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

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Dartford M25 crash leaves lorry dangling from bridge

 



There are extremely heavy delays on the M25 this afternoon after a crash has left a lorry dangling from a motorway bridge.

The lorry collided with a barrier at around 1pm, causing "significant damage" and miles of tailbacks. 

The main M25 carriageway is closed anti-clockwise within J2 near Dartford as a result of the accident, and the A2 is closed in both directions within the Darenth Interchange.

Source: https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/19216447.dartford-m25-crash-leaves-lorry-dangling-bridge/ 

Beware Hermes phishing text scam


DO NOT CLICK on the link. The above is an image for posting here to show the fake address.

This is another phishing text scam to avoid reported by a borough resident as shown in the above screenshot.

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.

Watch out for scams related to census 2021

Every household is required by law to complete the census and even though Census Day – 21 March 2021 – has been and gone, it is not too late to complete a questionnaire. If you don’t complete it, you may be fined.


Official census-branded reminder letters are being sent by post to households who have not yet completed their census. A census field officer may also knock on the door of a home to provide help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online and direct them to any support services they might need.

To help keep you safe from census-related scams, read our handy Q&A below.

I haven’t filled in my census yet – will a receive a reminder about doing so?

The ONS will send census branded reminder letters by post to households who have not yet completed their census. If someone receives a reminder letter they should complete their census as soon as possible. If they have already submitted their census form they can ignore any reminder letter.

A census field officer may also knock on the door of your home. The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it. They will not enter the household, and will carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census.

Field officers will never ask for payment or bank details.

I missed Census Day – will I be fined for a late submission?

People still have time to complete their census and should do so as soon as possible to avoid getting a fine. Any letters, phone calls, texts, or emails, attempting to take payment for a late or incorrect submission now are not genuine.

For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census. Any fines issued for those refusing to complete their census, will be done via the courts.

You will never be issued with a fine by text message, phone call or email.

I’ve received an email/text that says I need to pay a fine because I haven’t filled in my census, is this legitimate?

For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census. You will never be issued with a fine by text message, phone call, email, or on social media. You will not be fined for a mistake on your census.

The ONS have a Cyber Intelligence Team who are taking down fake sites related to the Census. If you find a site that looks suspicious or receive text messages with links to sites asking for money related to the census, do not engage with them. Report them to the Census 2021 Contact Centre by ringing 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales

Do census field officers get in touch before they visit? Do I need to book an appointment?

Households who have not completed their census will receive a reminder letter in the post. Field officers do not get in touch with you before they visit and you do not need to make an appointment for them to attend your home. However, you can book an appointment with the public contact centre to complete your Census over the telephone if you do not want to complete it online.

What happens when the field officers visit your home?

The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it.  

The only personal information a field officer requires is your name. If you need a new online code to fill out the census, you will be asked to provide your phone number.

Field officers will never ask to see personal documents like passports, pay slips or birth certificates. Field officers will never ask for payment or your bank details. They will never ask for your national insurance number.

Field officers do not need to enter your home.

How do I know a field officer is legitimate?

Census field officers carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census and will be wearing Census branded high vis. They do not need to enter your home and they cannot issue fines.

Will census field officers ask for my personal information?

The only personal information a field officer requires is your name. If you need a new online code to fill out the census, you will be asked to provide your phone number.

Field officers will never ask to see personal documents like passports, pay slips or birth certificates. Field officers will never ask for payment or your bank details. They will never ask for your national insurance number.

Field officers do not need to enter your home.

Can census field officers fine me on the doorstep?

Census field officers will never ask for a payment on the doorstep. The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it.  

You are required to complete the census by law. If you refuse, you can be interviewed under caution. This may be followed by a court summons, a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.

Sourcehttps://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/watch-out-for-scams-related-to-census-2021 [06-04-2021]

Beware New Royal Mail phishing text scam

 

One of our residents received this text message today supposedly from 'Royal Mail' seeking an unpaid shipping fee. The urgency of it to state that failure to do so will result in the parcel returned to sender.

DO NOT CLICK on the link. This is an image for posting here to show the fake address. 

The link is deceptive and has been reported as unsafe as shown in the images below.




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 more information visit the authentic Royal Mail help centre.


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

PROTECT YOUR CAR (AND MOTORCYCLE) – LEAVE IT LOCKED, LIT AND EMPTY


Due to Covid-19 and repeated lockdowns, people aren’t using their cars as much as they used to. However, car crime remains a pressing problem in the UK – alarmingly, one car is stolen every ten minutes.

Whilst we can't always prevent it there are simple steps we can all take to reduce our chances of becoming a victim of car crime. 

Leave your car locked
A simple mistake that can prove calamitous: 44% of cars were broken into via an unlocked door.
 
Leave your car well-lit
80% of car crime occurs during the evening or at night. Parking near streetlamps or in a busy area can deter thieves.
 
Leave your car empty or with no items on show
Owners often forget that personal belongings within the car are at as much risk of being stolen as the car itself.

TOP TIPS TO KEEP YOUR CAR SAFE

Following 3 simple steps (leave your car locked, well-lit, and empty) will help to keep your car safe, but there are further steps you could take:

  • * Store car ownership information at home, not in your car
  • * Secure number plates with anti-theft screws available from car accessory stores
  • * Keep your car keys out of sight in your home 
  • * Use a Sold Secure www.soldsecure.com approved anti-theft device on your car. You can search for suppliers on www.securedbydesign.com 
  • * When parking in a car park, look for a ‘Park Mark’ www.parkmark.co.uk indicating the car park meets recognised security levels 
  • * Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels
  • * Secure items outside of your vehicle. Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT

Catalytic converters are targeted because of the precious metals that they are made with, namely rhodium, platinum and palladium. Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers. Taller vehicles are more vulnerable as the catalytic converters are easier to access.

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen you could

  1. 1) Purchase anti-theft products such as Catloc - Sold Secure approved product (find out more about Catloc's Secured by Design’s Police Preferred Specification here)
  2. 2) Park to restrict access to the underneath of the car
  3. 3) Ask your dealer to weld the catalytic converter to the car
  4. 4) Fit a tilt alarm
  5. 5) Register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of
For more information on catalytic converter theft, have a look at this BBC One Inside Out Catalytic Converter Theft video


KEYLESS CAR THEFT

Keyless car theft – also known as relay theft –is relatively simple.  With a relay amplifier and a relay transmitter, a thief can detect whether the car has keyless entry. Working in pairs they identify a house with a car parked nearby and one person stands by the car with a transmitter, while a second waves an amplifier around the perimeter of the house. If the car key is close enough the amplifier will detect its signal, amplify it, and send it to the accomplice’s transmitter.

This transmitter then effectively becomes the key, and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby. The thieves can then open the car, get in and drive away.
The whole process can take as little as 60 seconds and can be completed in near silence.


TOP TIPS TO AVOID KEYLESS THEFT

To avoid keyless car theft remember DISTANCE, SIGNAL, STEERING WHEEL.

  • KEEP KEYS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE CAR: Keeping keys far away from doors and windows. This will minimise the chances a thief will be able to find and amplify the key’s signal and is general good practice.
  • BLOCK  OR TURN OFF THE SIGNAL: Consider purchasing a Faraday pouch to keep your car key in. These pouches contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing crooks from being able to detect and amplify the signal. Check your manual or speak to your dealer to find out if your key can be switched off
  • STEERING WHEELOCK: Consider using a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post, or even a wheel clamp

    For more information and further tips look at this 'Keyless could be Carless' information sheet from West Yorkshire Police. (pdf)

    PROTECT YOUR MOTORCYCLE, MOPED or SCOOTER

    To protect you motorcycle, moped or scooter remember LOCK, CHAIN, COVER.


    LOCK: use a disc lock to help secure the front brake disc, or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls. You could also use a D lock on the front wheel to stop it being wheeled away.

    CHAIN: Use a chain lock through the back wheel (the front wheel can be removed). Chain your bike to something heavy, even when in a garage. You can fit specific attachments to lock your bike to at home.

    COVER: Thieves often ‘shop’ for particular bike models. Using a cover instantly makes it less attractive to them. A cover also provides another time consuming obstacle for the thief.

    For more information on LOCK, CHAIN, COVER see the Protect your motorcycle page from Met Police.

    Further tips

    • * Set its alarm if it has one
    • * Use a designated motorcycle parking place with a stand and security loop if you can
    • * Mark your motorbike with its vehicle identification number
    • * Add a ‘kill switch’ which prevents the start button from working unless pressed
    • * Never leave loose items such as helmets or other possessions with your bike

    Reporting a crime

    If you are unlucky and have been a victim of crime you can report it in several ways:

    • If it’s an emergency and the crime is still taking place, call 999 and ask for the police.
    • If it’s not an emergency, do not call 999. This doesn’t mean the crime is not important – it just helps the police to make the best use of their resources. Many police forces use the 101 non-emergency number, so you can ring that number instead.
    • You can go to your local police station and report the crime there. You can find the address and telephone number in the local telephone directory or online. Check what time your local police station is open, as not all stations are open all the time.
    • If you have information regarding a crime and don’t want to talk to the police, contact the charity Crimestoppers online or call 0800 555 111. You will remain 100% anonymous. Always.

    Please note: Neighbourhood Watch does not take reports of crime.

    Following a crime

    • Prevent others becoming a victim: Tell your Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator: They can warn others in your area of the crime whilst keeping your confidentiality if you wish. The quicker you act, the sooner you might stop someone else becoming a victim. 
    • Support for yourself: If you have been affected by crime and need confidential emotional support or advice on what to do next, you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.

    Monday, 5 April 2021

    Handbag theft and digital tracking by police to catch the robber

    An elderly 79 year woman has her handbag snatched on her way to bingo, but the robber doesn’t get far. Police follow a digital trail of evidence and put him behind bars.

    Source: BBC iPlayer - Frontline Fightback Series 1: Episode 6

    Saturday, 3 April 2021

    Royal Mail scam text: ‘I lost £8,000 and my bank won’t refund me

    People have reported being conned by a caller pretending to be from their bank after receiving a text purporting to be from Royal Mail that asked for their bank details.


    Claire had £7,762 stolen from her after being taken in by a fraudulent text pretending to be from Royal Mail. 


    The text urges shoppers to follow a link to a website that looks very similar to the Royal Mail’s and asks them to enter personal and financial details, putting them at risk of money being stolen or their accounts being hacked.
     
    Full details of the scam has been posted here.

    What to do if you are not sure if a call is genuine

    Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, warned that “criminals are experts are impersonating organisations that we know and trust”.

    A spokesperson said: “It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone purporting to be from a well-known organisation, asking for your personal or financial details, that this could be a scam.”

    The organisation advises:
    • Hang up immediately as this could protect you and your money.
    • If you are suspicious of any communication you receive, contact the organisation in question directly through a phone number you’ve used before to check if the communication you’ve received is genuine. 
    • If you need to contact the organisation to check the call was legitimate, wait five minutes; fraudsters may stay on the line after you hang up. Alternatively, use a different line altogether to contact your bank.
    • You should also take care not to click on any links in unexpected emails or text messages as these could lead you to malicious websites after your personal and financial details.
    • If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
    • Action Fraud will refer all fraud crime cases to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The NFIB is run by the City of London Police (which operates nationally). 

     For expert advice on how to get your money back if you’ve been scammed click here.

     

    Friday, 2 April 2021

    Doorstep crime, new tactics to prevent online fraud and illegal bikers

    A 96-year-old D-Day veteran is brutally attacked on his doorstep. Police in Taunton, Somerset, quickly arrest his attacker after tracking his spending habits

    If you think criminals are getting away with it, think again! 

    This ten-part series takes a very different look at crime, showing how the police and the public are using smart technology and specialist tactics to prevent crime and bring offenders to justice. 

    Frontline Fightback, narrated by Rav Wilding, features an array of equipment, including cameras that can spot crimes almost before they happen, software that can quickly identify repeat offenders, sophisticated satellite tracking and high-tech drones fitted with heat-seeking technology. 

    While police forces across the UK embrace these changes, the series also looks at how tech companies and universities are developing still more crime-fighting technologies that, it is hoped, will transform policing in the 21st Century. 

    The series features victims of crime and shows how a combination of smart technology, specialist tactics and great police work are starting to make a real difference. 

    A 96-year-old D-Day veteran is brutally attacked on his doorstep. Incredibly, he survives, and police in Taunton, Somerset, quickly arrest his attacker after tracking his spending habits and lying in wait at a McDonalds restaurant. Online banking fraud is one of the UK’s fastest growing crimes, but the latest voice recognition software is helping banks identify fraudsters and prevent them stealing our money. And a special West Midlands Police unit is targeting illegal off-road bikers who are putting the safety of other road users at risk.


    Source: BBC iPlayer - Frontline Fightback Series 1: Episode 5

    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...