General Thames Valley Alert Information

We have been advised by the police, that due to manning and other constraints, they are no longer able to support the Thames Valley Alert telephone messaging service.  This is a bit of a shame, because there are a number of Neighbourhood Watch members and residents who do NOT have access to the Internet/E-mail, and who depend on telephone messaging to receive information from the police and Neighbourhood Watch.  Whilst they will continue to receive specific Neighbourhood Watch messages, general crime information will no longer be provided.  The only real alternative for these individuals is to ensure that if they are in a NHWatch scheme, their co-ordinator is aware of the situation and provides printout of relevant TVAlerts received by e-mail.  Residents who are not in a NHWatch scheme and who do not use e-mail will be rather left out in the cold, unless they have a friendly neighbour who can help out with TVAlert messages.

A Potential Financial Scam Case History

A resident was dealing with an established service provider with whom he had regular contact by phone and e-mail, and when a particular job had been completed, the supplier sent him an e-mail confirming details of the job and the cost incurred.  The resident would usually settle any bills by bank transfer over the Internet.  So far, so good.

However, just a few minutes after the initial e-mail had been received, came a second e-mail – apparently from the same e-mail address – asking the resident to transfer payment into the supplier’s ‘sub-account’ because there was a problem with the suppliers main account which was being looked into. 

Fortunately, there were enough clues in the second e-mail – lack of a personal greeting, poor spelling and grammar, various text errors – to make the resident suspicious, and he immediately phoned the supplier and asked how many e-mails he had just sent to the resident.  ‘Just the one’ came the reply!

Sadly, this type of scam is not uncommon, and can take several forms, so when making financial transactions online, the best thing to do is follow the advice from Financial Fraud Action UK  (https://www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/ ):

  • Be on the lookout for unexpected invoices or unusual payment requests.
  • Avoid enabling any macros on an untrusted document – in lay terms, don’t open or download any document that you think may be dodgy!
  • If you’re suspicious – don’t reply to the email but instead call your supplier on the number that you have on file to check the authenticity of the invoice.

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For further information about any of these topics or about Neighbourhood Watch, contact:

David Gresswell – Scheme Co-ordinator, Flackwell Heath

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

Police General & Non-emergency number: 101

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

Crimestoppers (Anonymous): 0800 555 111

Trading Standards (Consumer Direct): 0345 4 04 05 06

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

ACTION FRAUD: 0300 123 2040 – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us

The Information Commissioner’s Office: 0303 123 1113

NHS: 111