CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN – See:  https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Following on from the Prime Minister’s address on May 10th, I hope that some of you can now get back to enjoying a semblance of ‘normal’ work.  These last weeks have been particularly trying for everyone, especially those with children at home, working from home, or not even in your own home.  Sadly, there is no clear path to normality despite a ‘roadmap’.

I hope that you all managed to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day safely, enjoying the company of neighbours but ensuring that social distancing was observed.

Suspicious e-mails

For some time now, we have all been encouraged to report suspicious e-mails (phishing) to Action Fraud, but many have felt that very little happens apart from a fairly bland message of receipt.

It would appear that HM Government is finally taking the problem of ‘phishing’ more seriously, and a special body has been set up to handle reports.  The service which is operated by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, is known as the ‘Suspicious E-mail Reporting Service’ (SERS), and their address is: report@phishing.gov.uk  So from now on, we are requested to forward a copy of any suspicious/phishing e-mail to this address.  It will be interesting to see what impact this new organisation has on the problem!

Fake News

Since the arrival of Coronavirus (the virus) leading to Covid-19 (the illness) there has been a significant increase in the proliferation of ‘fake’ information relating to the virus itself, its origin and how best to treat it, infection rates, the consequences of ‘lockdown’, etc.  Much of this mis-information is generated in countries outside the UK.

Sadly, social media in its many forms acts as a ‘carrier’ for this mis-information, as recipients of the initial fake information are persuaded to ‘pass it on to all your family and friends’, which they rather blindly do in the belief that ‘it might just be true’.  This is totally the wrong approach to take.  Before forwarding ANY information which you receive, you have a responsibility to CHECK the veracity of that information.  This can be done using the search facilities provided by the Internet, for example ‘Google’ and two particular sites – Snopes (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check) and Scambusters (https://scambusters.org/) are often useful starting points for ‘fact checking’, although the latter site is US-based.  Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet though!!

The whole issue of ‘fake news’ is being treated very seriously by OFCOM, and by many of the internet-based media companies such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

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Stay alert, stop the virus, save lives.

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For further information about this topic or about Neighbourhood Watch in general, contact:

David Gresswell – Scheme Co-ordinator, Flackwell Heath

(Tel: 01628 525019   e-mail: flackwell-nhwatch@talktalk.net)

Police General & Non-emergency number: 101

Wycombe District Neighbourhood Watch Assoc:  https://neighbourhoodwatchwycombe.org/

Community Safety Team (Anti-social behaviour): 01494 421 087

Crimestoppers (Anonymous): 0800 555 111

NEW: Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline: 03454 040 506 (Prev: Trading Standards)

Cyberaware – https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

        Get Safe Online https://www.getsafeonline.org/

National Crime Agency (NCA) – https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news

SERS – report@phishing.gov.uk  NEW

The Information Commissioner’s Office: 0303 123 111