Monday, 26 October 2020

Phoney COVID marshals targeting doorsteps

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received reports of incidences involving people pretending to be COVID marshals and medical professionals to gain access to people's homes.

This particular version of the scam is an updated form of one witnessed during the pandemic in the summer involving fake healthcare professionals offering bogus COVID-19 tests to gain access to homes.

The marshals, officially called COVID-19 secure marshals, do not have the power to enforce social distancing, issue fines, or the right to enter homes.

Katherine Hart, CTSI's Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime, said: "Since March we have seen so many different instances of fraudsters using the pandemic as an opportunity to defraud the public. These scams are shifting in their theme as the rules and regulations change with individuals now pretending to be COVID-19 secure marshals.

"COVID-19 secure marshals will never come to your door unannounced and do not have the right of entry, or the right to issue fines. This type of scam appears in many forms, and I have also received information about individuals pretending to offer flu vaccinations on the door - a concerning development as we enter flu season.

"I am particularly concerned that elderly and vulnerable individuals may be at risk to this scam. I ask the public and public authorities to spread the correct safeguarding information so that we can stop these unscrupulous individuals from ruining the lives of those already struggling during this challenging time."

Source: CTSI

Friday, 23 October 2020

Celebrate Halloween safely and help stop the spread of the coronavirus



Halloween is fast approaching. Although it may be a monster disappointment to some, with Covid cases on the increase, we all need to do our best to keep everyone safe.

Families and young people are being asked to consider fun and safe alternatives to trick or treating, such as family pumpkin hunts, an evening of scary movies or storytelling, dressing up indoors for a spooky dinner, or drawing the scary pictures and putting them in your window.

Things to remember

  • anyone who does decide to trick or treat must make sure that face coverings are worn. Groups should be no larger than six - and any groups of six who may meet indoors must be in the same bubble
  • if you plan to trick or treat with someone from outside of your bubble you must follow the guidance on social distancing
  • if you answer a scary knock on your door on Halloween you must also remember the rules on social distancing
  • anyone taking part must also remember to wash hands regularly, including in between house visits and when returning home

Vulnerable people

Please show consideration for vulnerable residents, who may be particularly anxious at this time and alarmed by visitors.

We have produced a 'No Trick or Treat' poster, suitable for putting in a window or porch, for anyone who may prefer not to have visitors on 31 October.

If you have a friend or relative who may not have online access, please print one for them to display.

A supply of posters will also be available at Bexley libraries.

Source: https://www.bexley.gov.uk/news/halloween

Report a scam

If you've been scammed, there are organisations you should report the scam to.

Don't feel embarrassed about reporting a scam – scammers are clever and scams can happen to anyone.

Reporting a scam helps track down and stop scammers. This prevents other people from being scammed.

You should:

  • protect yourself from further risks
  • gather all the details of the scam
  • report the scam to us
  • report the scam to other organisations
For more details visit Consumer Advice consumer service and our Useful Links page for a comprehensive list.

 

Fifty-three arrests in operation to tackle serious organised crime

A total of 47 men and six women, between the ages of 16 and 48-years-old have been arrested on suspicion of a range of offences, including: possession of firearms and ammunition; possession of offensive weapons; possession of criminal property; possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs, and supply of class A and B drugs.
 
The arrests follow a long-running operation, named Operation Trigona, which saw officers conduct a number of early-morning raids at addresses predominately across Greenwich and Bexley, as well as some addresses in Kent and the Thames Valley, over the last six weeks.

In addition to the arrests:
- £63,000 in cash was seized;
- Approximately 320 grams of crack cocaine, 150 grams of heroin and a quantity of cannabis was recovered;
- A variety of weapons, including four firearms, as well as number of knives and knuckle dusters recovered;
- Two rounds of ammunition seized;
- Two motor vehicles with a combined value of £45,000, and £40,000 worth of Rolex watches, all believed to be the proceeds of crime, seized.

 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Fake Amazon phishing email scam


This message was sent by a local Bexley resident to alert others. It is a screenshot so the link, the phishing scam, is hidden.

Please be aware of such phishing scams or report to report@phishing.gov.uk or report it to Action Fraud.  You may also report to Amazon at stop-spoofing@amazon.co.uk.

*Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.

Visit Action Fraud to learn more about phishing email fraud.

Knowing what to look for and how to avoid scams is the best way to stay safe. The Which? guides tell you about different scams to watch out for.

HSBC smishing text fraud scam alert


This message was sent by a local Bexley resident to alert others. It is a screenshot so the link, the phishing scam, is hidden.

This is yet another suspect text message to be in your guard.

Please be aware of such phishing scams or report to report@phishing.gov.uk or report it to Action Fraud

*Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.

Visit Action Fraud to learn more about smishing text fraud and GetSafeOnline on Smishing.

Knowing what to look for and how to avoid scams is the best way to stay safe. The Which? guides tell you about different scams to watch out for.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Lloyds Bank Deceptive Site - dangerous suspect text message

One of our residents received a suspect text message as follows:-


Fortunately he forwarded it to report@phishing.gov.uk. The link* gives the following message:-

 


This is yet another suspect text message to be in your guard.

Some residents have reported receiving the same message and they do not bank with Lloyds either but deleted it.

Please be aware of such phishing scams or report to report@phishing.gov.uk or report it to Action Fraud

*Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.

Knowing what to look for and how to avoid scams is the best way to stay safe. The Which? guides tell you about different scams to watch out for.

All organisations are at risk from fraud - being a charity is no defence

Watchdog warns charities and the public to protect themselves against fraudsters amid pandemic

1. Be fraud aware: -

All organisations are at risk from fraud – being a charity is no defence.

  • Be vigilant - in order to fight fraud, you need to find fraud.
  • Be sure your trustees, staff and volunteers know how to spot and report fraud.

2. Take time to check: -

  • Ensure your charity has robust financial controls in place and knows how to enforce them.
  • Is there a counter-fraud policy that staff and volunteers are signed up to?
  • Trust is exploited by fraudsters – be willing to challenge unusual activity and behaviour, whoever is involved.

3. Keep your charity safe: -

  • Prevention really is better than cure - taking simple steps now will help protect your charity from harm.
  • Building a strong counter-fraud culture is vital and will boost your charity’s defences.
  • Help is available - seek professional advice if you need to
  • Some charities may not even know they have been defrauded.

Helen Stephenson added:Sadly, the figures we’re seeing are likely to just be the tip of the iceberg. We know that fraud is under-reported, and I worry that the pandemic may have intensified that. Charities working remotely may be slower to discover fraud in their new environments. We cannot fight fraud if we cannot find it, so I’d urge anyone involved in charities to speak out if they see anything suspicious.

“Check before you give”The regulator also fears that the public’s generosity could be abused before cash reaches charities. Action Fraud has received reports of a scam email purporting to be from HM Government asking for donations to the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Anyone wanting to support NHS charities can search for charities via the new register of charities and should always check for a registered charity number before giving.The Commission has published advice for the public on how to ensure they are giving safely to registered charities.

Helen Stephenson warned:The fundraising efforts we’ve seen over the past 6 months have shown the British tradition of charitable giving at its best. We must not allow that generous spirit to be knocked by criminals. My message to everyone is to give with your head as well as your heart: always check you are donating to a genuine registered charity before giving.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:It’s a sad reality but unfortunately criminals will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. This can have a huge financial impact on charities and the good causes they support.

Recently, criminals have been taking advantage of the increase in charitable donations being made during the coronavirus pandemic, setting up fake charities or impersonating well-known ones. We would encourage people not to be put off donating to charities, but instead to be vigilant and make sure you do your research to ensure you are giving your money to a legitimate organisation. Don’t let your donation end up in a criminal’s pocket.

Remember, if you think you’ve been the victim of a fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime 

With BBC’s Children in Need and RBL’s Poppy appeal just around the corner, yet alone, the many other campaigns that will be run during the pandemic, make sure that you stay alert and do not get conned by any scams or bogus collectors.  House to House and Street Collections:  If you are approached in the street, or at your door, all such collectors from a registered charity, MUST wear an official identity badge. 

BBNWA Membership Stats - Volunteers urgently needed

Homes Covered-49,053

Streets-901

Coordinators-1276

Live Watches-844

HoundWatch-530

Shopwatch-514

PlotWatch-59

FaithWatch-58

Do you live in Broomfield Road, Bexleyheath? - Click here.


Bexley Watch are looking to recruit - Find out more here.


Any volunteers for Shop Watch? - Find out more here.


We are looking for residents to start a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

 

For information contact 020 82845537 or email bexleynw@outlook.com.

Do you live in Broomfield Road, Bexleyheath or know someone who does?

Do you live in Broomfield Road, Bexleyheath or know someone who does?

We are looking for residents to start a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme. 

For information contact 020 82845537 or email bexleynw@outlook.com.

Changes to Library Services in Bexley – Consultation 2020

Changes to Library Services in Bexley 2020

  • Start date Mon 28 Sep 2020, 9:00am
  • End date Sat 19 Dec 2020, 12:00pm
The Consultation Proposals 2020 sets out the options under consideration in detail. The Needs Assessment considers the current community need and future demand for library services in Bexley and the Equalities Impact Assessment considers the way in which the proposals might impact equality groups.

To have your say, please complete the Changes to Library Services in Bexley Consultation Survey 2020 by 19 December 2020.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, unless you wish to make detailed comments on any of the proposals.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Beware of new automated DVLA Scam email

A Bexley resident received a new phishing and scam email seeking to update her account information and claiming to be from DVLA.

She alerted her neighbourhood watch.



Please be aware of such phishing scams or report to report@phishing.gov.uk or report it to Action Fraud. Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Bexley moves to 'high' COVID alert level

At midnight last night Bexley moved from the new 'medium' COVID alert level to 'high'. 

You can find more information about the new London-wide restrictions, including information about meeting family and friends, which businesses can remain open and dealing with childcare, on the government website

The Prime Minister announced a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England on Monday with the aim of simplifying and standardising local rules. 

The levels are 'medium', 'high', and 'very high'.

Full list of local Covid alert levels by area: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-covid-alert-levels-by-area 

Find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Bogus Cold Calling Scam

Residents are asked to be cautious if they answer the front door to a BT sales person.  

We have received reports from the Belvedere and Bexleyheath areas about houses being selected randomly to receive a cold call.  

BT Customer Services in Cardiff are not aware of any such house calls and state that they usually only write or email customers or potential customers.  However, with that statement they cannot categorically say that it was not BT or Open Reach.  

Therefore, if you receive such a visit please ask to see identification and verify with BT independently.

You can also report a scam call to BT.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Thank you video message


 

Bexley’s Ageing Well 2020 event goes online

This year’s Ageing Well event is going online.

From 17 October (The webpage will go live at 7am on Saturday 17 October (a coming soon page is currently displayed against this link) a one stop online Ageing Well event area will be available at www.bexley.gov.uk/ageing-well-virtual-event-2020

The online event brings together information on support and services on offer in Bexley for older people and their families.

It also contains lots of useful contact details for local groups and clubs as well as information to help you keep fit and healthy.

Organisations taking part in the online event include Bexley Carers’ Support, Age UK, Mind in Bexley, Bexley Mencap, University of the Third Age, Healthwatch, Crossroads Care, Bexley Civic Society, Library and Archives Team, the Alzheimer’s Society and many more.

Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cllr Brad Smith said:

“This is the fourth year for this event which goes from strength to strength. For obvious reasons we’ve had to do things differently. It’s still a great chance for Bexley residents to make connections with local providers.’

‘We have so much to offer our older residents and their families here in Bexley and having information on so many local groups in one place means it’s a simple way for people to join a club, find out how to learn a new skill as well as obtaining vital information on support available in the Borough”.

If you’re not online ask your family, friends or neighbours to help you access the Ageing Well event information. The winter Bexley magazine will also feature the event so look out for your copy in December.

Free Domestic Abuse training

A new project has currently started in Bexley which offers free domestic abuse training for professionals.

Our training focuses on "honour" based violence and forced marriage, within this, we will cover the definition of the harmful practices, why they happen, case studies; we will show some films, legislation to support our cases, best practice, support services and organisations available.

We are currently doing all training sessions online via zoom.

For further information contact Naseem on 0795804683 (naseem.farbou@ikwro.org.uk

The flyer gives further contact details and information.




Colour in a Poppy flower rainbow and put in your windows

During lockdown a lot of us put rainbows in our windows by way of saying thank you to NHS staff and key workers.  Due to the current restrictions, some remembrance parades may be cancelled, so let's show our thanks to fallen heroes by displaying a Poppy picture in our windows.  Why not print off a Poppy template from the internet and get colouring!



Monday, 12 October 2020

Beware of DVLA Scam email

A Bexley resident received a scam email claiming to be from DVLA and seeking personal details to avoid the account being terminated.

A screenshot of the email is attached highlighting the scam.


Needless to say please be aware of such phishing scams or report to report@phishing.gov.uk. Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.


Saturday, 10 October 2020

Privacy and the new NHS Test and Trace app





We have been asked how privacy has been built into the design of the new NHS Test and Trace app. 

A video is now available that aims to answer the most common questions. 

The app does not personally identify you or track your location.  

All data in the app is stored on your phone, and you can delete the app at any time.  

Click for more information about the app - and download it today.






BVSC webinars

Our next joint Council and BVSC webinar will take place on the days below via Zoom - 

  • Friday 16 October, 3-4pm via Zoom  
  • Friday 30 October, 3-4pm via Zoom 

For more information please visit the BVSC website.

Please note: The session will be recorded and shared through our agreed Community Champions communications channels: our private Facebook group, Whatsapp and this email newsletter. It will be available for viewing online for a set period of time. By registering, you are consenting to take part in this recording.

Speak a language other than English?

If you speak a language other than English and could spare time to help non-English speakers, please contact the Community Partnerships team. 
We have a selection of materials translated into a range of languages, if you need them.

World Mental Health Day

Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. The last few months of lockdown, loss and uncertainty have had a huge impact on us all and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now. 

This year, the mental health charity Mind is running a ‘do one thing’ campaign. They’re encouraging people to do one thing to support better mental health - whether it's going for a walk, trying a new skill or doing something creative, taking the first steps to get support for yourself, or reaching out to someone else.





Sunflower lanyards

The Invisible Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme is proving a hit, because some disabilities are hidden.

The lanyard acts as a discreet sign that somebody has an invisible disability and may require extra assistance while they are out and about.

It also indicates that there are some circumstances where the wearer may not be able to wear a face covering. 

Visit the Hidden Disabilities website for more information.




Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme and discretionary payments

The government’s new Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will be launched in Bexley on Monday 12 October. 

A news release to explain the help that is available and how to apply will be published on Monday. 

The scheme has been set up to help support those on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose earned income as a result. 

Those eligible for support under the scheme will receive a payment of £500. 

Bexleyheath coronavirus testing centre

Our new local coronavirus testing facility at 221 Erith Road, Bexleyheath DA7 6HZ, is now fully up-and-running. 

The site is open from 8am to 8pm. 

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test online.

It is vital that only people with symptoms should get a test.

Other people in an individual’s household should not get a test unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. However, all members of the household need to self-isolate while waiting for the test result.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but cannot get a test within five days of your symptoms first developing, you must protect yourself and others by self-isolating for 14 days. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Shop Watch scheme volunteers needed

Part of NHW is a scheme known as Shop Watch which aims to prevent retail crime impacting on mostly small neighbourhood shops. The scheme has been going for a number of years.  

Not every retail outlet has survived the problems caused by Covid 19. Some have already gone to the wall and others are still doing their utmost to survive.

The loss of these small independent shops impact on us as a community reducing the wide variety of shops we currently enjoy. The problem with small shops is that the difference between failure and survival is often a small profit margin. Every act of shoplifting and theft makes that margin smaller and smaller.

Our hope is to help reduce retail crime by refreshing shop watch – visiting shops and signing them up as members or renewing those who already belong.

A number of committee members will be helping me to make a difference and we are asking some of our coordinators to help as well please.

If anyone is interested in helping out or would like to know more about the Shop Watch scheme please email our committee member on davepot95@outlook.com.

Thanking you for your help in making the difference.

Find out more about Shop Watch and other Watches you can join in Bexley.

Bexley Watch looking to recruit

Bexley Watch are looking to recruit new coordinators in the following roads:

Nursery Avenue - Bexleyheath Ward
Christchurch Avenue - Erith Ward
Fairford Avenue - Barnehurst Ward
Dukes Orchard - St. Mary's & St. James Ward
Eastry Avenue - Northumberland Ward
Thamesbank Place - Thamesmead East Ward
Voyagers Close - Thamesmead East Ward
Drake Crescent - Thamesmead East Ward
Watersmeet Way - Thamesmead East Ward
Dolphin Close - Thamesmead East Ward
This must be in the street and ward you live in and wish to cover and volunteer for.
If you are interested or want to find out more about how the scheme works and the benefits of joining, please visit our about nw or contact us page from the menu. Fill in the membership form available there and send it to us.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Wash your hands off coronavirus scams!

Friends Against Scams aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.

Learn more about different types of scams, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk

An easy read version of this infographic is available, to download click here (PDF)
 

 

Monday, 5 October 2020

Beware Fake 'test and trace' scams

This is a warning about the latest scam relating to Covid Track & Trace.  The conversation goes like this:

"Good afternoon I'm calling from the NHS track and trace service.  According to our system you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,  This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test"
"OK. Can you tell me who that person was"
"I'm not able to tell you that. It is confidential information"
"Right, so what happens next"
"You need to be tested within 72 hours. So can I get the best mailing address so that we can send you a test kit?"
"OK and gives address"
"I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you."
"Sorry - a payment card?  I thought this was all free?"
"No - I'm afraid not.  There is a one-off fee of £50.00 for the kit and test results.  Could you read off the long card number for me please, as soon as you are ready"
"No - that is not right.  This is part of the NHS so there is no charge."
"I'm afraid there is.  Can you give me your card number please - this is very important and there are penalties for not complying"

At this point the person being called put down the phone! It is a scam PLEASE don't fall for it no matter how much pressure you are put under. Please take care and stay safe. 

 

Only use official GOV COVID-19 for guidance


Sextortian scams surge during pandemic

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