Finance

FIFA 2018 World Cup Alert

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June – 15th July 2018. The worldwide demand for match tickets, flight tickets, and somewhere to stay throughout the competition is expected to be significant. Those planning to travel should exercise caution when considering the purchase of tickets or accommodation because the event is highly likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.

Fraudsters will likely be posing as:

  • Official World Cup ticket vendors or private individuals attempting to sell on a match ticket via online marketplace.
  • A fraudulent website or operator offering non-existent flights or other transport to host cities.
  • An accommodation booking service, hotel or operator, offering seemingly convenient accommodation in one of the host cities for the duration of the game.
  • Lottery or competition organisers claiming that you’ve won a prize or cash related to the tournament.

Action Fraud received over six hundred reports and intelligence submissions in relation to the previous World Cup so it’s vital that football fans exercise caution when considering a purchase or making a transaction.

Protect yourself:

  • Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Fraudsters will use the promise of steep discounts to lure you into handing over your money or revealing personal/financial details.
  • Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details, and never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  • Visit the Action Fraud website and take a look at their Ticket Fraud, Holiday Fraud and Lottery Fraud advice pages before making any decisions or bookings.
  • For useful advice and information on the World Cup please visit the Government Guidance Pages: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/be-on-the-ball-world-cup-2018

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Action Fraud  18 April 2018
www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/action-fraud-warns-football-fans-ahead-of-2018-world-cup-Apr18

Doorstep criminal alerts

Kent County Council have issued two alerts of fraudulent activity:

Bogus Police and Trading Standards Officers

Kent Trading Standards and Kent Police have received reports of criminals contacting residents by phone or in person claiming to be a Police or Trading Standards Officer. They will often refer to some previous poor work that might have been carried out and falsely claim the people involved have been arrested or are already in court.They insist the resident pays money which will be reimbursed after the court hearing.

The Police, Trading Standards, or the Court, would never ask for money – under any circumstances.

This type of fraudulent activity is on the rise so please report calls or visits to Kent Police. Residents that have previously been victims of doorstep crime are particularly at risk so please warn neighbours, friends and/or relatives if you think they may be targeted.

Report to Kent Police on 101 or at your local Police station.

Report it to Kent Police online
www.kent.police.uk/services/report-online/kent-police-online-reporting/

Criminals taking advantage of the bad weather

Doorstep criminals will take advantage of the current bad weather. Anyone calling at your home offering to do work on your roof, guttering, driveway, or inside your property, should be treated with caution.

Accepting work from a doorstep criminal can result in paying much more than you intended for very poor, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work.

If you require work done to your home get at least three quotes and never give a doorstep caller cash.

For a list of Kent County Council approved traders

Please look out for neighbours and report any suspicious doorstep criminals to us.

Report it

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or

phone 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Kent County Council Public Protection  01 March 2018

KMFRA announces Council Tax increase

The Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA) met on 13 February and agreed the Council Tax for the Authority for 2018/19.

The agreed that the KMFRA element of Council Tax should be increased by 2.95% which is an annual increase 4p a week (£2.16 a year) for a household in a Band D property. This is higher than that originally announced and follows the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government’s announcement of an increase in the amount by which authorities could increase their precept without a referendum.

We show the total Council Tax for a Band D property in the unparished areas of Ashford.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Authority 17/18 % Rise £ Rise 18/19
Kent County Council 1,178.82 4.99% 58.82 1237.64
Ashford Borough Council 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority 73.35 2.95% 2.16 75.51
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.89% 76.48 1639.80

 

Open consultation: Regulations for a safeguard energy tariff

Data sharing regulations for a safeguard energy tariff

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS)

Opens 12 February 2018
Closes 26 February 2018

Consultation description

DBEIS looking for views on adding a safeguard energy tariff imposed by Ofgem (the regulator) for vulnerable consumers on standard variable and fixed-term default tariffs to the list of fuel poverty measures for which public authorities can share data with gas and electricity suppliers for the purpose of assisting households in fuel poverty.

Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 gives government powers to share personal information across organisational boundaries to improve public services. It says what data can be shared and for which purposes, and includes safeguards to ensure that the privacy of citizens’ data is protected. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/30/contents/enacted

Part 5 allows data sharing between specified public authorities and energy suppliers for the purpose of alleviating fuel poverty. The data sharing must be for use under one of the fuel poverty measures listed in section 36(3) of the Act. The list currently includes measures such as the Warm Home Discount and the Energy Company Obligation scheme.

Other fuel poverty measures, such as Ofgem’s proposed safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers at risk of fuel poverty, are not currently covered by list, so this consultation is about adding it to the list.

Documents

Data sharing regulations for a safeguard energy tariff PDF796KB14 pages
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/680665/Data_sharing_regulations_for_a_safeguard_energy_tariff.pdf

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/data-sharing-regulations-for-a-safeguard-energy-tariff#attachment-2539405-accessibility-request

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

Stop and think

  1. Take Five to stop fraudRequests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
  2. Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  3. Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.

#TakeFiveWeek

Lower bus subsidy saving comes with 1% extra council tax.

Kent County Council (KCC) have announced that the saving proposed on bus subsidy will be reduced from £ 2.25 million to £ 0.45 million, however it has also been announced that KCC propose an extra 1% rise in the precept giving a total rise of 4.99% or 58.82 for a Band D property.

Since KCC published its budget proposals in October 2017:

  • the government has accepted the Kent and Medway bid to become a Business Rate Retention pilot scheme in 2018/19.
  • the provisional local government settlement for 2018/19 announced by the Secretary of State in the House of Commons included an increase in the amount authorities can raise in council tax by 1% without a referendum

Kent County Council 15 January 2018
https://kccmediahub.net/kcc-continues-protect-frontline-services745

The change brings the total rise in the Council Tax for a Band D property to £ 75.78 giving a total Council Tax of £ 1639.10.

Kent and Medway Fire Authority’s budget was also announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4.99% 58.82 1237.64
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2.00% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.85% 75.78 1639.10

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/

Council Tax 2018/19

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is the last of the precepting authorities in Kent to announce their budget proposals for 2018/19.

We show the combined impact of proposed rises from Kent County Council, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, Ashford Borough Council and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Kent County Council and Kent and Medway Fire Authority budgets were announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4% 47.16 1225.97
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.10% 64.12 1627.43

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/