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. 


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 

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:


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


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


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 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 ‘’, 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

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.


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

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.


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 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.

Source [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 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


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.


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 approved anti-theft device on your car. You can search for suppliers on 
  • * When parking in a car park, look for a ‘Park Mark’ 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 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 (how to prevent catalytic convert theft 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 – 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.


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)


    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.

    Protecting Yourself from Street Scams

    Here are some tips to help you stay safe: General Precautions Trust your instincts: If something feels off, it probably is. Don't hesit...