Action Fraud is warning the public to remain vigilant against holiday fraud, as travel restrictions begin to ease.
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Tuesday 25 May 2021
Monday 24 May 2021
Police have made eight arrests following a series of early morning operations targeting individuals suspected of sending out “smishing” texts. These scam messages aim to steal people’s personal and financial details by directing recipients to fake versions of trusted organisations’ websites, such as Royal Mail.
Saturday 22 May 2021
It was good to see some good news in The News Shopper this week, it was confirmed that a pair of vandals that had been smashing and damaging cars over a one month period in the Bexleyheath area had been arrested and charged.
The vandalism had been taking place for some time (December 1st 2020 to January 6th 2021) over a wide area. Those residents affected had got together and formed a social media group collecting information, photos of suspicious vehicles, number plates and descriptions of suspicious people in the area.
When they felt they had some good evidence they passed it onto “Crimestoppers” who then put together the information passed it onto Bexley Police and the two culprits where arrested and charged with 14 and 7 counts of criminal damage.
This action by these residents is what Bexley Neighbourhood Watch is all about, we know that many of our members supply valuable information to the police that often leads to arrests, but cooperating in this way together as a community tells criminals that their behaviour is not acceptable and that they are not welcome.
We suggest that anyone who is going through a similar experience works in a similar way putting together information which can be collected in a safe way within the law and passed onto your local police team or Crimestoppers, please keep us informed as it’s always good to get some good and positive news such as this.
Friday 21 May 2021
In October 2017 a petition was raised to save Bexleyheath Police from closure and when 75% of the petition signatures were collected and handed by BBNWA over via SNB to City Hall and shortly afterwards the closure of Bexleyheath Police Station was cancelled as shown below:-
This issue was published in the Bexley Magazine - Autumn 2017, p6 as well as in the Autumn 2017 newsletter. [pdf], as per below (click image to view enlarged):-
This issue has been raised again as reported by the current Chairman in the weekly report as follows:-
Bexley Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter 20th May 2021
Thursday 20 May 2021
This is the standard reply you get from Cyber CRime:-
Thank you for forwarding a suspicious message to us. Timely alerts from people like you help us to act quickly and protect many more people from being affected.
We are unable to inform you of the outcome of our review, but we can confirm that we do act upon every message received.
We will analyse the content of the email you have sent to us and any websites it links to. If we discover activity that we believe to be malicious, we may:
- seek to block the address the email came from, so it can no longer send emails
- work with website hosting companies to remove links to malicious websites
- raise awareness of commonly reported suspicious emails and methods used with the help of our partners
You should not report a suspected crime to us. If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, you should report it:
- to Action Fraud if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland: www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040
- to Police Scotland if you live in Scotland: call 101
There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from attacks like this and the NCSC has published plenty of advice that will help you to stay secure online; for example:
- The NCSC’s top tip for staying secure online
- Phishing attacks: how to deal with suspicious messages and emails
- Securing your devices
For a full overview of the NCSC’s advice for the general public please see our dedicated individuals and families webpage.
How we handle the information you send to us
- Transmitting information over the internet is generally not completely secure, and we cannot guarantee the security of an individual’s data, which is sent at your own risk. We do however have procedures and security features in place to keep data secure once we receive it.
- We may share details with various government departments, our Law Enforcement partners (such as the National Crime Agency and the City of London Police) and other organisations where doing so is necessary and proportionate for the proper discharge of our statutory functions. We won’t share an individual’s information with any other organisations for marketing, market research or commercial purposes.
- The information we hold is exempt from Freedom of Information requests.
- For further detail on how we handle information you send us, please see our Privacy Statement.
- Further information about reporting suspicious emails to the NCSC can be found at www.ncsc.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails.
Thank you for your continued support.
National Cyber Security Centre
Unfortunately scam calls and texts are a huge national problem at the moment it is advised that suspicious text messages should be forwarded to . This free-of-charge short code enables your provider to investigate the origin of the text and take action, if found to be malicious.
BT have an online reporting tool for phone calls https://www.bt.com/consumer/edw/scams/ and anyone with a BT contract can have BT call protect https://www.bt.com/landline/calling-features/. It may be worth talking to other providers to see what they have available.
To report spam and nuisance sales calls https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls/
Wednesday 19 May 2021
In this case, criminals seem to be targeting mobile phone users with text messages about an unpaid shopping fee on a parcel purporting to be from Royal Mail.
Royal Mail have shared the following statement about these text message scams:
“This isn’t one of our messages. We’ll only send SMS notifications where the sender has requested this and uses a product that offers this service. If a fee is due on an item we’d leave a grey card to confirm this, we wouldn’t send a text.”
There have also been some reports of people visiting in person claiming to be conducting vaccine surveys and then asking you to sign a form (which is actually a mail redirection form). This is so that they can use your address and personal information in an identity theft to purchase expensive goods and receive them at a different address.
These specific scams can be reported directly to Royal Mail using their online form at royalmail.com/reportingscams as well as forwarding the text message to 7726.
UK Finance’s latest Fraud the Facts report has revealed that criminals turned to online and technology-enabled scams to exploit people’s fears about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Impersonation scam cases, in which criminals impersonate trusted organisations to trick victims into handing over their money, almost doubled to 39,364 cases in 2020, the largest increase of all scam types. During the pandemic, criminals sent fraudulent emails claiming to offer government support to those impacted by the pandemic and scam text messages requesting payments to book a Covid-19 vaccine. They also impersonated delivery companies to exploit the rise in online shopping.
There was a 32 per cent increase in investment scam cases last year, which are often promoted through adverts on search engines offering higher than average returns, and a 38 per cent increase in cases of romance scams, driven by the rise in online dating during the pandemic.
Authorised Push Payment fraud
Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud cases, where customers are tricked into authorising a payment to another account controlled by a criminal, increased by 22 per cent to almost 150,000 in 2020. Losses amounted to a total of £479 million, up five per cent on the previous year.
- Investment scams, in which a criminal convinces their victim to move their money to a fictitious fund or to pay for a fake investment, saw the highest increase in losses of any APP scam type, totalling £135.1 million.
- Purchase scams, in which the victim pays in advance for goods or services that are never received, remained the most common form of APP fraud, accounting for 52 per cent of APP fraud cases
There have been increased reports of criminals spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive consumers over the phone. The criminals state that because of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, they are liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings. People are told that they can avoid this by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing gift cards.
If the potential victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the their address or, in some cases, deportation.
Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork, or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.
Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using a gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re the target of a scam.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into deciding. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
Report phishing scam attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud.
It is possible to protect yourself and the people you care about from these kinds of scams. Deterrents like CCTV cameras and ‘no doorstep sellers’ stickers in the window really are effective, according to Trading Standards.
- Regularly check in on elderly or vulnerable relatives. Ask if they’ve had anyone knocking at their door recently. Leave notes on the back of the door to remind them to not hand cash or personal details over to any strangers that call by might also be helpful.
- Adopt a blanket rule not to buy any products or services offered at the front door. A simple and concise refusal could be: ‘Sorry but I don’t buy from doorstep sellers. Thank you and goodbye.’ This goes for anyone that calls by who isn’t expected, or you haven’t made an appointment for, such as water or electric meter readings or gas engineers.
- If there are any safety fears, police and Trading Standards advise to call 999. Don’t be afraid of being a timewaster – this is a serious crime. It’s an offence for a trader to refuse to leave your property if you’ve asked.
Reporting scams or attempted fraud is important for warning others, and to inform the police. You can report to Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.
You can call Citizens Advice to report to Trading Standards, or visit its website where you can use the reporting tool to share what’s happened. The information you share will be passed onto the local Trading Standards office.
If your local area is plagued by door knockers, you can also apply to your local council to become a No Cold Calling Zone.
You could also consider installing a smart doorbell.
One of our Coordinators had 2 calls to his mobile phone on the 17th May 2021 both said they were the ‘national insurance investigation branch’ and would be issuing a warrant for his arrest if he did not pay overdue payments.
Tuesday 18 May 2021
Monday 17 May 2021
An out of court disposal (OOCD) is a method of resolving an investigation when the offender is known and when that offender admits the offence. An OOCD can only be used in limited circumstances and it should reduce re-offending by enabling restorative and reparative justice. Nationally, there are a number of methods for dealing with suspects in this way. These are universal and include community resolutions, conditional cautioning, simple cautions, cannabis warnings and Penalty Notices for Disorder.
More information on Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 visit the Home Office and Factsheets there.
Sunday 16 May 2021
Over the last week a Bexley Neighbourhood resident has received the following scam texts, most you will know and be aware of a couple not so, it might be a good idea to watch out for them to avoid being fooled:-
Saturday 15 May 2021
One of our residents received this text message today Saturday 15 May 2021, 9:06am, and 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.
Needless to say please be aware of such phishing scams or report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
For more information visit the authentic Royal Mail help centre.
In total, 94,535 of Bexley's 206,046 residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This equates to a first dose vaccination rate of 46 per cent of residents. This is higher than the average rate in England.
The following graph shows the percentage of residents who have been vaccinated by age group in Bexley up to 10 May 2021.
Who is eligible for the vaccine?
Anyone who is 38 and over can now book their vaccine.
Under new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) those in their 30s will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine rather than AstraZeneca.
Pregnant women who are eligible are also being directed to vaccination centres offering Pfizer and Moderna in their local area in line with JCVI guidance. They can also speak to their GP practice or maternity service if they have any questions about the coronavirus vaccine or can talk to a healthcare professional at their appointment.
Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on Monday. However, many restrictions remain in place.
It's more important than ever that we continue to keep each other safe, especially in London, where there is some concern about the risk posed by new variants of the virus.
You should continue to follow the hands, face, space, fresh air guidance and you should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
WhatsApp has changed its group settings to include “everyone” by default so people you don’t know can add you to a group without your knowing. These people may include scam messages, loan Sharks, etc.
You can change its default settings as follows:
1. Go to WhatsApp:
2. Go into Settings
3. Go to Account
4. Go to Privacy
5. Go to Groups
6. Change from (Everyone) to (My Contacts)
Wednesday 12 May 2021
A short while ago I was contacted by phone by the lady who keeps her horses in the field at the top of Parsonage Lane on the corner of Cocksure Lane.She had just been contacted by the young girl who loans one of her horses and who was tending to them at the time. Apparently a youngish black man stood at the far gate and was staring at her. He asked about the horses, took some photos (she thinks) and made personal remarks to her asking her questions including asking for her contact and social media details. He asked to be let into the field and she told him ‘no’. She was scared and hid in the tack room, ringing the horses’ owner as well as Silverdene.
The owner rang NCRA and asked if this could be reported to the local community, and especially the residents of Parsonage Lane, to ensure that we are all vigilant because of this suspicious/inappropriate behaviour. This man, probably in his twenties, was wearing a red top, shorts and whitish flip-flops. He stayed for about ten minutes and then walked off down Parsonage Lane in the direction of the North Cray Road, She could not see any evidence of his having a car.
Tuesday 11 May 2021
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud.
You should report all types of fraud to Action Fraud whether or not you choose to report it to another agency such as Trading Standards or your bank as well. This includes if you have been the victim of attempted fraud or cybercrime, you have incurred a financial loss as a result of fraud, your personal data has been compromised or you have been hacked as a result of responding to a fraudulent email or text. This ensures that all frauds can be recorded and assessed and that trends in fraud can be identified, assisting with the identification of offenders.
Fraudsters are often clever and take advantage of the shame that many people feel if they have been taken in by them, that can prevent people reporting fraud. Fraud can happen to anyone - do not be too embarrassed to report if you have been conned or tricked out of money or your personal data. Reporting fraud helps track down and stop fraudsters and can prevent other people from becoming their victims.
It’s quickest to report fraud to Action Fraud online using the online reporting tool, but you can also report by phone on 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
If you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone on 18001 then 0300 123 2050.
Action Fraud collates the reports and will give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been a victim of fraud. It passes details of all fraud reports received to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). If there are active lines of enquiry, a substantial amount of money has been lost or the victim is particularly vulnerable, the NFIB may investigate themselves or pass the details to the local police force to initiate an investigation. Everyone who reports a fraud to Action Fraud has the option to receive support from Victim Support afterwards.
Not every report results in an investigation, but every report helps to build a clear picture of fraud, contributes to making the UK a more hostile place for fraudsters to operate in and helps to keep other potential victims safe.
If you have received a suspicious text message (smishing)
You can forward a suspicious text message from your phone to Action Fraud free of charge by sending it to 7726. This enables your provider to identify the origin of the text and take action.
If you’ve been a victim of a smishing fraud, then you also need to report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or by using their online form.
If you have received a suspicious email (phishing) If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) email@example.com. It will go to the National Cyber Security Centre who will analyse the suspect email and any websites it links to and use any additional information you’ve provided to look for and monitor suspicious activity.
If you think you may have been a victim of fraud as a result of phishing you should also report this to Action Fraud.
When to call the police
Contact the police immediately by calling 101 if (any of the following occurs):
- The fraudster is in still your area
- You need help, support and / or assistance as result of the fraud
- A fraud is being committed, or recently occurred (within 24 hours)
- You know the suspect and they reside in the UK
- The victim is perceived to be vulnerable (this may be through age, or by way of mental, or physical impairment, or in need of care and support)
- You believe that it is important to report the incident to police quickly in order that police can secure and preserve evidence, or prevent loss (i.e. CCTV, recover large amounts of money transferred from bank accounts before the criminal can remove it)
Unfortunately email, text, phone and social media scams are on the rise. People are falling victim every day with scammers stealing billions of pounds. Which? is aiming to arm the public with the knowledge of how to spot and avoid scams.
Which?’s free scam alerts are regular email updates on the latest scams. They also include practical advice and next steps for victims. The latest alert included information about a fake FluBot text that’s been circulating. It unpicks the scam, what to look out for and how to protect yourself if you’ve been targeted.
If you are interested in signing up to Which?’s free Scam Alert service click here.
You can always follow this blog to get alerts as well.
Monday 10 May 2021
Scams awareness online provided by National Trading Standards. Lots of useful information.
The tech giants are not doing enough to stop lives being devastated by fraud. We’re demanding the government includes scams in the Online Safety Bill.
3.7 million incidents of fraud
Action against fake and fraudulent content
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