing to provide adequate police and funding to organisations such as the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, the current Victorian government is failing in its primary duty to the citizens of Victoria.

The question that keeps coming into my mind is: if taking away the funding to the Council and not supporting the genuine and reasonable requests of the police for additional staffing, funding, and further support to reduce the number of motor vehicle  and machinery thefts including car jackings, and crime in general, is not helping the citizens of Victoria, who is benefiting and who is the Government protecting by turning a blind eye and cutting this vital funding?

youi-pty-ltd-logoDisappointing, however in some ways not surprising, Youi Australia is now being questioned about their practices following a media field day in New Zealand which I reported on back on August 12.

Now in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald is claiming through whistle blowers that there was a culture within the organisation for behaviour which would appear not to be in the spirit of Utmost Good Faith, which as I have repeatedly reported is paramount to the future success of the insurance industry.

Product Recalls – Week 34 2016

August 26th, 2016 | Posted by Allan in Product Recall - (0 Comments)

Recall word on a barrier or blockade warning sign to illustrateThis week (20/08/16 – 26/08/16) the Product Safety Australia updates include recalls from the below:

 

Whaling Attack

August 25th, 2016 | Posted by Allan in Cyber - (0 Comments)

Security Breach Cyber Attack Computer Crime Password ConceptRecently, we posted an article where we had a whaling attack, sometimes known as a CEO scam attack. Luckily we dodged a bullet and caught it in time.

I read today with interest, an article from CPA Australia which estimated that such attacks cost the industry US$2.3 billion in the last 3 years alone. As I also reported, many people have lost their job over it and in at least one case there has been a suicide.

Not all cyber policies cover this type of attack and we all need to be vigilant to ensure that we are not duped by the scam.

As I reported with our attack, I worked with both Victoria Police and Westpac bank and what I have learnt since about the account that was put forward for us to pay the phoney invoice was that the holder of the account was not involved in the scam. Rather, that he was someone who had recently retired from the security industry and was seeking companionship online and was allegedly approached by a woman from Ghana who after a period of time asked him to open, not one but, multiple accounts within Australia so she could transfer money into the accounts in preparation for her moving to Australia to be with her new ‘boyfriend’.

Of course, the whole thing was rubbish and as soon as the accounts were opened, communication with the woman(?) ceased, and he did not think to cancel the accounts until the true purpose of the accounts was explained to him as part of the investigation process.

Just another reason to be careful with online relationships.

Ocky StrapsFrom when my son, Steven, was a young boy I warned him of the dangers of ocky straps and he has always taken reasonable care using them and more often than not, used the more safe ratchet strap tie down on a trailer or the like.

He had to take home a box that was bigger than the boot of his car and therefore needed to strap down the boot for the short drive home of less than a kilometer between the hardware store and his home. During the process of tieing it down using an ocky strap, the hook straightened and flicked straight back into his face, narrowly and fortunately missing his eye but causing severe bruising to his nose and cheek.

These elastic tie down straps are very dangerous and I just want to warn everyone that they should be used with extreme caution.

 

 

 

EDIT: We received the following image from a reader, Matthew, sharing once of his experiences with the ocky strap. Wowee! This cab driver was determined to leave no man or luggage behind.

Allan, you may want to have a chat to my cab driver in Hong Kong!IMG_2691

As a father, it was quite pleasing to see my son, Steven, be named one of the fifty ‘young guns’ of the Insurance Industry by Insurance Business. As the article accompanying his photograph states, he is forging his own space and name within the insurance industry and is doing a great deal to educate new entrants and also the public on the importance of insurance and unraveling some of the jargon for which we are famous.

Well Done Steve.

Steve - Young Gun

Product Recalls – Week 33 2016

August 19th, 2016 | Posted by Allan in Product Recall - (0 Comments)

This week (15/08/16 – 19/08/16) the Product Safety Australia updates include recalls from the below: Recall word on a barrier or blockade warning sign to illustrate

Racer Australia — “Jack Assembly Screw Bottle” Vehicle Jack

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Gluten Free Bakehouse Pty Ltd — Various Zehnder Gluten Free Breads

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Noc Noc — Organic Miniature Teething Rattle, Organic Teething Rattle, Organic Ring Stacker

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Volvo Group Australia — Mack Titan, Granite, Super-Liner, Metro-Liner, Trident Trucks

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BSH Home Appliances Pty Ltd—Neff branded dishwashers (specified models manufactured between February 2004 and June 2005)

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Tyres4U—All Wheels Australia LC200 wheel rims

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Cycling Sports Group Inc—Cannondale Bad Boy and Bad Girl bicycles 2010-2012

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Deere & Company / John Deere Limited — John Deere Lawn and Garden Tractor models X710, X730, X734, X738 and X739

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Performax International — FORD MY14 and MY15 F250 and F350 Trucks

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Mayborn ANZ Pty Ltd — Tommee Tippee Super Soft Comforter Age 12m+

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Scam alert

August 17th, 2016 | Posted by Allan in Cyber | Risk Management - (0 Comments)

verizonOver the past two days I have had several emails saying that an account is over due. All have proved to be found to be scam emails trying to get me to click on a link.

The common feature has been  that the sender is using a Verizon.net email address.

On the Verizon website in their Support area, it has an address you can report scams, that email address being spamdetector.notcaught@verizon.net,  but when I tried to write to it, the email bounced back saying the email address is non existent.

Three take away points for us.

  1. we have blocked all emails to our staff from Verizon.net
  2. we are particularly careful of any emails originating from this source.
  3. you have to question the brand when the website links in the support area do not work.

verizon 2Steve Manning from our office is working on the feasibility of providing a service where you can just copy the wording of a questionable email into a search bar to see if it has been identified as a scam. We know the government has ScamWatch and this is good but the search function we are testing if it will be of benefit. I will report what we learn rather than me keep posting every scam I see cross my desk which can be up to 5 a day.

scamwatchThey have always been around in many forms, however the influx of scams via all communication methods lately has been overwhelming. I reported not long ago, shortly after an aggravated burglary at our Melbourne office of an email scam directed at our financial controller, since then we have also had other employees targeted with similar email scams as well as bank account skimming to another few employees.

Unfortunately, I am here again reporting on a phone scam suffered by one of our employees whereby they received a phone call, the person on the other end claiming to be from Telstra who was informing them that their IP address had been hacked and they were monitoring the computer until now where it will be shut down because of this threat. A full detail of the scam can be found on the Scam Watch website and while posted back in 2014, the scam is still occurring due to lack of knowledge and understanding. I encourage you all to read through the latest scams and consistently be up to date with the possibilities so you are not caught out.

It is important that if you are at all in doubt of the legitimacy of an email or a scam from a company that you either go in store and question them in person or call them yourself on a number that you know belongs to their company and seek clarification of the email or phone call.

Since posting my article regarding the panel beating industry, many people from both Victoria and New South Wales have contacted me sharing their experiences of poor service and behaviour and names of dodgy panel beaters.

Insurance News have also picked up the article and posted further on this situation. Congratulations to Insurance News for recognising this crucial problem

I am now working at starting an informal committee with a number of people to see how we can tackle this growing and insidious problem.

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