Sunday, 9 May 2021

Beware HSBC and Census Scam texts

 





Don't:

  • click on any links
  • download any attachments
  • reply

 

Do:

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.

You can also report the scam to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre.

For further information, visit https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/security-centre/received-a-text/

Vehicle theft Sunday 9 May 2021 early morning - appeal for information

A blue Jaguar car was stolen at 4.30am Sunday 9 May 2021 and reported on Facebook. It was stolen in Dartford Road, Bexley, and the car drove towards the village from Joydens Wood after the theft.

The VRM is WO05 HSE , it is taxed till 1 July 2021 and the MOT expires 20 July 2021.

If you have any information, seen or have CCTV footage, please contact the local police on 101.

Thursday, 6 May 2021

5 Things to Say to Doorstep Scammers

Doorstep scammers are masters at separating you from your hard earned cash. Make sure you have these five quick phrases to hand next time someone suspicious comes a-knocking.

5 Things to Say to Doorstep Scammers [Which? Facebook video]

Source: Which?

5 Red flags a loved one is being scammed

In the time it takes you to watch this video £5049 will be lost to scams. If you're worried about a loved one being scammed then here are five red flags to watch out for:

🚩 They're sending unexplained payments
🚩 They're short of money when they shouldn't be
🚩 They have lots of post lying around
🚩 They've had an increase of phone calls from strangers
🚩 They seem anxious or upset



Source: Which?

Holidaymakers and festivalgoers urged to be vigilant from scams as lockdown restrictions ease

Fraudsters are poised to target the British public with ticketing, travel and health insurance scams as consumers look to book in much-needed social activities as lockdown restrictions ease, warns UK Finance. The scam alert comes as the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign publishes guidance below on how consumers can protect themselves in the lead-up to further easing of lockdown restrictions from 17 May.

With many people booking holidays and tickets to concerts and summer festivals, criminals are staying one step ahead by advertising holidays and tickets at low prices or for sold out events, illegally profiting from consumers who are looking for good deals or wanting to attend fully booked events. In some instances, scammers are charging people for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which is available free of charge, or advertising fake ‘vaccine certificates’ online.

Experts at impersonating trusted organisations such as travel agencies and hospitality firms, these fraudsters are using a range of sophisticated methods to approach their victims, including scam emails, telephone calls, fake websites and posts on social media. To stay safe when booking holidays and tickets, people are reminded to always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with their money or information in case it’s a scam.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, commented:

“Criminals have been capitalising on the pandemic to commit fraud, and the easing of lockdown restrictions provides another opportunity for them to target victims. 

“As you start booking holidays and planning social activities, don’t let criminals take you for a ride. Follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and always visit websites you’re buying from by typing it in to the web browser – avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or text messages. Be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer when buying or booking services online, and instead use a credit card or the secure payment options recommended by reputable websites.”

Take Five to Stop Fraud advice

Holiday scams

Travel deal scams

Criminals will set up fake websites offering ‘travel deals’ which are used to obtain your money and information. Websites may look similar to the genuine organisation’s but subtle changes in the URL can indicate that it’s fraudulent. These websites may also seem professional and convincing, using images of luxury villas and apartments that don’t exist to convince victims they’re trusted and genuine. These are offered for rent, often at discounted prices and require a deposit to be made which is never returned.

Always remember:

  • Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices – if it’s at a rock bottom price ask yourself why.
  • Where possible, book directly with an established hotel or through a reputable travel company/agent that is a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. If you do decide to book independently, establish if you’re dealing with the property owner or a letting agent or via the local tourist information desk, and verify that the address exists through web searches and online maps.
  • Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it in to the web browser and avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or social media posts. The website should use the padlock symbol to indicate that the site is secure.
  • Always use the secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers and don’t accept requests to pay separately via a bank transfer.
  • Where possible, use a credit card when booking holidays over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act.

Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) scams

When travelling in the EU, people can access emergency and medical care with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This card has replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) however criminals are capitalising on this new card to commit fraud, asking victims for payment details when the GHIC is free. They are advertising these cards on fake websites that look like that of the NHS. The sites claim to either fast-track or manage your application process before charging you an up-front fee.

Always remember:

  • The GHIC, which replaces the European Health Insurance Card, is FREE to use and can only be obtained directly via the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/
  • You also don’t need to apply for a GHIC until your current EHIC expires.
  • You can report scam ads appearing in paid-for space online by visiting the Advertising Standard Authority’s website where you can complete their quick reporting form.
  • Always question uninvited approaches and contact organisations directly to confirm requests using a known email or phone number.
  • Only give out your personal or financial information to services you have consented to and organisations you are expecting to be contacted by.

Vaccine certificate scams  

The UK government is currently looking into the use of vaccine certificates or a passport for people to use once restrictions lift, which shows whether people have been vaccinated, have recently tested negative or have natural immunity after being ill with Covid. As we await the government’s announcement, criminals will be using the opportunity to target people with fake Covid certificates and passports. They may defraud people via phishing emails, ‘spoofed’ calls, social media posts, fake apps or adverts claiming to be offering Covid certificates or passports. Often posts include a link leading to a fraudulent website used to steal personal and financial information in order for the criminal to commit fraud.

Always remember:

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in social media posts or emails.
  • Question uninvited approaches and contact organisations directly to confirm requests using a known email or phone number.
  • Only give out your personal or financial information to services you have consented to and organisations you are expecting to be contacted by.

Ticketing scams  

As events, concerts, festivals and theatre shows reopen from 17 May, criminals will be on the look out to take advantage of people booking these events. Criminals either set up fake websites or social media profiles to sell tickets that are either fraudulent or don’t exist. Websites may even look similar to the genuine organisation’s one but subtle changes in the URL can indicate that it’s fraudulent. Make sure you book tickets directly through official sellers who are members of the self-regulatory body STAR, as anything else could be a scam.

Always remember:

  • Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites.
  • Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into your web browser and be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails or social media posts.
  • Criminals are experts at impersonating people and trusted organisations so always make sure to research who you are buying tickets from and be wary of celebrity-endorsements in case it’s a scam.
  • Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices and always be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer when buying tickets online or on social media.

For more information please call the UK Finance press office on 020 7416 6750 or email press@ukfinance.org.uk

Source: Take Five - Stop Fraud [19th April 2021]

Action Fraud [30th April 2021]


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

FluBot: Guidance for ‘package delivery’ text message scam

The NCSC is aware that a malicious piece of spyware – known as FluBot – is affecting Android phones and devices across the UK.

The spyware is installed when a victim receives a text message, asking them to install a tracking app due to a ‘missed package delivery’. The tracking app is in fact spyware that steals passwords and other sensitive data. It will also access contact details and send out additional text messages – further spreading the spyware.

The text message requests that victims click a link. Doing so directs them to a scam website, such as the one shown below (although the branding may vary).

  • Users of Android devices (such as those manufactured by Google, Huawei and Samsung) will be encouraged to download an app.
  • Users of Apple devices are not currently at risk, although the scam text messages may still redirect them to a scam website which may to steal your personal information.

If you receive a scam text message:

  1. Do not click the link in the message, and do not install any apps if prompted.
  2. Forward the message to 7726, a free spam-reporting service provided by phone operators.
  3. Delete the message.

If you were expecting a DHL delivery, you should visit the official DHL website (track.dhlparcel.co.uk) to track your delivery. Do not use the link in the scam text message.

If you have already clicked the link to download the application:

You must take the following steps to clean your device, as your passwords and online accounts are now at risk from hackers.

  • Do not enter your password, or log into any accounts until you have followed the below steps.
  • To clean your device, you should:

- Perform a factory reset as soon as possible. The process for doing this will vary based on the device manufacturer and guidance can be found here. Note that if you don’t have backups enabled, you will lose data.

- When you set up the device after the reset, it may ask you if you want to restore from a backup. You should avoid restoring from any backups created after you downloaded the app, as they will also be infected.

  • To protect your accounts:

- If you have logged in to any accounts or apps using a password since downloading the app, that account password needs to be changed.

- If you have used these same passwords for any other accounts, then these also need to be changed.

To protect yourself from future scams like this, you should:

  1. Back up your device to ensure you don’t lose important information like photos and documents. The CyberAware campaign explains how to do this.
  2. Only install new apps onto your device from the app store that your manufacturer recommends. For example, most Android devices use Google’s Play Store. Some manufacturers, such as Huawei, provide their own app store.
  3. For Android devices, make sure that Google’s Play Protect service is enabled if your device supports it. Some Huawei devices provide a similar tool to scan devices for viruses. This will ensure that any malware on your device can be detected and removed.

Footnote - While messages so far have claimed to be from DHL, the scam could change to abuse other company brands.  



Source: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/flubot-guidance-for-text-message-scam

Visit How to spot a text message - Which? for further information.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Stay alert and aware of your pension options


Action Fraud is warning savers to remain vigilant and protect their pensions, as figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime reveal £1.8 million has already been lost to pension fraud this year.

Source and further details: Action Fraud 20-04-2021 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Organised criminals can remove catalytic converters from under a vehicle in a matter of minutes

Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium which ‘clean’ exhaust gases. The sharp rise in the value of these metals over recent years has driven up the rate of catalytic converter theft. Palladium is currently more valuable than gold, meaning that a catalytic converter can sell for more than £500 on the black market.

If you have information on those behind catalytic converter theft, contact Crimestoppers  100% anonymously.

Catalytic converter theft is a crime and leaves drivers with an average replacement bill of £1,300. In some cases, the vehicle may even be written off by the damage caused by thieves sawing converters from the exhaust. This crime can also cause immense stress and anxiety to victims, with some drivers being repeatedly targeted. 

If you are approached to buy catalytic converters which you suspect may be stolen, you can contact us 100% anonymously to tell us what you know. 

CONTACT CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111

We don’t need to know your name, just as much information as you can give us, such as the whereabouts of the criminals and who they are selling the metal to. Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013, dealers must verify the name and address of the supplier and record a receipt of the exchange and must not pay cash for scrap metal.

Those selling stolen catalytic converters may :-

  • Want to be paid in cash and make no record of the transaction.
  • Refuse to provide proof of identity.
  • Refuse to disclose where the devices came from.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of your vehicle being targeted:

  • Avoid parking half on the pavement, half on the road, as this may provide thieves with easier access to the underside of your vehicle.
  • Park your vehicle in a locked garage whenever possible.
  • Try to park in busy, well-lit areas, or areas covered by CCTV.
  • Install an under-car alarm system.
  • Ask your garage to tell you your catalytic converter's serial number and make a note of it.
  • Consider purchasing forensic liquid and using it to mark your catalytic converter.
  • Place a protective covering over your catalytic converter.
  • If you have a fleet of vehicles, try to restrict access to high ground clearance vehicles by blocking them with lower vehicles.
  • Driving without a catalytic converter is illegal, as your vehicle will produce emissions above the permitted standard, which means police can issue drivers with a fine of up to £1,000 if a catalytic converter is missing. 
  • You should be able to tell if your car’s catalytic converter has been stolen when starting up, as the exhaust will likely sound much louder.
  • On discovery of the theft, do not drive your car. Instead contact your local police station and your insurance provider to arrange a repair.

Officers around London have seized thousands of pounds worth of stolen vehicles, around fifty thousand pounds in cash and a quantity of drugs. Officers seized nine vehicles from the site in east London for using falsified license plates.

Officers also attended a metal processing plant in Hackney and discovered tens of catalytic converters believed to have been stolen from vehicles, as well as a smouldering machine. Police also found what they believe to be quantities of stolen metal, likely to have originated from railways and telecommunications masts.

On the Essex coast, police officers intercepted a shipping container believed to contain stolen metal and car parts, which was due to be shipped to the Ivory Coast to be processed and refined.

Det Chief Insp James Stanyer, lead officer for motor vehicle crime, said: “The criminals involved in stealing catalytic converters often commit their offences in full view of the owners of the vehicle and other members of the public, leaving them shocked and terrorised.

“Today’s operation is the culmination of a year-long investigation led by police officers from the Met’s Neighbourhood Policing teams, working with the British Transport Police, Kent and Essex Police, and the Government Agency Intelligence Network. "The intelligence gathered during this investigation will ultimately lead to more proactive work to prevent this crime and bring those involved in it to face the consequences of their actions.” He added: “The team has worked relentlessly to understand exactly how those we suspect to be involved in this crime operate and apply that knowledge to the Met’s longer-term strategies to combat criminals who commit catalytic converter theft. “Though we know that multiple models and brands of vehicles are targeted, we are delighted to learn that Toyota has now undertaken a national catalytic converter marking programme.

“This marking scheme, which the Met has worked closely with Toyota to bring to fruition, will workat the root of the problem to minimize the opportunity for crime. Marking catalytic converters can dramatically improve the likelihood of our ability to unite stolen parts with their rightful owners.

“Police will now conduct the evidence gathering process at the sites in order to build a profile demonstrating the scale of the criminal damage these people have caused and submit our findings to the Crown Prosecution Service.” A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) (London) spokesman said: “Government agencies and law enforcement partners are committed to reducing the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime in London. “This operation has involved months of collaborative hard work by GAIN and the London Regional Intelligence Partnership (LRIP), who are dedicated to disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises. "Today’s executive action is an excellent example of multiple agencies working together to have a long-term impact on the theft and international shipping of catalytic converters.”

Information shared with thanks via Colin Freeman's Blog for Essex County Council NWA

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Hard Calls Save Lives




It can be daunting to pass on information about knife crime. You might be unsure what information is useful or what happens to it. 

Crimestoppers are not the police. They are an independent charity who provide a safe place for people to speak up about a crime. 

Anything you report about knife crime to Crimestoppers is 100% anonymous. Crimestoppers has an anonymity guarantee, which has never been broken. 

When you make a call, a specially trained call agent will support you, without judgement. They won’t ask how you’ve obtained the information. 

It may feel like a hard call, but your call could stop someone else’s son or daughter being killed. 

Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report online. Visit the Crimestoppers for ‘Hard Calls Save Lives’ campaign information.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Twice weekly rapid testing available to everyone in England

 


Twice-weekly free Covid lateral flow tests are now available to everyone in England without Covid symptoms, as recommended by the government and public health experts.    

There are a range of options for getting a free lateral flow test in Bexley – 

  • In person at the rapid test centre at the Civic Offices, Bexleyheath 
  • By collecting rapid test kits from the new Community Collect centre at the Central Library in Townley Road, Bexleyheath from 11am to 7pm Monday to Friday. You do not need an appointment.  
  • At your school or college if you are a pupil or member of staff  
  • At your workplace  

If you are unable to go to a test site or collect a test kit, you can order a test kit online and have it delivered to your home.  

About the home test kits - 

  • Each test kit includes two packs of rapid lateral flow self-test kits.  
  • Each of these two packs contains seven tests, for every member of your family or household.  
  • They include a set of instructions which are simple to follow.  

Bexley’s no symptoms rapid testing site at the Civic Offices, Bexleyheath is open to anyone who does not have virus symptoms.  

New advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine

Based on the current evidence on the extremely rare occurrence of blood clots, the benefits of the Astra Zeneca vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for the large majority of people. 

As a precaution, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisations have suggested that those age 18-29 be offered an alternative vaccine, when eligible. 

People who are age 18-29 and have already received their first dose of AstraZeneca should still attend for their second dose appointment. 

People age 30 and over remain unaffected by the change in policy for under 30s.

People of any age with a higher risk of blood clots should discuss the benefits and risks with their GP to identify the right vaccine for them. 

Everyone should continue to get their vaccination when asked to do so unless specifically advised otherwise. The benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks. 

[Source: Bexley Together]

Vaccination take-up increasing

The following graph shows the number of residents who have been vaccinated by age group in Bexley as at 6 April 2021.


Bexley continues to be one of the highest performing borough in the region, with the highest percentage take-up in people aged 70+.

We have made progress with our vaccine confidence work, and seen significant improvement in take-up among ethnic minority groups.

More than 93% of our housebound have now been vaccinated, and we are continuing with our second dose vaccinations for cohorts 1-4, including care home residents and staff.


Booking a vaccination in April

if you, or someone you know is in one of the priority groups below and have been contacted, please make an appointment soon.

  • Eligible south east London residents in cohorts 1-9 can book their vaccines online or by calling 119.

  • Unpaid carers can get the vaccine through their GP.

  • Social care workers can book their vaccines through their employer or GP.

Visit the online booking service for further details




[Source: Bexley Together]

Further easing of lockdown restrictions


The latest planned easing of lockdown restrictions takes effect today 12 April 2021.

It includes the reopening of outdoor hospitality, gyms, non-essential retail, hairdressers and salons and outdoor attractions. The number of care home visitors will also increase to two per resident, all children are able to attend any indoor children’s activity, parent and child groups of up to 15 people can restart indoors and weddings can take place with up to 15 attendees. 

Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households, and people must not socialise indoors with anyone they do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.

People should continue to work from home and minimise domestic travel where they 
can.

Read the full guidance on what you can now do

[Source: Bexley Together]

Friday, 9 April 2021

WARNING: National Insurance scam leads to surge in calls to Action Fraud

 


UPDATE (22/03/2021): Action Fraud continues to warn the public about a National Insurance scam, after it received over 34,000 more calls last month when compared to February 2020.

Victims have reported receiving an automated telephone call telling them their “National Insurance number has been compromised” and in order to fix this and get a new number, the victim needs to “press 1 on their handset to be connected to the caller”.

Once connected to the “caller”, victims are pressured into giving over their personal details in order to receive a new National Insurance number. In reality, they’ve been connected to a criminal who can now use their personal details to commit fraud.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised.

“It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam.

“Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud. If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone. No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.”

How to protect yourself

If you receive an unexpected phone call, text message or email that asks for your personal or financial details, remember to:

STOP

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE

Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT

If you have provided personal details to someone over the phone and you now believe this to be a scam, contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

You can also contact CIFAS to apply for protective registration. This means extra checks will be carried out when a financial service, such as a loan, is applied for using your address and personal details, to verify its you and not a fraudster.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Scam alert: Dyson V10 ‘loyalty program’ email

An email purporting to be from Dyson is promising ‘prizes’ as part of a fake loyalty program. Dyson has confirmed it has nothing to do with the communication.

A member of the public became suspicious when they received an email supposedly from ‘Dyson V10’ congratulating on them on their selection to ‘participate in our loyalty program!’, despite not owning any Dyson products.

Despite the email showing as having been sent from ‘contact@dyson.com’, the recipient reported it to Which?’s scam alert service. Here’s what it looks like:


We felt it was highly likely that Dyson’s official email address was being spoofed for unscrupulous purposes, with the text of the email attempting to rush the recipient into making a quick decision with phrases such as ‘But hurry! This giveaway end soon!’.

Guide: how to spot a scam

Dyson confirms it’s a fraudulent email

We showed the email to Dyson directly to confirm the suspicions and allow it to take action against the unauthorised used of its domain. Dyson confirmed that it is a fraudulent email that it had not sent. A spokesperson said:

“At Dyson privacy is engineered into everything that we do and we take security and our owners’ data extremely seriously. We are investigating this fraudulent email and are implementing various measures to mitigate this happening in the future”

Dyson does not currently operate a loyalty program in the UK – it would not send emails regarding one and would never send an email that contains links to claim prizes or receive a voucher.

It pointed out that its systems had not been breached or compromised in any way, and that anyone receiving a phishing email like this should report it to Action Fraud and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on report@phishing.gov.uk

Stay ahead of phishing emails

If you think you may have passed sensitive information, such as bank details, to scammers, let your bank know what’s happened as soon as possible.

You can read our guide to getting your money back after a scam here.

Source: Scam alert: Dyson V10 ‘loyalty program’ email


Report spam texts and nuisance sales calls

You can report nuisance calls and spam texts to the ICO here.

Report spam texts or report cold calls – that either played a recorded voice or were from a real person – to us and help us stop nuisance marketing messages.

We will use the information you provide to help us investigate and take action against those responsible. We don't respond to concerns individually.

You don't have to answer all the questions we're about to ask you, but please give us as much information as you can. The more evidence we can gather, the more power we have to take action against those making nuisance calls or sending Spam text messages.

Source: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/

Dealing with suspicious emails or text messages - Phishing attacks

What is phishing?

Phishing is when criminals attempt to trick people into doing 'the wrong thing', such as clicking a link to a dodgy website.

  • Phishing can be conducted via a text message, social media, or by phone, but the term 'phishing' is mainly used to describe attacks that arrive by email.
  • Criminals send phishing emails to millions of people, asking for sensitive information (like bank details), or containing links to bad websites. Some phishing emails may contain viruses disguised as harmless attachments, which are activated when opened. 
Phishing emails try to convince users to click on links to dodgy websites or attachments, or to give sensitive information away (such as bank details). This advice* includes tips about how to spot the most obvious signs of phishing, and what to do if you think you've clicked a bad link. For more information, please visit www.ncsc.gov.uk/phishing

Further easing of lockdown restrictions

The latest planned easing of lockdown restrictions takes effect today  12 April 2021. It  includes the reopening of outdoor hospitality, gym...