Crime

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.

Victims have reported booking tickets via websites or a “popular” ticket broker, only to discover that after payment via bank transfer or electronic wire transfer, the tickets/booking references received are counterfeit. In some cases, all communications between the company or broker and the victim have been severed.

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who are seeking to travel to African nations and the Middle East, particularly those wishing to travel in time for popular public and religious holidays.

Prevention Advice:

  • Pay safe: Be cautious if you’re asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card.
  • Conduct research on any company you’re considering purchasing tickets from; for example, are there any negative reviews or forum posts by previous customers online? Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials.
  • Check any company website thoroughly; does it look professional? Are there any spelling mistakes or irregularities? There should be a valid landline phone number and a full postal address so that the company can be contacted. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.
  • Be aware that purchasing tickets from a third party, particularly when initial contact has been made via a social media platform can be incredibly risky.
  • If tickets to your intended destination appear cheaper than any other vendor, always consider this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Action Fraud  07 February 2018
https://www.actionfraudalert.co.uk/da/207388/Flight%20Ticket%20Fraud%20Alert.html

Phantom Debt Fraud Alert

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court, business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a non-existent debt.

The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also threatened with arrest. From the reports Action Fraud has received, this type of fraud is presently occurring throughout the UK.

It is important to recognise that there are key differences between the various entities who seek to settle debts or outstanding fees in England and Wales. These differences range from the type of debt they will enforce to the legal powers they possess. To learn more, please take a look at some of the helpful information and links on the Step Change Debt Charity website; https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection/bailiffs-and-debt-collectors-differences.aspx

Protect Yourself

  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling from; make a note of all details provided to you.
  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity. Ask to see their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and endorsed with a court seal.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters have suggested employees make payment suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent.
  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create fake online profiles to make you believe them.
  • Double check with the court, company or public body they claim to work for to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts.
  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears.

You can report suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfaud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Action Fraud 31 January 2018

ABC: Report it

Let's work together to make the borough a better placeAshford Borough Council has improved its online reporting system, making it easier for residents to report issues such as:

  • Flytipping
  • Littering
  • Dog fouling
  • Vandalism
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Planning enforcement

The new system replaces some online forms and allows residents to report incidents and then track their progress via a unique reference number.

www.ashford.gov.uk/report

Compensation for scam victims who used Western Union

For years, fraudsters have used Western Union as a way to receive money from scam victims. Following an investigation in America, Western Union agreed to refund victims who sent money to fraudsters between 1 January 2004 and 19 January 2017.  If you lost money to a scam during this time you may be entitled to receive a percentage of the amount you lost.

Types of scams covered by these refunds includes:

  • Lottery or prize draw
  • Discounted products or other financial rewards
  • Emergency scams – to help relatives and/or avoid imprisonment or arrest
  • Advance-fee loans
  • Online dating or romance scams
  • Employment opportunities

How to make a claim

  • To apply you must file a petition of remission to Western Union
  • Filing a petition is FREE
  • Apply online by filling in the Western Union remission form
  • Visit Western Union website to find out more
    http://www.westernunionremission.com/

To be considered you must file a petition on or before 12 February 2018 

FILL IN REMISSION FORM
https://kccsecure.com/westernunionremission/Claimant/UnKnownClaimForm

Contact details

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service

Kent County Council  22 January 2018
http://mailchi.mp/dd6ee5a1cb33/compensation-for-scam-victims-who-used-western-union

Top 10 Tips to Beat the Burglar this Christmas

home_security_1

The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories is the norm, unfortunately though it provides thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.

Christmas; A time for giving, receiving… and taking!
Please read these tips on ensuring your home is secure over Christmas and the New Year period.

  1. Deterring would-be criminals is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention.

    Invest in a motion sensor flood-light or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home’s exterior. This will hopefully make approaching your home too conspicuous for a burglar. Highlighting the fact your possessions are security marked and registered on Immobilise using window decals provides a further warning that your goods are marked, traceable and not worth the risk of stealing!

  2. Festive lighting – be secure.

    A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.

  3. Dispose of gift packaging carefully.

    Refuse collections over the Christmas / New Year period are normally at different times. If you can’t take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to fold boxes so that they do not advertise your new contents of your home to thieves!

  4. Protect your Identity.

    It is good practice never to dispose of receipts and personal paperwork without first shredding it. Christmas is a time when this is especially important! Be careful though not to shred any important warranty details, make sure documents you keep are stored somewhere secure.

  5. Check doors and windows for weak spots

    Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window hinges could increase the security of your home exponentially.

  6. Keep your curtains, drapes and window blinds closed at night,

    making sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.

  7. Away over Christmas – plan ahead.

    If you’re going away at Christmas be sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Do not to leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like “we’re away skiing for the Christmas holidays” etc and again make use of light timers.

  8. Secure garages & sheds.

    Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment – make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools. Naturally make sure anything portable / valuable is recorded on immobilise.

  9. Don’t hide keys & use alarms if you have them.

    Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbour. Many houses these days have alarms, many though are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home.

  10. Register your property for FREE on Immobilise


    at http://www.immobilise.com . This is a national property database that the Police can access and search if we recover suspected stolen property. We regularly search houses of suspected criminals, we check second hand dealers, and visit car boot sales and we have a device that can identify stolen property if the bar code is registered. Don’t let them get away with your gear. Get it logged. Get it back.Most mobile phones have a unique identifier such as a serial number or an IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) which can found easily by pressing the following keys on your mobile handset: * # 0 6 # . If your gift doesn’t have a unique identifier there are several affordable marking kits available (i.e. Smart Water / untra-violet pens). Contact your local PCSO for further advice.Hopefully your property will not be targeted by burglars but we do hope some of the advice provided helps to keep your home safe over the seasonal period and into the new year.

Lucas Fire & Security Ltd
http://www.lucasfireandsecurity.co.uk/news/christmas-home-security-10-tips-beat-burglar/

Are you scam savvy this year?

Stop the ScammersCriminals will be taking advantage this Christmas to send a record number of scams to catch us out.

Last Christmas over £16 million was lost to online scams in the UK. 

Types of scams to avoid this Christmas

  • E-Vouchers – criminals share free e-vouchers on social media or by email for well-known brands. Victims are told to click on a link to claim which takes them to a fake website where they are asked for personal and banking details.
  • Wish lists – can be useful to tell your friends and family about what gifts you would like this year however these lists can contain personal information which criminals use steal their identity and they can use the items to send phishing emails.
  • Social Media deals – messages on social media offering deals has increased in the last few years and while some of them may be genuine , criminals will be taking advantage often trying to tempt people with deals on electronics and jewellery.

READ about scams and how to deal with them
www.kent.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/consumer-protection/scams/types-of-scam

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more

What is a loan shark?

Call 0300 555 2222If your lender:

  • Offered you a cash loan,
  • Did not give you paperwork,
  • Added huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan,
  • Have threatened you,
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you,

or

  • You are you scared of people finding out

they may be a loan shark.

You are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender, the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.

Report a loan shark, call Stop Loan Sharks on 0300 555 2222 or complete the form on their website: www.stoploansharks.co.uk/

Stop Loan Sharks is the England Illegal Money Lending Team of National Trading Standards

Strategic priorities for Kent Police consultation

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

As Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott sets the strategic priorities for Kent Police.

Earlier this year he published Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan.The plan is kept under constant review and is regularly updated in line with what local communities want.

Mr Scott wants to know what matters most to you, so please take the time to fill out our short survey and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to fill one in as well. You do not need to provide your name or any contact details if you do not wish to.

A summary of responses will be published here when the Safer in Kent Plan is next updated.

Please remember that the Safer in Kent Plan only sets the strategic priorities for Kent Police – it cannot amend or change the way officers are deployed or the way operational decisions are made. These are matters for the Chief Constable to determine. The PCC’s job is to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the plan and its strategic objectives on your behalf.