Well, I hope that you all had an enjoyable summer, despite the vagaries of the weather either here in the UK or in far flung places. We had ‘hottest’, ‘coldest’, ‘wettest’ reports from home and abroad, and our climate does seem to be in a bit of turmoil. Wherever you went, I hope that you returned home to find things as you left them, even if your lawn looked more like a meadow. If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, your property will have been more secure.
Crime in general
Although it is difficult to find comparative ‘Crime Stats’ for our village – month on month or year on year – the general picture suggests that ‘traditional’ crime continues to be at a relatively low level, despite the occasional assault on the ATM….! The vast bulk of crime these days can be attributed to ‘Cons & Scams’, and fraud in general. There is also some evidence of an increase in identity theft, with online activity replacing the more traditional form of waste-paper trawling. However, this doesn’t mean that you should drop your guard when disposing of paperwork that carries personal information that could be used to ‘clone’ your identity. If in doubt, shred it or burn it.
Scam and Phishing e-mails
If you are a user of the Internet, as many of us are, you will be aware of the potential risks that we all face from scam e-mails. They all look pretty genuine at first glance, but in the majority of cases, the sending e-mail address has been ‘spoofed’ to look like your Bank, Credit Card provider, phone company, etc. On a desktop PC, by simply ‘hovering’ your mouse pointer over the address will reveal the true address of the sender. It will look VERY different to what you expect. I’m not sure how this is done on many of the ‘touch screen’ devices that now abound. On my ‘smart phone’, there is an option as part of the e-mail display, to ‘View details’, which shows the precise address a message is coming from. I had one phishing e-mail entitled ‘Important message from Nationwide’ claiming that my online access ‘has been limited due to some security issues’. I was invited to ‘Log in’ and follow the instructions on the screen! By tapping ‘View details’, the senders address was revealed as appearing to originate from a golf club in Kent. Needless to say, I declined their invitation!
Landline and mobile Phone Calls (Vishing) and Text (SMS) Messages (Smishing)
Sadly, even if you do not have a computer, smart phone, tablet, etc. as is the case for many of our older more vulnerable residents, you are not excluded from the cybercrime arena. We continually hear of residents receiving unwanted phone calls, frequently relating to computer issues, motor accident claim recovery ‘companies’, PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) claims, etc., etc.. It is quite possible that there will be an increase in PPI-related calls, as a deadline of 29th August 2019 has now been set by the Financial Conduct Authority for the registration of genuine claims. There was a Thames Valley Alert issued on September 1st. on this very topic. If you have elderly relatives and friends, try and make them aware of the potential risks associated with responding to such calls. There is a simple rule – ‘If you are not absolutely certain that the caller is genuine, either offer to call them back on a number you know is correct once you have checked their veracity, or simply put the phone down.’
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Summertime Ends on 29th October – clocks go BACK 1 hour.
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For further information on these topics or about Neighbourhood Watch, contact:
David Gresswell – Area Co-ordinator, Flackwell Heath
(Tel: 525019 e-mail: email@example.com)
Police General & Non-emergency number: 101
Community Safety Team (Anti-social behaviour): 01494 421 087 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Crimestoppers (Anonymous): 0800 555 111
Trading Standards (Consumer Direct): 0345 4 04 05 06 (NEW Prefix)
Cyberaware – http://cyberaware.gov.uk
ACTION FRAUD: 0300 123 2040 (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/)
The Information Commissioner’s Office: 0303 123 1113