- Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when parking your van.
- If possible, park in a well-lit area.
- Consider using a security device, such as an alarm or tracker.
- Remove any valuable items from your van when you are not using it.
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Tuesday 31 October 2023
Social media and email hacking are on the rise, with 18,011 reports made to Action Fraud between August 2022 and July 2023. Of these, 4,092 victims reported being extorted for money or having their accounts used to commit fraud.
There are two main types of account takeovers: on-platform takeovers and email compromise and phishing. In on-platform takeovers, the scammer will trick a victim into sharing or altering crucial account details through the messaging element of the service. In email compromise and phishing, the scammer will send a fake email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or social media company. The email will contain a link that, when clicked, will take the victim to a fake website that looks identical to the real website. If the victim enters their login details on the fake website, the scammer will be able to steal them. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from social media and email hacking:
- Use strong and different passwords for all of your online accounts.
- Turn on 2-factor authentication for all of your online accounts.
- Be careful about what links you click on in emails. If you are unsure whether an email is legitimate, do not click on any links in the email. Instead, go to the website directly by typing the address into your web browser.
- Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include security patches that can help to protect your devices from malware and other threats. If you think that your social media or email account has been hacked, you should change your password immediately and report the incident to the relevant authorities.
Sunday 29 October 2023
|Stolen White Mercedes Car from Falconwood & Welling - click image to view enlarged|
There is a thief operating in the Brompton Drive area of DA8 2LR. He is a young male who has been seen collecting shoes from doorsteps and breaking into houses. On October 25, 2023, between 1:10 and 1:20 AM, he stole a car after breaking into a house and taking the keys. This is the second time he has been seen in the area, the first time being on September 28, 2023, at 00:48 AM. See footage below.
Please be vigilant and keep your doors and windows locked at all times. If you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police immediately on email@example.com or 020 8721 2023.
Here are some tips to help keep your home safe:
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked, even when you are home.
- Install a security system.
- Trim bushes and trees around your home to eliminate hiding places for burglars.
- Don't leave valuables in plain sight.
- Get to know your neighbours and watch out for each other's homes.
- Report any suspicious activity to the police.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Thursday 26 October 2023
With another winter of high energy bills ahead of us, many households have had to make do with colder homes, while others look for ways to improve energy efficiency.
From fake Ofgem offers for free boilers to dodgy dealers cloning prepayment meter keys, con artists are poised to capitalise on widespread money worries with a range of scams.
Check out the latest dodgy energy scams and keep yourself safe over the colder months.
Source: Which? (25 Oct 2023)
Which?'s scam tracker highlights the latest scams you need to know about this month, including Booking[dot]com scam warnings and hacked social media accounts.
Which?'s goal is to help you stay ahead of fraudsters and outsmart them. Discover what the latest scams are.
Source: Which? (17 Oct 2023)
Email scams are a common type of ‘phishing’ scam. Scammers usually impersonate legitimate organisations, like HMRC, using convincing branding to deceive people.
These fake emails often contain fraudulent links asking for personal data or malicious software that can infect your device.
If you suspect an email might be a scam, follow our expert tips on email scams to avoid falling prey to scammers.
Source: Which? (17 Oct 2023)
Tuesday 24 October 2023
Nick Stapleton has been investigating number spoofing scams for BBC Morning Live, including a case where criminals spoofed the phone number of the UK Supreme Court to fool people into handing over their money.
Nick met with ethical hacker Doug Tognarelli, who works with businesses to increase their cyber security. In less than five minutes, he showed that he was able to spoof the phone number of the Supreme Court: the final court of appeal in the UK for all civil cases and most criminal ones.
Nick Stapleton met with Maia, a forensic scientist, who was scammed in May. She received a call saying she had been the victim of identity theft, and that someone from the Supreme Court would follow up directly. She was told to search for the court’s phone number online, and it did indeed match.
Maia told Morning Live: “They told me that they needed me to move my money to other safe accounts, because the investigation now will start, and then my bank accounts would be blocked. I was scared and I was like, hold on a second, Who am I transferring the money to? and the tone changed a bit; she was kind of threatening and told me that I had to cooperate”.
To make the scam more convincing, Maia was told the call was also being monitored by the Ministry of Justice, and that she would receive a further call from them. Again, the phone number tallied up with the official one for the government department, which oversees courts and prisons.
Maia felt pressured into cooperating with the caller, and she began to transfer money. After being on the phone for over two hours, she had transferred more than £10,000.
Maia started to feel suspicious; so she went to the Supreme Court’s website. There she discovered a warning about scammers cloning their phone number. She said: “I was in a state of shock, and then I said ‘you need to stop now, I know that you're a hacker. I'm going to call the police’. At that moment, she hung up.”
Maia reported the scam to her banks and luckily she was able to get most of her money back.
In response to the BBC investigation, a spokesperson from the UK Supreme Court said: “We know that scammers are cloning our phone number and logo and have advisory messages to the public on our website. We never call asking for money or threatening arrest and advise people receiving a call, letter, or email to follow the scams advice on our website.”
The Ministry of Justice told Morning Live: “We sympathise with anyone affected by these shameful scams. The Ministry of Justice will never contact you using an automated message. If you receive a call like this please hang up and report it to Action Fraud.”
The Do Not Originate list is designed to stop scammers using phone numbers to trick people. It’s run by communications watchdog Ofcom, and stops certain numbers from being spoofed before a call can connect. Companies, government agencies like HMRC, and other public bodies can add their phone numbers to the list (pdf).
Ofcom has told the BBC: “Scammers can cause huge distress and financial harm to their victims, and protecting people from harm is a priority for Ofcom. These criminals are becoming more sophisticated and tackling them requires efforts from a range of bodies. We’re working closely with the police, other regulators and industry to tackle the problem.
“One of our initiatives in countering scam calls is the Do Not Originate list. This has proved to be an effective tool, and we review and update the list regularly. We don’t make its contents public, to reduce the risk of scammers using this information to their advantage”.
Be Scam Safe. Remember:
• Never give out your personal
information in response to an incoming call, or rely upon the Caller ID
as the sole means of identification, particularly if the caller asks
you to carry out an action which might have financial consequences. No
legitimate organisation will ever ask you to transfer money over the phone.
• It’s OK to hang up on a caller if something doesn’t seem right. You could be stopping a scam from happening.
• If you want to check if it’s a genuine organisation that has called you, you can hang up and call them back. Call the phone number on the organisation’s website. Remember this scam only works with incoming calls, not outbound ones that you make.
• Wait for a few minutes before making the call - this ensures the line has cleared and you're not still speaking to the fraudster or an accomplice.
• If someone calls you saying they are from your bank, you can hang up and call 159 to be connected to most major UK banks.” 159 cannot be spoofed and will never call you.
Source: BBC Morning Live (23 October 2023)
Monday 23 October 2023
Neighbourhood Watch can play an important role in helping to keep communities safe during the forthcoming Christmas period. By working together, neighbours can look out for each other's homes and property, and report any suspicious activity to the police.
Here are some tips for how Neighbourhood Watch can help to keep your community safe at Christmas:
Make sure your home is secure. This means locking all doors and windows, and installing good quality security locks. You should also consider installing CCTV and a burglar alarm system.
Keep your valuables out of sight. Don't leave presents under the Christmas tree or in other places visible to potential burglars. If you're going out for Christmas shopping, lock your presents in the car boot.
Be vigilant when you're out and about. Keep your handbag / wallet close to you and be aware of your surroundings. Don't flash your cash or credit cards in public. Keep your phone pocketed.
Look out for your neighbours. If you see anything suspicious, such as someone trying to break into a house or car, report it to the police immediately.
Neighbourhood Watch can also help to create a sense of community spirit and reduce loneliness and isolation at Christmas.
Thursday 19 October 2023
People searching for loans online are unknowingly signing up for £29.95 a month subscriptions to websites they've never heard of.
We’ve received reports of 13 different 'savings' websites appearing on bank statements. These websites claim to offer daily discount codes, exclusive deals, cashback, and assistance with rebuilding bad credit.
If you suspect you've been a victim of these deceptive practices, read more about these ‘savings’ websites and how to stop recurring payments.
Source: Which? (15 Oct 2023)
In the latest episode of the Which? Shorts podcast, we hear about the impact of identity fraud.
We explain how this crime happens and what we can do to stop it. And to help you, our experts, Faye Lipson and Lucia Ariano, tell you everything you need to know about identity fraud.
Can you stop someone from stealing your identity? Tune into our podcast to find out more.
Source: Which? (18 Oct 2023)
A Which? member was recently cold called by a scammer who pretended to be a police officer. The scammer claimed that the police had arrested someone who had used the member's bank card. When asked for further details, the scammer became aggressive and ended the call.
It's important to remember that the police will never ask for personal or financial information over unsolicited calls. Learn more about this scam and how to prevent nuisance calls.
Source: Which? (17 Oct 2023)
Monday 16 October 2023
A Local borough resident received a text from Jazz Refunds:
"Hi (first name - and removed)
Your refund up to £5389 is unclaimed. Tax was taken from past PPI/Loans and is owed back. Click now: https://jazzmkt.co.uk vsms.io/GB"
Yes, the text message received from Jazz Refunds is likely a scam or phishing attempt. There are several red flags that indicate this:
- The text message is unsolicited, meaning you did not request it.
- The sender's name is vague and could be easily associated with a legitimate company.
- The text message claims that you are owed a large sum of money (£5389) in a refund. This is a common tactic used by scammers to lure people in.
- The text message contains a link to a website that is not the official website. The domain name,
jazzmkt.co.uk, is suspicious and does not appear to be associated with any legitimate company.
- The text message contains a shortened URL,
vsms.io/GB. Shortened URLs can be used to hide the true destination of a link, which can be dangerous if the link is malicious.
If you click on the link in the text message, you may be taken to a fake website. This website may ask you to enter your personal information, such as your name, address, and credit card number. Scammers can use this information to steal your identity or commit fraud.
Do not click on the link in the text message and do not reply to it. If you think you may have been scammed, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:
- Be wary of unsolicited text messages, emails, and phone calls.
- Never click on links in unsolicited messages. If you are unsure whether a message is legitimate, contact the company directly using the contact information on their official website.
- Do not provide your personal information to anyone you do not know and trust.
If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk.
Sunday 15 October 2023
A local borough resident had a text message from 0776 3519067 saying it was from Royal Mail and that they could not deliver his package as it has an incomplete address. It then asks him to log onto http//UK.royalmail.sbs. Virustotal shows this url as malicious and getsafeonline says it is not safe. Of course he did not.
This is a scam message. Royal Mail will never send you a text message asking you to click on a link to update your address or pay a delivery fee. If you receive a text message like this, do not click on any links or reply to the message. Instead, forward it to 7726 to report it as spam.
The website address in the scam message, UK.royalmail.sbs, is not a legitimate Royal Mail website. It is a fake website that has been set up by scammers to steal your personal information, such as your name, address, and credit card details.
If you have already clicked on the link in the scam message and entered your personal information, you should contact your bank immediately to cancel your credit or debit cards. You should also change your online passwords.
Please be aware of this scam and warn your friends and family.
Here are some tips to help you avoid being scammed:
- Be wary of any unsolicited text messages or emails, especially those that ask you to click on links or provide personal information.
- Never click on links in text messages or emails from unknown senders.
- If you are unsure whether a text message or email is legitimate, contact the company directly using a known contact method, such as the phone number on their website.
- Be careful about what information you share online. Only share your personal information with trusted websites and companies.
If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk.
Thursday 12 October 2023
With Christmas fast approaching, advent calendars will soon be popping up everywhere. In September, scammers were quick to create fraudulent Facebook ads promoting the £350 Jo Malone advent calendar for just £30.
Always remember: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here are examples of these fake ads and scam websites that we've found to help you dodge this scam.
Bogus advent calendars
Source: Which? (11 Oct 2023)
New laws were due to kick in next year to give fairer and more consistent redress for victims of bank transfer scams. However, this has now been delayed. What's worse, the regulator has also proposed that fraud victims should pay a £250 excess when they make a claim.
Learn more about what this could mean for future scam victims.
Fraud protection risk
Source: Which? (11 Oct 2023)
From scammers impersonating the government and offering non-existent discounts on energy bills to posing as your adult children asking for money, scam messages are designed to steal your personal details to con you now or in the future.
Fraudsters use identity-masking technology, also known as spoofing, to make it look like a legitimate organisation or someone you know is contacting you via text or a messaging app.
While these messages might appear legitimate at first, here are some tips to help you become more confident in spotting a scam.
Source: Which? (11 Oct 2023)
Wednesday 11 October 2023
The internet’s unequalled choice, 24/7 convenience and flexibility are benefits that suit people of all ages, wherever they live or work and whatever their circumstances. Others, however, prefer to carry on doing things the traditional, offline way for many reasons, a major one being trust. We’ve all either experienced at first hand or heard about negative experiences including online fraud or abuse which are, unfortunately, all too commonplace.
In order to go online with safety and confidence, it’s important to get to know who and what you can trust … and who and what you can’t. And it’s vital that everybody who uses the internet can do so with safety and confidence – regardless of gender, ability, appearance, background or beliefs – by being able to trust others’ behaviour and behave responsibly themselves.
For more information about the internet and trust please read our latest advice here: https://www.getsafeonline.org/trust/
And if you would like to learn more, then please feel free to join our hour-long webinar tomorrow afternoon at 2pm where Get Safe Online will be joined by Neighbourhood Watch, the British Polio Fellowship, and DeafBlindUk to talk about the internet, trust and inclusivity in more detail.
To register visit: https://www.getsafeonline.org/you-the-internet-and-trust-webinar/ [Date:Thursday 12th October, 14:00 – 15:00 BST]
Source: Get Safe Online team
A local borough resident recently received a call from the number 07496 438116 on her landline, and they didn't leave a message. To be cautious, she decided to do some research and discovered that this number has a negative rating on the who-called site.
Spoofed Numbers: Beware and Stay Informed
- : Some individuals may use number spoofing services to protect their real phone number when making calls. This is often done for safety reasons or to maintain privacy.
- : Telemarketers and cold callers may use spoofed numbers to make it seem like they are calling from a local area or a recognisable number to increase the likelihood of the call being answered.
- : Scammers frequently use spoofed numbers to impersonate legitimate organizations or government agencies, making it more likely that people will answer and fall for their fraudulent schemes.
- : People can spoof their numbers for the purpose of making prank calls, which can be disruptive and annoying.
- : Scammers can spoof numbers to mimic legitimate entities, such as banks or tech support, to trick individuals into divulging personal information or sending money.
Here are some of the latest scams in the UK and tips on how to prevent them:
Phishing is a type of scam where criminals try to trick you into revealing your personal information, such as your bank account number or credit card details. They may do this by sending you an email or text message that looks like it's from a legitimate company, such as your bank or credit card company. The email or text message will often ask you to click on a link or open an attachment. If you do this, it will take you to a fake website that looks like the real website of the company. Once you're on the fake website, you'll be asked to enter your personal information.
How to prevent phishing scams:
- Be suspicious of any email or text message that asks you for your personal information.
- Do not click on any links or open any attachments in emails or text messages from unknown senders.
- If you're not sure whether an email or text message is legitimate, contact the company directly using the contact information on their website.
Smishing is a type of phishing scam that uses SMS text messages instead of emails. Smishing scams are often very convincing, as they may use the real name of the company they are pretending to be from.
How to prevent smishing scams:
- Be suspicious of any SMS text message that asks you for your personal information.
- Do not click on any links in SMS text messages from unknown senders.
- If you're not sure whether an SMS text message is legitimate, contact the company directly using the contact information on their website.
Vishing is a type of phishing scam that uses voice calls instead of emails or text messages. Vishing scams are often very convincing, as the scammer may know your name and other personal information about you.
How to prevent vishing scams:
- Be suspicious of any voice call that asks you for your personal information.
- Do not give out your personal information to anyone who calls you out of the blue.
- If you're not sure whether a voice call is legitimate, hang up and call the company directly using the contact information on their website.
Investment scams are a type of scam where criminals try to trick you into investing in a fake investment opportunity. Investment scams can be very sophisticated and can involve a lot of money.
How to prevent investment scams:
- Be suspicious of any investment opportunity that promises high returns with low risk.
- Do not invest any money in an investment opportunity that you don't fully understand.
- Do your research on any investment opportunity before you invest any money.
Romance scams are a type of scam where criminals try to trick you into sending them money or giving them personal information by pretending to be someone they're not, such as a potential romantic partner.
How to prevent romance scams:
- Be suspicious of anyone who you meet online and who quickly asks you for money or personal information.
- Do not send money or give out personal information to anyone you meet online.
- Do your research on anyone you meet online before you start a relationship with them.
Tips to avoid scams
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited contact.
- Do not give out your personal information to anyone you don't trust.
- Do your research on any company or person before you do business with them.
- If you're not sure whether something is a scam, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid it.
Monday 9 October 2023
In a bizarre turn of events, local police are appealing for the owner of a large stash of 121 wraps of cocaine to come forward and collect it from their lost and found property store.
The stash was discovered by PCSO Worrall while on routine patrol of Franks Park. He noticed two males acting suspiciously and hiding something inside a tree stump. He remained situationally aware and turned on his body worn camera to capture their description and the vehicle they got into.
Once it was safe to do so, PCSO Worrall searched the area and found a very large stash of cocaine.
The investigation is now ongoing to catch up with the rightful owners, but in the meantime, police are appealing for them to come forward and collect their stash.
"We understand that this may seem like a strange situation," said a spokesperson for the police. "However, we want to assure the rightful owner that they will not be in any trouble. We just want to return their property to them."
If you believe that you may be the owner of the cocaine stash, please contact the police on 020 8721 2050.
Saturday 7 October 2023
As money gets tight, being told you don’t have enough for a direct debit might become less unusual – but it could be also be a scam. In December 2022, Rav Wilding warned of “phishing” emails claiming to be from the DVLA and TV Licensing, telling people their payments had bounced back and they needed settling now. Rav explained how checking email addresses and spelling could help you spot a fake.
Source: BBC Morning Live (06 October 2023)
Thursday 5 October 2023
A Which? member contacted Which? after being targeted by scammers posing as a landlord for a property listed on Facebook.
The landlord told them they would need to pay a deposit and the first month's rent to reserve and view the property. The landlord presented official-looking documents of themself and the property to seem genuine. Once the victim paid the deposit, the 'landlord' blocked them.
If you suspect you've paid money to a scammer, seek Which? expert advice on the appropriate steps to take next.
Source: Which? (4 Oct 2023)
Which? found many phoney Facebook profiles that purport to be from Facebook and its parent company, Meta. Scammers impersonating Facebook send direct messages telling owners of business pages that their pages will be deleted for infringing Facebook's trademark rights.
Identifying fake profiles on social media such as Facebook can be difficult. Check out the fraudulent profiles we found that are sending these scam messages, so you can dodge them.
Source: Which? (3 Oct 2023)
Wednesday 4 October 2023
Toyota and Lexus owners (maybe other keyless entry cars too - but test and check) can prevent broadcast of key signal to open and shut the car. It can also save your key fob battery.
The following video shows this in action. This works on Toyota having tested it on the vehicle.
- To turn off your key fob, stand near your car and hold down the lock button. Then, press the unlock button twice. The red light on your key fob will flash. Now, let go of both buttons. Your car will no longer unlock or start.
To turn your key fob back on, simply press the unlock button.
Here is some advice on how to keep your vehicle from being stolen by shutting off the broadcast of your key fob:
- Use a Faraday pouch. A Faraday pouch is a shielded bag that blocks electromagnetic waves. This means that it can prevent your key fob from sending a signal to your vehicle, making it impossible for thieves to steal it using a relay attack.
- Disable the keyless entry feature. Many vehicles have a keyless entry feature that allows you to unlock and start your vehicle without having to take the key fob out of your pocket or purse. This feature can be convenient, but it can also make your vehicle more vulnerable to theft. To disable the keyless entry feature, consult your vehicle's owner's manual.
- Park in well-lit areas. Thieves are less likely to target vehicles that are parked in well-lit areas. If possible, try to park your vehicle in a garage or in a well-lit area of a parking lot.
- Use a steering wheel lock. A steering wheel lock is a visible deterrent that can make your vehicle less appealing to thieves.
- Install a security system. A security system can alert you if someone is trying to steal your vehicle. It can also make it more difficult for thieves to steal your vehicle by disabling the engine or setting off a loud alarm.
Here are some additional tips for keeping your vehicle safe:
- Keep your vehicle locked. This may seem obvious, but many people forget to lock their vehicles.
- Don't leave valuables in your vehicle. Thieves are more likely to target vehicles that they think contain valuables, such as laptops, cell phones, and purses.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, report it to the police.
By following these tips, you can help to protect your vehicle from theft.
For more information search this blog, for example visit https://bexleywatch.blogspot.com/search?q=faraday
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Cold Blow Crescent Residents Group Xmas Newsletter Click to View in PDF