Crime

Witness appeal after distraction burglary in Brookfield area

Kent Police is investigating a report of a distraction burglary in Ashford in which money was stolen from an elderly woman’s purse.

The offender called on the woman at her home in the Brookfield Road area on the evening of Monday 2 October 2017.

Detective Sergeant Carl Evans said: ‘The man claimed there was a problem with the water supply and asked the elderly occupant to go upstairs to check a radiator.

‘After he’d gone she realised money had been stolen from her purse.’

The man is described as white, clean-shaven, in his 50s and about 5ft 2in tall. He was wearing a dark coat, dark trousers and a black cap.
Stay vigilant

Detective Sergeant Evans urged people to be vigilant and to look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

He said: ‘Although unharmed, the victim was understandably shaken by this incident. But there are ways people can protect themselves.’

This includes:

  • Ensuring rear doors and windows are shut and locked when answering your front door
  • Considering fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door chains, door locks and intruder alarms
  • Always checking the ID of cold callers – a door chain or spy hole will help you do this without letting anyone into your home. Don’t be afraid to turn people away

Detective Sergeant Evans would like to hear from anyone who saw a man matching the above description or anyone acting suspiciously in the Brookfield Road area on Monday evening.

‘We would also like to hear from anyone with information about the offender,’ he said.

Please phone Kent Police on 01843 222289 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting reference number 02-1473.

Kent Police 03 October 2017
www.kent.police.uk/news/appeals-(witnesses-and-missing-people)/1017/witness-appeal-after-distraction-burglary-in-ashfo/

Copycat Websites

Copycat websites are those which offer services from government departments or local government, but are not the official site and charge an often substantial premium for those services, often with no tangible benefit to the customer. They achieve this by using website tools to achieve high positions in search engines such as Google, often ranking them higher than the official site and making it appear as though they are ‘official’ or ‘authorised’. They also have website addresses designed to confuse with the official site, and often feature a similar look and feel and brand design.

Google does not allow promotion of firms which charge fees for services that are free from an official site, yet the copycat sites persist. They are meant to prominently display that the service they are offering is available free of charge or for a lower fee, but this often displayed in small type at the bottom of the page, or not at all. At least one government agency has taken action with the Advertising Standards Authority against sites which have copied their official logo and branding.

Get started…

Always be sure that you are using the official website, as copycat sites can occupy many of the top listings on your search engine page and end up costing you unnecessary money.

The Risks

  • Being misled into paying excessive prices for official services which can be purchased on the government department or local government site at the correct price. These services include:
    • Passports.
    • Birth and death certificates.
    • Fishing licences.
    • Driving licences.
    • Driving tests.
    • Congestion Charge.
    • European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC).
  • Being told that using copycat sites make a particular process or application faster or easier, when in fact you could do it yourself equally quickly and easily.

Searching and Buying Official Services Safely

  • Do not automatically opt to use the first website(s) you find in a search engine, even if the address seems authentic and you are in a hurry.
  • Instead, take time to look for the official website. You can normally tell that site is official if it ends in ‘.gov.uk’, it has the department, agency or council’s authentic logo and contact details and the prices are cheaper.
  • If you do opt to use an unofficial site to purchase official services, make sure that the payment page is secure by checking that the address begins with ‘https://’ (the ‘s’ is short for ‘secure’) and there is a locked padlock in the browser window.

If you think you have been misled into overpaying by using an unofficial site:

  • Contact the site to insist on a refund, saying you think you were misled.
  • Contact the relevant government department or agency or local government organisation and report the copycat site.

#scamaware

Get Safe Online
https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/copycat-websites/

Talk about scams

Anyone can be scammed. Scammers are intelligent, charming and persuasive – but feeling embarrassed or ashamed about falling for a scam can stop people from reporting them or getting the help they need.

Read Michael’s story to see how it could happen to anyone.

Play your part and share your experience on social media with #scamaware and help stop scams.

“I saw my dream car being advertised on Facebook. I had many conversations with the seller and it all seemed above board. All I needed to do was pay a deposit of £3,850 and when the car was delivered I would pay the balance.

“The next day I waited for my car and it didn’t arrive. I tried calling the seller but he never responded.

“I went to my bank and they said their fraud team would investigate. A few weeks later they got in touch, said they had retrieved my money and would be transferring it back to me.

“I will say that if you see something that seems too good to be true, then it probably is and if I am ever asked to do a bank transfer again I’ll decline as your money is not protected.”

Michael

Citizens Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Is someone you know being scammed?

Older people and those who are isolated in their community are often targeted by scammers. If you know or visit someone who might be a target you can support them by keeping an eye out for potential signs of scams.

Someone you know might be being targeted if they:

  • have letters piling up – usually from abroad or what looks like junk mail
  • have a lot of items delivered, such as health or beauty products or fake jewellery
  • are anxious when the phone rings, or get a lot of phone calls
  • become secretive when discussing finances or have unexplained expenses to ‘friends’

Citizens Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Why you should report scams

Reporting is really important in the fight against scams and fraud. It might help you to recover your losses and it helps the authorities to learn more about the tactics used by scammers.

The more we know about scams the better we can tackle them.

If you suspect a scam report it to Action Fraud – you can use their online reporting tool: www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

If you’ve lost money in a scam, tell your bank, finance company or pension provider.

For more advice call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

#scamaware

Citizen’s Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/

How to spot a scam

Scams are often hard to spot as they’re complex and use psychological tricks. You can keep yourself and others safe by knowing when it might be a scam.
If you’re not sure if something is a scam, get advice.

Talk to friends and family if something seems too good to be true, or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

It could be a scam if you:

  • Get a call, text or email out of the blue – genuine companies and banks won’t ask for your full personal or security details
  • Are rushed to make a decision or give someone your details – if it’s real, you shouldn’t have to make a decision straight away
  • See a deal that’s very cheap or too good to be true
  • Are asked to pay for something up-front, like collecting a loan, or starting a job
  • Are asked to send money or your bank details to someone you’ve never met, especially friends online
  • Get a text or email saying that your bank needs to contact you ‘urgently’ especially if there’s a link to a website or a premium rate number

Find out more about common scams:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/scams/common-scams/

#scamaware

Citizens Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/