Friday, 19 February 2021

COVID-19 vaccine fact check

 


Beware of bogus text and emails about vaccines claiming to be from the NHS.




Click on images above to enlarge.


Bexley Civc Offices - no symptoms rapid testing site

 


Covid-19 no symptoms rapid testing






Neighbourhood Watch members feel a closer belonging to their neighbourhood than non-members

THE GRASSROOTS VOLUNTEER-LED CHARITY HAS SEEN A GROWTH IN POPULARITY SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC DESPITE CRIME FIGURES DECREASING

  • The charity has over 86,000 new supporters registering to receive information from them since the start of the pandemic (March 2020) despite the police recording 5.8 million crimes in England and Wales in the 12-month period to year ending June 2020, a 4% decrease form the previous year.

  • The charity has seen over 1.2 million users visiting their website in the year ending Feb 2021, an increase of 88% from the previous year

  • The charity’s website is attracting 10% more younger supporters (under 34-year-olds) since the start of the pandemic than previously

    Since the start of the pandemic (March 2020) over 86,000 people have opted to receive information from Neighbourhood Watch, and their new website attracts an average of over 100,000 monthly viewers. The vast majority of those users using the search facility to find their local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

    The charity is attracting 10% more younger supporters (under 34-year-olds) to their website since the start of the pandemic than before.


Website users between March 2020 – Feb 2021 (blue) and March 2019 – Feb 2020 (orange)

Surveys sent to all new members since March 2020 indicate that the charity is attracting a new, younger membership. Over 13,000 new members responded to their survey and of those (indicate ages).

The majority (66%) of new members joined as they were concerned about community safety. 44% said they joined to actively help make their community a better place to live whilst 33% cited a rise in crime in their area as a reason for joining. 

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Bitcoin-Related Scam Emails

We’re warning the public to be vigilant of unsolicited emails promoting cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) investment opportunities. We’ve received over 750 reports this week about Bitcoin-related phishing emails that use fake celebrity endorsements to try and lure victims into investment scams. The links in the emails lead to fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your money, as well as personal and financial information.


How you can protect yourself:
  • Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.
  • Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members, and seek independent professional advice before making significant financial decisions.
  • FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.
  • Report suspicious emails: If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, you can report it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service by forwarding the email to - report@phishing.gov.uk
To see examples of the Bitcoin-related phishing emails that have been reported to us, follow Action Fraud on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Bexley Houndwatch - new initiative


Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association are pleased to announce a new initiative – HOUNDWATCH.


This is designed to help prevent dog thefts, collate and raise awareness of antisocial behaviour, and improve the overall safety of dog walkers.

We ask that you

  • as a dog walker come & join us in fighting crime by registering with us for this new initiative.
  • report anything suspicious that you might see while you are walking your dog.
By providing your email address we will be able to send you crime news alerts from within the borough.

What we need you to do


We need you to report anything suspicious that you might see while you are walking your dog. This information can then be circulated to warn other dog owners registered as HoundWatch members.

If you see a crime happening or there is a threat to life call 999. If a crime has already taken place or you need to report something or someone suspicious ring 101.

In both instances, you also need to report what you have witnessed by sending an email to Neighbourhood Watch/HoundWatch at bexleynw@outlook.com
To register for HoundWatch contact Claire Tack at Bexley Neighbourhood Watch via email bexleynw@outlook.com or ring 020 8284 5537.

Visit our Bexley Houndwatch Facebook Group (public) for more information about this new initiative on dog theft Safety advice, reporting and alerts.

We want to thank you for the support you give to Bexley Neighbourhood Watch.  We are very proud of our community and of the people who live in it.  

Monday, 8 February 2021

Romance Scams/Fraud OR Valentines Day?


Romance Scams/Fraud Campaign 8th To 20th February 2021

Anyone can become a victim of a Romance Scam

Romance fraud happens when someone believes they have met their perfect match through an online dating site or app, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship.  They slowly gain your trust with a view to eventually asking you for money or obtaining enough personal details to steal your identity.

This type of scam is especially cruel because the scammer is manipulating and abusing the victim’s emotions. It plays on the need we all have for love and companionship and many people fall victim every year.

If the scammer is successful in persuading you to lend or give them money, they will usually come back with more and more reasons for needing more.

Spot the signs

People who have fallen victim to romance scams tend to report the same pattern. If someone you know is using online dating or friendship sites and reports any of these signs, it may indicate they are being scammed.

  • Generally the scam starts with an initial contact by the scammer. The scammer may be a member of the same online dating site as you or any online forum you have joined. The scammer may also contact you on social media such as Facebook – this is why you should never accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

  • Their profile picture is very attractive. It’s common for scammers to use stolen photographs of beautiful people. You can check whether someone’s profile picture is associated with anyone else by accessing the website in Google Chrome, right-clicking on the picture and then clicking ‘Search Google for image’.  Google will then display any other websites that the image is on.  If the person seems to have a different name on other websites, chances are they are tricking you.

  • The scammer asks you a lot of questions about yourself. This is because the more information they know about you, the easier you will be to manipulate. The scammer will spin a tale about him or herself as well. Eventually you begin speaking over the phone. This stage can last for weeks, even months.

  • The discussion is friendly at first, but turns romantic very quickly. They shower you with compliments and claim to be falling in love with you.  Victims usually report that this shift occurs very early on in the relationship – so if it all seems to be happening too fast, it might very well be a scam.

  • Their story, or parts of it, change over time. If someone is making up their life story, it can be easy to forget what they’ve said before.  If some part of their story doesn’t sound quite right, or match what they said last month, that could indicate they are lying.

  • Their grammar and spelling is poor. Many scams originate overseas. If the scammer tells you they’re from the UK, but writes as if English is not their first language, this should be a red flag.

  • They refuse to Skype or video call you, or meet in person. They always find an excuse as to why they can’t do this.

  • Eventually the scammer asks you to lend them money. They use any number of reasons: they need help to pay for the flight or other transport to meet you. They are in some sort of trouble. They need money to pay for medical care, either for themselves or someone close to them. Or they have a great business or investment opportunity that could benefit both of your futures.

Don't be a scam victim

Just because there are some mean, dishonest people out there doesn’t mean you have to stop using dating sites altogether.  You just have to be aware that scammers do exist, and follow some simple rules to protect yourself online:

  • If you’re using social media sites like Facebook, don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

  • Don’t give away too many personal details about yourself online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address could lead to your identity being stolen.

  • NEVER send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online.

  • Use reputable dating sites and keep communicating through their messaging service. Fraudsters will want you to quickly switch to text, social media or telephone so there is no evidence on the dating site of them asking you for money.

What to do if you’ve been scammed?

If you’ve fallen victim, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Scammers count on this fear because your knowledge is power. Informed consumers are much harder to deceive. If you tell your story to other people, you may prevent someone else from being victimised in the same way. You can report romance scams to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.

If the scam occurred on an online dating site or some other online forum, you should also report the individual’s username to the site moderators, who can take steps to prevent the scammer from targeting anyone else using the same website.

The Little Book of Big Scams (pdf)

Attend our special online event 10th February 2021 at 6.00pm - 7.30pm - We have a special guest speaker DI Steve Jackson from the National Fraud Investigation Bureau - tickets are FREE and people can register for the event at  Romance Fraud - The facts - Webinar.

You don't need to be associated with Neighbourhood Watch in order to attend everyone is welcome. 

Crime has no boundaries, so crime awareness shouldn't be either.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

What are Vaccines?

  • Vaccines reduce the spread of infectious diseases and even get rid of some altogether. Vaccination is the most important thing you can do to protect your community against serious illnesses 
  • When enough people get vaccinated, it’s harder for a disease to spread to those who can’t have vaccines.
  • Vaccines are designed to prevent people from getting serious infectious diseases. It is much safer for your immune system to learn how to fight illnesses through vaccination than by catching and treating them.
  • Vaccines go through several stages of lab tests and clinical trials before they can be approved for use. Regulators review the results of these trials to check whether a vaccine meets the required levels of safety and effectiveness.
  • After any vaccine is licensed for use in the UK, it is monitored by the @MHRAgovuk. This is an important part of making sure vaccines continue to meet safety standards on an ongoing basis.
You can access the Government’s Vaccine Delivery Plan here. (pdf)

Having an effective COVID-19 vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves from the virus, saving tens of thousands of lives. While people understandably have questions about vaccine development, there have been a number of viral social media posts that make false claims about potentially life saving vaccines. False information has been shared about the ingredients or processes used to make vaccines, including absurd claims that vaccines contain 5G microchips. These claims have all been independently debunked. If you see information about vaccines, always check the NHS website for the facts.

Vaccines reduce the spread of infectious diseases and even get rid of some altogether.


Since they were introduced, serious conditions like polio and tetanus have become very rare in the UK.



Vaccination is the most important thing you can do to protect your community against serious illnesses Syringe.


When enough people get vaccinated, it’s harder for a disease to spread to those who can’t have vaccines.


Vaccines are the best way to protect children from serious infectious diseases like measles, mumps and rubella


All vaccines are tested and monitored to make sure they are safe for your child Child.



Vaccines are designed to prevent people from getting serious infectious diseases.


It is much safer for your immune system to learn how to fight illnesses through vaccination than by catching and treating them.




Vaccines go through several stages of lab tests and clinical trials before they can be approved for use.


Regulators review the results of these trials to check whether a vaccine meets the required levels of safety and effectiveness.



After any vaccine is licensed for use in the UK, it is monitored by the @MHRAgovuk.


This is an important part of making sure vaccines continue to meet safety standards on an ongoing basis.



Vaccines are a crucial part of our defence against serious infectious diseases.


Dr Amir Khan answering ‘Do vaccines contain pork products?


Professor Jonathan Van-Tam: How are Covid Vaccines being developed?

Languages: Translated COVID-19 Guidance.

British Sign Language:

Tackling Misinformation:





Below is some sample mis and disinformation newsletter copy:
  • ‘Before you like, comment or share content online, use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.’
  • ‘False information, when shared, can take on a life of its own and have serious consequences. Recently there has been a lot of false information about coronavirus and the new vaccines designed to tackle it. It’s not always easy to spot. 
  • The SHARE checklist is an easy tool to pass on to people in your community to help them know what to look out for before they like, comment or share information they come across online.’



Tackling Misinformation: Next steps


DCMS is working with the National Resilience Hub at the Cabinet Office and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and their Community Champions scheme to develop a social media toolkit targeted at groups particularly vulnerable to mis and disinformation about the vaccine (BAME, Jewish Orthodox, Gypsy and Traveller communities). 

These assets will be pushed out by trusted community leaders and health professionals representing these groups on channels commonly used to spread false information including WhatsApp, private Facebook groups and forums as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

This will be ready to share in the coming weeks.

Key messages on COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.













Why vaccination is safe and important

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. This page explains how vaccines work, what they contain and the most common side effects.

NHS has more detailed information about why they are important, how they work, why they are safe, any side effects, what is in them and other ingredients. A GP video on how they are safe for children is also included. Do's and Don't's.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Spot the signs of a romance scam



OURWATCH.ORG.UK NEWS FEBRUARY 2021 EDITION (pdf)

Romance fraud happens when someone believes they have met their perfect match through an online dating site or app, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship. They slowly gain your trust with a view to eventually asking you for money or obtaining enough personal details to steal your identity. This type of scam is especially insidious because the scammer is manipulating and abusing the victim’s emotions. It plays on the need we all have for love and companionship and many people fall victim every year.

“My son was taken in on a dating site. Luckily no money changed hands even though he was asked. This experience made my son suicidal and made it difficult for him for a few months. He is bipolar and autistic so my husband and I had to take the consequences of his reaction to this crime.” Neighbourhood Watch member

Spot the signs

People who have fallen victim to romance scams tend to report the same pattern. If someone you know is using online dating or friendship sites and reports any of these signs, it may indicate they are being scammed:

  • Generally the scam starts with an initial contact by the scammer. The scammer may be a member of the same online dating site as you or any online forum you have joined. The scammer may also contact you on social media such as Facebook – this is why you should never accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Their profile picture is very attractive. It’s common for scammers to use stolen photographs of beautiful people. You can check whether someone’s profile picture is associated with anyone else by accessing the website in Google Chrome, right-clicking on the picture and then clicking ‘Search Google for image’. Google will then display any other websites that the image is on. If the person has a different name on other websites, chances are they are tricking you.
  • The scammer asks you a lot of questions about yourself. This is because the more information they know about you, the easier you will be to manipulate. The scammer will spin a tale about him or herself as well. Eventually you begin speaking over the phone. This stage can last for weeks, even months.
  • The discussion is friendly at first, but turns romantic very quickly. They shower you with compliments and claim to be falling in love with you. Victims usually report that this shift occurs very early on in the relationship – so if it all seems to be happening too fast, it might very well be a scam.
  • Their story, or parts of it, change over time. If someone is making up their life story, it can be easy to forget what they’ve said before. If some part of their story doesn’t sound quite right, or match what they said last month, that could indicate they are lying.
  • Their grammar and spelling is poor. Many scams originate overseas. If the scammer tells you they’re from the UK, but writes as if English is not their first language, this should be a red flag.
  • They refuse to Skype or video call you, or meet in person. They always find an excuse as to why they can’t do this.
  • Eventually the scammer asks you to lend them money. They use any number of reasons: to pay for the flight or other transport to meet you; they are in some sort of trouble; to pay for medical care, either for themselves or someone close to them; or they have a great business or investment opportunity that could benefit you both.

Don’t be a scam victim

Just because there are some dishonest people out there doesn’t mean you have to stop using dating sites altogether. You just have to be aware that scammers do exist, and follow some simple rules to protect yourself online:

  • If you’re using social media sites like Facebook, don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.Don’t give away too many personal details about yourself online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address could lead to your identity being stolen.
  • NEVER send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online.
  • Use reputable dating sites and keep communicating through their messaging service. Fraudsters will want you to quickly switch to text, social media or telephone so there is no evidence on the dating site of them asking you for money.

What to do if you’ve been scammed?

If you’ve fallen victim, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Scammers count on this fear because your knowledge is power. Informed consumers are much harder to deceive. If you tell your story to other people, you may prevent someone else from being victimised in the same way. 

You can report romance scams to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk, or call 0300 123 2040.

If the scam occurred on an online dating site or some other online forum, you should also report the individual’s username to the site moderators, who can take steps to prevent the scammer from targeting anyone else using the same website.

Many people are victims of romance fraud, with some losing their entire savings. It is a very real threat, not only monetary but emotionally. It is also one of the most under reported crimes. Attend this webinar to find out more: http://ow.ly/MlAi50Dqaai


Monday, 1 February 2021

Scam alert: fake NHS COVID-19 vaccine text


A dangerous fake NHS text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what it looks like.

A member got in touch with us today when they received a text message purporting to be from the NHS.

It confusingly stated that “we have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and advised him to follow a link to get more information and ‘apply’:

This URL takes you through to an extremely convincing fake NHS website that asks for your personal details, but the member became suspicious when it asked for his bank/card details in order to ‘check his identity’.


Another Bexley resident sent a video (click below👇) of the same type of scam and alerted us.


It was then that he began spotting spelling mistakes on the site, additional information such as mother's maiden name, and in the SMS itself, which we’ve warned many times before are classic signs of a phishing scam.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.

The NHS will never ask for:
  • your bank account or card details
  • your pin or banking password
  • copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identify theft, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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...