Thursday 18 April 2024

Watch out for this WhatsApp scam

Watch out for this nasty WhatsApp scam that enables hackers to take control of your account and access all of your messages. Find out here how this scam works and how to protect your account from fraudsters.

WhatsApp Scam

Source: Which? (16 Apr 2024)

Spot the signs of a rogue trader

Victims of rogue locksmiths can experience rip-off prices, poor workmanship and intimidation. Locksmiths aren’t regulated, which means that technically, anyone can call themselves a locksmith, do a shoddy job, charge you a fortune and avoid being held to account.

In 2022, the Master Locksmiths Association received more than 300 reports about fraudulent locksmiths. Victims had been charged anything from £500 to more than £3,000 for emergency call-outs, which is significantly more than a reputable locksmith would charge.

Which? explains the tell-tale signs of a rogue locksmith and how to avoid appointing one.

Avoid dodgy locksmiths

Source: Which? (17 Apr 2024)

Fake flights and phantom hotels

Lloyds Bank is warning holidaymakers to watch out after it saw a 7% spike in travel scams in the past year. Victims lose an average of £765 to these scams, with Lloyds saying nearly half of those affecting its customers started on Facebook.

Find out how to avoid getting caught and the seven steps to take to stay safe when booking your holiday this year.

Spot a holiday scam

Source: Which? (15 Apr 2024)

Ticket Fraud Alert: Protect Yourself Before Buying for Popular Events

Action Fraud is warning people about ticket fraud, especially for popular summer events. Last year, people lost over £6.7 million to ticket scams.

Here's how to protect yourself:

Monday 15 April 2024

Scam Alert: Don't Fall for This Debit Card Phone Call

A local Borough resident received a call from a spoofed number '07719 127005' and alerted us to warn others.

Here's what you should do about the recorded message claiming a £900 purchase on your debit card:

Don't press any options or reply to the number.

This is a common tactic used by scammers. They try to trick you into giving them your personal information or confirming the fake transaction.

Here's what to do instead:

  1. Contact your bank directly. Look for the phone number on the back of your debit card or your bank's website. Don't use any phone numbers provided in the recorded message.
  2. Explain the situation to your bank. Let them know about the suspicious call and the alleged £900 purchase.
  3. Follow your bank's instructions. They will likely advise you to cancel your debit card and issue a new one.
  4. Report the scam. You can report the scam to the National Fraud Reporting Service.

Additional tips:

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls, texts, or emails, even if they seem to come from your bank.
  • Never give out your personal information or card details over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
  • If you're unsure whether a call is genuine, it's always best to err on the side of caution and contact your bank directly.
The number is spoofed and associated with a 'Telecoms Scam'.

Doorstep crime

Rogue traders are active across London – if you are not sure don’t open the door

You can help protect yourself with some common simple precautions;

  • Use a door chain so you can check who’s calling
  • Don’t trade on the door step
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member for advice on reputable traders
  • Display a sticker visible to callers saying “No cold calling”
  • Report suspicious activity to Police or Citizens Advice

Sunday 14 April 2024

Flat fire - Erith 🔥

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a flat fire on Kale Road in Erith.

Part of a three roomed flat on the sixth floor of a block of flats was destroyed by fire. One man left the affected flat before the Brigade arrived, approximately 50 people also evacuated the building. The cause of the fire is accidental and due to the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "If you smoke it is vitally important you stub it right out, preferably in an ashtray.

"Always ensure your cigarette is completely out when you’ve finished smoking it. If you don’t, you risk causing a fire as you don’t know what it may land on which could potentially start a fire."

This was a very visible fire. The Brigade's 999 Control staff received 30 calls alerting them to the blaze. Thankfully no injuries are reported.

The Brigade was called at 1331 and the incident was under control by 1413. Fire crews from Plumstead, Erith, Bexley and East Greenwich fire stations were in attendance.

Smoking safety top tips

  • It's safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
  • Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  • Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.

Source: LFB (14 Apr 2024)

Thursday 11 April 2024

Investment scammers pocketed £13m a week

Criminal gangs flogging bogus investments and ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes stole an average of £13m a week in the past four years, according to Action Fraud data revealed by a Freedom of Information request.

It's a horrifyingly profitable crime, and victims can lose their lifetime savings. But what are the different types of investment fraud? From ‘pension liberation fraud’ to ‘Ponzi schemes’– find out the different types of fraud and how to invest safely.

Invest safely

Source: Which? (08 Apr 2024)

Keep your tablet secure

Our research has discovered that some tablet manufacturers support their devices with vital security updates for as little as two years, while others support theirs for five or more.

Tablets are computers. And, just like computers, they're vulnerable to security attacks. Use our free tool to check how long a new tablet will get software and security updates, and find out what to do if your tablet's at risk.

Software security

Source: Which? (09 Apr 2024)

Santander customers lost £7.3m to purchase scams

Santander has reported that purchase scam claims were up by a third in 2023 compared to 2022.

A purchase scam is when a product you pay for turns out to be fake or non-existent. The scammer is seeking to dupe you into handing over your personal and financial details, and the scam may result in loss of money immediately or even months later when you may be retargeted by the scammer.

Read on to find out what these types of scams look like and how to avoid them.

Purchase scams

Source: Which? (10 Apr 2024)

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Fire at storage yard - Erith 🔥

Firefighters are warning residents to take care with bonfires after a blaze at a storage yard on Manor Road in Erith. 

Most of two 20-foot ISO containers and half of two vehicles were damaged by the fire. A further vehicle and around four tonnes of mixed refuse were also destroyed by the blaze.

The fire is believed to have been caused by unattended burning spreading out of control. 

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "We would urge people to consider if their bonfire is necessary and to take care if you’re burning waste at home or at work. 

"If you’re having a bonfire never leave it unattended and consider your neighbours if you do decide to have a fire in your garden. 

"Make sure you build it clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges and never use flammable liquids to start it or burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans. Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire. 

“Always check your local authority’s advice on bonfires and follow our safety tips." 

The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 13 calls about the fire.  

The Brigade was called at 1910 and the fire was under control at 2100. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Erith, Bexley and Plumstead fire stations attended the scene. 

Bonfire safety tips 

  • Build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges 
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries 
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water 
  • Check the area to make sure there's no wildlife or pets hiding nearby.

Source: LFB (09 Apr 2024)

Saint George's Day in England - 23rd April 2024

Saint George is the patron saint of England in a tradition established in the Tudor period, based in the saint's popularity during the times of the Crusades and the Hundred Years' War.

Veneration of the saint in folk religion declined in the 18th century. Attempts to revive the celebration of Saint George's Day (23 April) as an expression of English culture and identity date from the foundation of Royal Society of St. George in 1894.
Since the beginning of the 2010s, such efforts have resulted in St George's Day celebrations with aspects of a national holiday in England.
Religious observance of St George's Day changes when it is too close to Easter. According to the Church of England's calendar, when St George's Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is moved to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. In 2011, for example, 23 April was Holy Saturday, so St George's Day was moved to Monday 2 May, and in 2014 it was celebrated on Monday 28 April. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has a similar practice.
A traditional custom on St George's day is to wear a red rose in one's lapel, though this is no longer widely practised.
St. George's Day Parade. One of the best ways to celebrate St. George's Day is to watch the parade, which is held in central London, starting from Trafalgar Square, and ending at the historic Guildhall. It features marching bands, traditional English dancers, and even knights in armour. St George is also the patron saint of Scouts.
Date: Sunday 21 April 2024 
Time: 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Venue: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN, GB Cost: FREE.

Monday 8 April 2024

Scam alert: WhatsApp verification code scams are back

Action Fraud has issued a warning about an uplift in WhatsApp verification code scams. 

The fraud and cyber crime reporting agency says it has received more than 60 reports about the scam, which we originally wrote about in 2021.

Read on to find out about how the scam works and for advice on keeping your WhatsApp account safe.

Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Simplyhealth Email: Approved Claim or Phishing Attempt?

The email could be legitimate or a scam. Here's how to assess it:

Signs it could be legitimate:

  • It mentions a specific company, Simplyhealth, which is a real health insurance provider.
  • It provides instructions for checking your claims within your online account or app (SimplyPlan), which is a standard way for legitimate companies to handle claims.

Signs it could be a scam:

  • Generic greeting: "Good news" is vague. A legitimate email might address you by name.
  • Sense of urgency: Phrases like "on its way" or "click here" can be used to pressure you into clicking a link without thinking.
  • Discouragement from replying: Legitimate companies usually have customer service email addresses.

Here's what you can do:

  1. Don't click the link in the email.
  2. Log in to your Simplyhealth account directly (not through the email link) and check your claims section. You should see information about the approved claim there.
  3. Call Simplyhealth directly using the phone number you know is theirs (not one provided in the email) and ask about the claim.

By checking directly with Simplyhealth, you'll be sure you're dealing with a legitimate claim and avoid any phishing attempts.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Our real-time scams-tracker page

From a WhatsApp Gold scam to a DVLA impersonation email, we keep our scams-tracker page updated with the latest news – something to keep you informed between your Thursday Scam Alert emails. Check out the latest scams.


Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Guide: What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception. A victim can be left feeling extremely vulnerable, especially as the first you learn of ID fraud could be when you get a bill or invoice for something you haven’t ordered, or when you have letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

There are important things you can do to protect yourself against identity fraud – make sure you read them in our guide.

Identity fraud

Source: Which? (02 Apr 2024)

Beware social media hacking on the rise

Action Fraud has issued a warning after 22,530 people reported that their social media accounts had been hacked in 2023. Fraudsters can access your online accounts in a variety of ways. If you find that one of your accounts has been hacked, you may be wondering how they gained access.

Find out the main ways a hacker can gain access and how to protect your accounts.

Account hacking

Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Wednesday 3 April 2024

"Beware of "Is this you?" Scam on Social Media"

Yes, "Is this you in this video/photo?" is a common social media scam. Here's how it works and how to avoid it:

The Scam:

  • You receive a message, often from a friend (whose account may be hacked), with text like "Is this you in this video?" or "This looks like you!"
  • The message will likely include a link.
  • Clicking the link takes you to a fake login page designed to steal your social media password. Once they have it, they can scam your friends or spread malware.

How to Avoid It:

  • Don't click the link!
  • If you're curious about the video/photo, reach out to your friend directly through another method (call, text message) and ask if they sent it. It's likely their account was hacked.
  • Be suspicious of any messages asking you to click on a link, especially if they come from unexpected contacts.

Here are some additional tips for staying safe on social media:

  • Be careful about who you friend/follow. Only connect with people you know and trust.
  • Beware of messages that seem too good to be true. If someone is offering you something amazing, it's probably a scam.
  • Never share your social media password with anyone.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts. Consider a password manager to help you keep track.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from social media scams.

If you think you may have clicked on a malicious link, report it to the social media platform and change your password immediately. Use 2FA as per

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Do it online: another way to contact the police

The NPCC (National Police Chief's Council) has launched a new app called Police.UK, which allows the public to report crimes and incidents, find out information about local policing teams, and access prevention advice and support for victims and witnesses of crime. You can read more about this here.

Download the app

Android            iOS

Watch out for this WhatsApp scam

Watch out for this nasty WhatsApp scam that enables hackers to take control of your account and access all of your messages. Find out here h...