Crime

Vehicle Online Shopping Fraud

Action FraudFraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various selling platforms online. The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which purports to be from an established escrow provider (a third party who will keep the payment until the buying and selling parties are both happy with the deal).

These emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront, via bank transfer, before visiting the seller to collect the goods. The emails also claim that the buyer (victim) has a cooling off period to reclaim the payment if they change their mind. This gives victims the false sense of security that their money is being looked after by this trustworthy third party, when in fact it is not and the money has gone straight to the fraudster.

Protect yourself:

  • When making a large purchase such as a new car or machinery, always meet the seller face to face first and ask to see the goods before transferring any money.
  • If you receive a suspicious email asking for payment, check for spelling, grammar, or any other errors, and check who sent the email. If in doubt, check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller.
  • Contact the third party the fraudsters are purporting to be using to make the transaction. They should be able to confirm whether the email you have received is legitimate or not.
  • False adverts often offer vehicles or machinery for sale well below market value to entice potential victims; always be cautious. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

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

Action Fraud 12 June 2017
www.actionfraudalert.co.uk/da/182306/Vehicle%20Online%20Shopping%20Fraud.html

Make sure donations go to genuine charities

Generous public should make sure donations go to genuine charities supporting the victims in Manchester

Charity Commission and partners issue advice on safer giving

The Charity Commission, together with organisations helping the victims, have issued advice on safer giving in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester. The action follows steps taken by the Virgin Giving website after the Westminster attack, to suspend payment to site users until they had verified that the money would go to those for who it was collected.

The Charity Commission is encouraging people wishing to support the victims of this week’s terrorist attack in Manchester to donate to a genuine charitable appeal.

It says that the great British public are always generous in their support for charities and this has already been reflected via the many giving sites set up to support the victims and families of the appalling attacks in Manchester.

The Charity Commission, Greater Manchester Police, the British Red Cross, and the Lord Mayor of Manchester are urging people wishing to help to give to the We love Manchester appeal, launched by the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charitable Appeal Trust or to other registered charities. (more…)

Warm weather fire risks

Enjoy the warmer weather but be aware of fire risks

If you are out and about enjoying the warmer weather over the Bank Holiday weekend, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) asks that you keep safety in mind.

Whether you are going camping, having a barbecue with friends and family or just out and about enjoying the great outdoors, please be mindful of how quickly a fire can start.

Smouldering cigarette butts thrown from car windows or dropped onto grass verges are a common cause of grass and heath fires. The sun’s rays magnified through broken glass or even the heat from a vehicle parked in the long grass of a make-shift field car park can spark a blaze.

Nearly 40 per cent of all the fires KFRS attended were outdoor fires including woodland, grassland, crops, etc. Sixty per cent of these (around 1000 fires) were believed to have been started deliberately and 45 per cent of these by youths (10-17 year olds).

KFRS Area Manager, Mark Rist explains: “Every year, outdoor fires destroy acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Whether started accidentally or deliberately these types of fires spread much quicker than expected, particularly when vegetation is dry. They cause a great deal of damage and also tie up valuable firefighting resources which could be saving lives elsewhere.

“A number of outdoor fires are started deliberately, often by children and young people who think its harmless fun but what may have been intended to be just a small fire, can quickly spread out of control. Starting fires on purpose is dangerous and a waste of time and money. With half term approaching, we’re asking parents to talk to their children to make sure they understand they could be putting lives at risk, including their own.”

  • Tell-tale signs that your child could be starting fires include:
  • Do their clothes smell of smoke?
  • Are they using or carrying matches and lighters for no particular reason?

If you are concerned in anyway contact the KFRS’ Firesetters team on 01622 692121 or email firesetters@kent.fire-uk.org for advice on how to deal with the problem.

Mark ended: “We would like local people to help us by reporting suspicious behaviour to CRIMESTOPPERS anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the Police on 101. If you spot a fire, please help us by reporting it immediately, rather than presuming someone else has already made the call. Give as much information as you can including location and nearby landmarks to help our crews respond quicker and to minimise the amount of damage that these devastating fires can cause.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 26 May 2017
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/may-2017/enjoy-the-warmer-weather-but-be-aware-of-fire-risks/

Scammers taking advantage of global WannaCry attack.

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.
Report fraud and cyber crime to http://actionfraud.police.uk

Action Fraud 23 May 2017

Tourists Targeted by Fake Police Officers

Action FraudThere has been a series of recent incidents reported to Action Fraud where a lone fraudster has approached victims whom they believe to be unfamiliar with the local area. They make an excuse to talk to the victims such as enquiring about directions or offering a recommendation for a good hotel.

After this interaction, several other fraudsters will intervene purporting to be police officers in plain clothes and will sometimes present false identification as proof. The fake officers will then give a reason to examine the victims’ wallet, purse or personal items. They may also examine the first fraudster’s items or try to tell victims that the first fraudster is suspicious in order to gain victim trust and appear more realistic in their guise.

After all the fake police ‘checks’ are finished, victims have then reported being handed back their personal items only to later realise that a quantity of money or valuables were missing.

How to protect yourself:

  • If an individual claims to be a police officer ask for their name and rank, force, and examine any identification presented; this is always good practice but especially important if they are not wearing a uniform.
  • The Police will never ask for your passwords or PIN details. Do not give this information to anyone.
  • The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them or to a ‘safe’ account.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

Action Fraud 04 May 2017
www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/da/178433/Tourists%20Targeted%20by%20Fake%20Police%20Officers.html

Crime Statistics February 2017

Statistics for crimes committed in the unparished area of South Ashford for January and February 2017 have been provided by www.police.uk/

Compare these statistics with previous months and years on our Crime Statistics page https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/local-information/safety-and-security/crime-statistics/

We did not publish data for January when first published due to errors that we identified in the data on police.uk.

 

Beware of Bogus Trading Standards Officer

Kent County Council Trading Standards are warning the public to be aware of a bogus ‘Trading Standards Officer’ who has recently called at a resident’s home in Kent.

The criminal claimed that he had received the resident’s money from a recent court case and in order to retrieve the money the resident must pay a release fee of £10,000.

Trading Standards Officers would never contact residents and ask them to hand over money, or transfer money into another person’s bank account.

If you receive a phone call or a visit from someone claiming to be from Trading Standards and asking for money, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or the Police on 101.

Report it

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Kent County Council 04 April 2017

Tackling domestic abuse

silhouette of figureAshford Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to continue to provide funding for invaluable domestic abuse work in the Ashford borough and to make permanent the post of Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator.

The domestic abuse annual report highlights an increasing demand on services as more victims are gaining the confidence to come forward and seek help.

It also praises the work of professionals across the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors in dealing with an increasing workload in spite of some reductions in resources.

The charity Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF) leads services across the borough and created the One Stop Shop; a weekly drop in centre where victims can receive advice and support.

Ashford has one of the busiest One Stop Shops in the county but can boast a high level of staff attendance and good reputation for partnership working, thanks in part to the appointment of a full time Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator. (more…)