Any alerts sent from Neighbourhood Watch or Community Police will appear on this page of the website:
Spotting the Scammers March 2020
Wiltshire Police wants to remind residents to be aware of fraudsters trying to take advantage of others during the current global situation.
We've heard from other police forces of new scams which are targeting the elderly and most vulnerable who are self-isolating at home.
Examples of fraud include, people visiting homes posing as police officers and/or health officials trying to gain entry with a view to burgle them. The criminals will often offer fake coronavirus testing as well as bogus food and medicine delivery services.
So far, we have not seen any such cases in Wiltshire - but we want to make people aware.
Top tips to thwart the fraudsters:
• Be a good neighbour - keep an eye on an elderly or vulnerable person living near you.
• Check ID - volunteers working with the health and emergency services will be in possession of the necessary documentation to prove they are genuine.
• If in doubt call us - if you are not sure about someone, don't engage and report any serious suspicious behaviour.
• Online fraud - don't click on links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
• Shopping online - if buying from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
The majority of groups are well intentioned and will be working with charities or a local authority and should have proof that they are doing so.
Remember, currently in Wiltshire, police officers and medical professionals are not doing door-to-door checks or administering tests.
Report any suspicious person or activity to us straight away so we can gather evidence and take action against the individuals.
Call 101, if non-urgent, or 999 in an emergency. You can also report crime online now via our website www.wiltshire.police.uk
Mud on the Roads and Advice For Farmers Using Public Highways
(Extract from Neighbourhood Watch Alert)
We are receiving many reports from drivers about dangerous conditions being created by mud being deposited on the roads. This is not an uncommon problem at this time of year given the weather conditions and the agricultural community working hard in the fields. Unfortunately, the farmers and contractors may well be bringing significant amounts of soil from the fields and onto the road network whilst going about their normal business.
Farmers and contractors are legally obliged to ensure that if their vehicles leave mud, and other deposits, on the road, they clean it up. There is also a legal requirement for them to place out signs compliant with the Traffic Signs Regulation 2016 to warn motorists of the conditions on the road. If they don’t, they could be liable for a number of offences under the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Act 1988. It is vital for farmers and contractors to know their responsibilities when it comes to leaving mud, and other deposits, on the road and particularly the consequences of not conforming to the law.
Cleaning mud off of agricultural vehicles prior to going onto a public highway should be done whenever possible to help keep the roads safe. Although cleaning mud off agricultural machinery is inconvenient it may not be a defence in law. There is more advice for farmers on the rural communities pages of the force website: www.wiltshire.police.uk/MuddyRoads
"It's something I'll never forget and will affect my whole outlook on life. I'm a lot more cautious about answering the door, and when it's dark I won't answer it at all." "For several nights after the incident I couldn't sleep. I was worried that the male would return to the house and try to get in. I was so anxious that the doorbell would ring - in fact I was so afraid that when it did ring I didn't answer it."
The impact of distraction burglary – when an offender tricks their way into someone's house, often posing as a workman or tradesman, before stealing from them – should not be underestimated. The above quotes were from two women in their 80s who were targeted in separate incidents, and were left feeling frightened in their own homes.
Sgt Tom Ellerby, from Wiltshire South East CPT, said: "We are regularly investigating these types of offences, which not only have a financial impact on victims, but also a huge emotional and mental impact.
"I would urge everyone who has vulnerable or elderly friends, relatives or neighbours to take the time to have regular conversations with them about the importance of home security. "It only takes five minutes, but if you talk to them about it on a weekly basis, then hopefully they will know how to keep themselves safe and not let unknown or unexpected visitors into their home."
Here are some top tips:
- You are never required to open their door to unexpected callers and it is not rude to send someone away.
- "IF YOU'RE NOT SURE, DON'T OPEN THE DOOR".
- Display a 'No Cold Calling Home' sticker to discourage unwanted callers.
- Ask to see the caller's ID, even if they have made an appointment to see you, and call their company yourself (not on a number they provide) to check they are genuine.
- The 'Waterboard' no longer exists, it is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers.
- Use a spy hole and chain to check who the caller is before you answer.
We have also attached a leaflet/poster, which you can print off and give to any friends, family members or neighbours you think would benefit from this advice.
POLICE STOP ME" STICKERS
Wiltshire Police, as part of the Wiltshire Rural Crime Partnership, are launching 'Police stop me' stickers in a new initiative to help tackle farm machinery theft in the county.
Stickers with 'Police STOP ME between 20:00 – 05:00' are now available for our rural communities to apply to their agricultural vehicles, trailers and horse boxes etc.
The idea being if the machinery is seen on the roads between those hours by officers who are not already committed to a call, they can stop check the vehicle to ensure it is being used by the rightful owner.
The stickers are based on a similar initiative which has been in operation with 'cash-in-transit' vans for many years and it has been proven to successfully reduce attacks on vehicles from the security trade.
Rural Crime Officer PC Marc Jackson said: "This initiative is currently being used by other police forces around the UK and is a small but effective tool in the fight against rural crime.
"Anything we can do to work with our communities to help disrupt and prevent rural crime is something we are keen to promote. Stickers won't necessarily stop a theft, but they do raise awareness to other members of the public and police officers in regards to farm machinery thefts. This can include quad bikes, ATVs, 4x4 vehicles and as well as vintage tractors"
"We are also asking farmers, small holders and horse owners to ensure that their agricultural vehicles are adequately protected and stored securely. We often find that vehicles are stolen whilst being used, with the keys left in the vehicle when the owner is checking livestock or working around the farm yard."
The National Farmers Union (NFU) representative for Wiltshire, Andi Witcombe said "Without doubt, rural crime is one of the most pressing, impactful and devastating issues farmers are dealing with at the moment.
"We have seen some great examples around the country of police forces getting on the front foot with rural policing and the NFU in Wiltshire welcomes the POLICE STOP ME initiative.
"We are pleased to give our support for this initiative and we encourage all farmers to take part.
"The fact that over two-thirds of farmers and rural businesses have been victims of crime in the past 12 months shows that appropriate action needs to be taken to ensure farmers can do what they do best – producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation."
Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Angus Macpherson said: "Due to the nature of the businesses in our rural areas they often have a lot of expensive farm machinery and equipment kept on site which can make them a target for thieves. I welcome this simple new initiative as one of the many ways Wiltshire Police's Rural Crime Team are helping to tackle machinery theft in the county.
"This is an issue that has a significant and far reaching impact, both financially and emotionally, on businesses owners. Wiltshire Police is fully committed to continuing to work with our rural communities to tackle rural crime however we can."
If you would like more information on the 'Police stop me' stickers then please speak to your local Community Policing Team.
HMRC ALERT - What you need to know
Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards. If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s 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.
In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call at a later date. If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment. It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.
What you need to do
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 an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. Report Phishing 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
Sainsburys Nector Point Scam
Please check your nectar points are still to the value that you expect.
A Nectar card in Melksham had been cloned remotely by someone in the Midlands.
It did not matter that the card was still in the victims purse and had never left their sight. The victim could prove they were in Melksham at the time. Fortunately a full refund of the points was possible in this case. Nectar was very good in dealing with this. Points can be removed at multiple different Sainsbury shops throughout one day by a scammer. The card is then updated overnight. £100 of nectar points will provide at least e.g. £600 if the scammer visits six shops. This would show as a minus on your card the next day, and you would know nothing about it until you came to cash your points.
Please check your points are still there on a regular basis and consider keeping your Nectar balance low.
Do you feel safe online? If you are aged over 60 or registered disabled (aged 18+) and are concerned about your online safety; you can request a visit from one of our trained Online Safety Volunteers. You can ring 101 or email: [email protected] (Bobby Van Trust).
Be on the alert for scam calls, already one lady has had someone ring her pretending to be from TalkTalk informing her that they have picked up some suspicious activity on the account and would she please put her computer on so that they can make sure she is safe. Luckily the lady was on the ball and told the caller that under no circumstances was she going to give them access to her computer.
In view of the recent hacking scandal, many scammers will now jump on the bandwagon so we must all be very wary, and spread the word.
Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau) have notified us of two scams currently doing the rounds: Lloyds Bank Fake letters and emails purporting to be from PayPal.
Fake Bank Letters
Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters.
The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.
The letter tells recipients that there have been some “unusual transactions” on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine.
When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth. Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.
The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.
The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.
If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card. To report a fraud and cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040 or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
Please be aware that there is another scam doing the rounds where
e-mails, supposedly from Paypal, are being sent out asking people to confirm their details. I have checked with Paypal and this is definitely a scam and please do not respond but forward the e-mail to Paypal for investigation.
17th August 2016
Online shopping websites are being utilised by fraudsters to advertise nonexistent drones of various specifications for competitive prices.
Drones are personal flying devices that often carry cameras and can be navigated remotely by smartphones or hand-held controllers. Fraudsters are capitalising on their recent popularity and advertising non-existent drones at a lower value than their recommended retail price to tempt buyers.
After victims agree to purchase the drone, the fraudsters request payment to be paid via bank transfer saying that it will quicken the delivery process. After transferring the money the buyers never receive the drone and the fraudster blocks the victim to prevent further conversation.
How to protect yourself:
Check the validity of the post.
Avoid paying by bank transfer and instead use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.
Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers may have made.
If the item is below market value consider whether this is an opportunity too good to be true.
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
12th August 2016
People selling their items on online platforms are falling victim to a new type of advance fee fraud. This involves a fraudster, posing as a buyer, sending an email to the seller (victim), agreeing to the full asking price of the item. They state that they are unable to collect the item themselves and will arrange for a courier to pick it up instead.
The fraudster then sends a fake payment confirmation email from a different email address, one which falsely purports to be from a payment platform. In the course of the email exchange, the seller/victim is requested to pay the courier fee. Once the payment is made the contact is broken, the item is not picked up and the money paid for the 'courier' is gone.
An example of the most recent emails received by the victim/seller, from the 'Buyer', read:
"I want you to consider this a deal as i am willing to pay your full asking price! i actually want to buy it for a family member who is urgently in need of it, i have checked through your posting and i'm fully satisfied with it. Unfortunately, i would not be able to come personally to view/collect, i work offshore as an instructor on a oil rig so i dont have time at all, but like i said i am 100% OK with the advert"
Be wary when buyers wish to purchase items at the full asking price without viewing them.
Check the validity of the payment receipt confirmation
Avoid paying an advanced fee if you are a seller; should you choose to use a courier, arrange your own.
Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller/buyer. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers/sellers have made.
If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.