Scammers make sure the Force is with them

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2003, 12:00am

Shady financial types are becoming decidedly more innovative.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which guards against global money-laundering, recently found this out.

FATF is best known for blacklisting countries who fail to comply with accepted standards - otherwise known as being shameless conduits for fraud, tax evasion and shonky companies.

But in the process of clamping down on dirty cash, FATF has itself unwittingly played into the hands of fraudsters.

Scammers are using the FATF name to fleece people trying to make international transfers of cash.

According to the anti-money laundering group, scam artists are asking for fees for 'fictitious services relating to verification of the origin of the funds'.

If the customer refuses to pay the fees, the funds are blocked, FATF says. The organisation neither provides such services nor does it request fees or block accounts.

It is somewhat ironic, however, to see the anti-laundering body being used to take people to the cleaners.


Are your resolutions to get fit in 2003 already falling by the wayside?

A trip to the Physical gym in Causeway Bay may be just the thing. They have discipline down to a fine art.

This, however, has very little to do with shedding pounds. It has instead gone to the heart of what constitutes good gym behaviour.

No chewing gum.

Tattoos must be covered.

No swearing.

And the latest dictum: no use of mobile phones in the changing rooms.

This one had us stumped. Yes, it is annoying, but hardly a great societal abomination.

It seems, however, that technology is to blame. Mobile phones can now also take digital photos, thus adding them to the Physical blacklist.

There will always be a little corner of Causeway Bay that is forever Singapore.


At last, the company secretaries' guide to sex.

Well not quite, but about as good as it it is ever going to get.

We refer to recent findings of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).

Apparently in Britain, companies are at it for an average of just 30 minutes.

Annual general meetings, that is.

Caroline Phillips, director of the ICSA Policy Unit, said: 'The average time for an AGM was 48 minutes, with 30 minutes being the most frequently encountered time. The longest AGM was three hours, with the shortest being concluded in a prompt five minutes.

'ICSA will be conducting this survey annually to see if companies lengthen meetings and increase participation by shareholders.'


Are you pulling a sickie today?

Researchers working for Vicks Sinex have kindly provided some anecdotes on skiving employees who get caught out in embarrassing circumstances.

One woman rang in sick only to be spotted in the crowd on television show Big Brother.

The woman had called in that morning to inform her bosses she had 'terrible flu'.

Another worker - off sick for a week - almost choked as she enjoyed a romantic meal with her boyfriend in a London restaurant.

And just then, her boss walked in with his wife and sat at the next table.

One man took a sick day to meet with some recruitment agencies. His boss himself then came out of an interview.

Vicks polled 1,200 people, reports.

It also asked how many people just bit the bullet and went into work when they were legitimately suffering from colds or flu.

A staggering 57 per cent of men said they soldiered on.

Every single one at death's door, no doubt.