Security

SORN your vehicle for Free

Because drivers are not using their vehicles during the Coronovirus restrictions, some have decided to register them as Off Road, to get Vehicle Tax and Motor Insurance refunds.

Think carefully before before submitting a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) but if you do decide to,
use the government website,
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn, through which it is FREE.

Do not pay to ‘SORN’ your vehicle.

Websites may encourage you to SORN your vehicle or even claim that it is a legal requirement to SORN it if it is not being drive. They then charge to submit the notice for you and collect your personal details.

It is FREE to do it on the government website

Check before you SORN your vehicle

You cannot register your vehicle Off Road if it is used or parked on a public road. To be registered Off Road it must be stored on a private drive, in a garage or on private land.

If you cancel your motor insurance you will not be covered for damage to or theft of it. We would only recommend cancelling your insurance if you are confident that it is fully secured.

Some insurers are giving refunds or extending motor insurance policies during the ‘lock down’

Tax and Insure your vehicle before driving it

If you do decide to register it Off Road during the ‘lock down’, do remember to Tax and Insure it before you drive it. You could be fined and you vehicle seized and destroyed if you drive without tax or insurance.

Daily Mail, This is Money
https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-8245243/Beware-SORN-sites-charging-40-car-road.html

Stay Cyber Aware

Cyber Aware is the UK government’s advice on how to stay secure online during coronavirus.

Many of us are spending more time online. Keep yourself and your family secure by following our NCSC advice.

Stay home — Stay connected — Stay Cyber Aware

6 TOP TIPS

Click each tip for more information on NCSC website

National Cyber Security Centre
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home

Council Tax 2020/21

The main precepting authorities for residents of the Borough have announced their proposed precepts for the year commencing 6 April 2020 as shown in the table below for a Band D property:

Authority19/20% Rise£ Rise20/21
KCC £1,299.42 3.99%£51.84 £1,351.26
ABC£162.503.08%£5.00£167.50
FRA£77.761.97%£1.53£79.29
PCC£193.155.18%£10.00£203.15
Total unparished £1,732.83 3.95%£68.37 £1,801.20

The total Council Tax for each property band is shown in the table below.

BandProportion Band D%
Band D
2019/202020/21Rise
pa
2019/20
pm
2020/21
pm
Rise
pm
A6/967% £1,155.22 £1,200.80 £45.58£115.52£120.08£4.56
B7/978% £1,347.76 £1,400.93 £53.18£134.78£140.09£5.32
C8/989% £1,540.29 £1,601.07 £60.77£154.03£160.11£6.08
D9/9100% £1,732.83 £1,801.20 £68.37£173.28£180.12£6.84
E11/9122% £2,117.90 £2,201.47 £83.56£211.79£220.15£8.36
F13/9144% £2,502.98 £2,601.73 £98.76£250.30£260.17£9.88
G15/9167% £2,888.05 £3,002.00 £113.95£288.81£300.20£11.40
H18/9200% £3,465.66 £3,602.40 £136.74£346.57£360.24£13.67

Some authorities have yet to vote on their budgets.

References:

Warning about Brexit scams

Stop the Scammers

With today being the United Kingdom’s final day as a member of the EC, Get Safe Online is warning about a number of scams which will undoubtedly be perpetrated in order take advantage of changes in the law and processes. In fact, some scams have already been reported, prior to Brexit taking place.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said “Whether you agree or disagree with Brexit, it’s finally here. We know from bitter experience that fraudsters will seize every opportunity to exploit major changes like this, taking advantage of people’s uncertainty and even confusion about what it means to them.

“Our experts have put together some expert tips around some of the scams we anticipate taking place in the days and months to come, some of which are already happening. I urge you to read them and, above all, always think twice about whether approaches you receive are genuine. Checking and double-checking can save untold losses, upset and inconvenience.”

EHIC scams

An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) gives you access to state-provided healthcare if you are visiting the EEA or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. It is provided free of charge on application via an official UK government website. For more information on the status of EHIC eligibility.

It is currently not clear whether the EHIC will apply to UK travellers, a fact which will undoubtedly cause uncertainty.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020 (gov.uk)

If you consider that there are already a number of copycat websites charging for EHICs, there will certainly be an increase in illegal activity enticing consumers to pay for EHICs, or alternatively offering an ‘alternative’.

To apply for an EHIC – visit the official government or NHS website.

Passport scams

With Brexit, we expect fraudsters to take advantage of passport changes. Typically, these will involve requests or demands from scammers claiming to be from either government websites in the UK or EU – or travel companies, checking the validity of your passport. As passports are one of the main ways with which you can prove your identity, giving these details to an unauthorised party will almost certainly involve identity theft or financial fraud, or both.

HMRC scams

emails, texts, social media messages and phone calls claiming to be from HMRC have been some of the most commonplace online scams for years. They take the form of notifications that the recipient is either owed a tax refund, faces some kind of penalty for unpaid tax or failure to submit a return, or that regulations or thresholds have changed. The emails, texts and posts include links, but clicking on them can result in being taken to a convincing but fake website which requests your confidential details, or your device being infected with malware. Clicking on email attachments can have the same consequences. We expect a large crop of new fake messages fitting this description, but modified to include changes brought about by Brexit.

Businesses are also being targeted with fake HMRC communications, particularly those who trade with the EU who have been falsely told that they need to register for a UK trader number, or similar warnings.

HMRC will never ask you for your payment or personal details by email, text or over the phone, so you should treat these approaches with extreme caution. If in doubt, call HMRC on a number you know to be correct, to check if the approaches are genuine or fake.

Bogus investments

Investment scams are as old as money itself, but they have been aided by technology and fraudsters are constantly finding new, more convincing ways to perpetrate them. Brexit provides the ideal opportunity.

For example, scammers are emailing, messaging or calling unsuspecting victims to convince them that making a new investment or modifying an existing one will help to either take advantage of new, post-Brexit laws, or reduce damage resulting from the changes.

A variant of this scam arises from the fact that much UK financial services regulation is drawn from EU directives, with the result that UK banks access to the European payments infrastructure may change, causing lengthier money transfers, payments or receipts in Euros.

Never provide confidential details such as logins or the name of your bank, pension scheme provider, to people or organisations who have contacted you at random. If in doubt, contact your genuine financial services providers or IFA on the number you know to be correct.

Business scams

In the workplace, fraud is often committed through impersonation scams, where businesses typically receive an email, phone call or letter claiming to be from a supplier or subscription service, notifying of a new payment details which are actually into a fraudster’s bank account. It is possible that some will now feature Brexit as an excuse, claiming that payment details have changed because of changed banking arrangements in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Get Safe Online 31st January 2020
https://getsafeonline.org/news/get-safe-online-warns-about-brexit-related-scams/

Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.

Doorstep Crime – Loft insulation

'Surveyor in hi-vis jacket

Kent County Council Public Protection have had reports of doorstep criminals targeting residents in the Ashford area for loft insulation work.

What happens

  • Residents are cold-called
  • The doorstep criminal claims to be from the Council
  • The resident is offered a ‘free’ survey for loft insulation
  • Once a price is mentioned by the criminal they then use pressure tactics including telling the resident their property value will decrease if they do not have the work done

What to do

  • NEVER agree to work from someone who knocks on your door uninvited
  • Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into having work done
  • If you ask them to leave and they don’t, contact the police on 999
  • Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade
  • Get a minimum of 3 quotes in writing

Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

If you loft needs insulation you may be eligible for funding check the Warm Homes scheme

(more…)

HM Revenue and Customs Alert

Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.

Action Fraud 7 January 2019

Security Guidance for Smart Devices

Consumer Guidance for Smart Devices in the Home

Smart or internet-connected devices, such as smart TVs, music speakers, connected toys or smart kitchen appliances can bring great benefits to your daily life. However, without taking steps to secure all of your internet-connected products, you and your data could be at risk from someone getting unauthorised access to your device or account. Developed by the UK government and industry experts, this guidance will help you manage the security of your devices and help protect your privacy.

Setting-up your device

  • Read and follow the set-up instructions for the device. These are often found in an app downloaded onto your smartphone, tablet or from a paper manual and guide that comes with the product.
  • Check device instructions to see if you need to create an account on the manufacturer’s website, or download any other recommended apps.
  • If you are prompted to enter a password during the set-up process that is easy to guess, (such as ‘admin’ or ‘00000’), you should change it. Guidance on creating a strong password can be found on the Cyber Aware website. www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/passwords/

Managing your account

  • To set-up and manage your device, you may need to create or use an existing account on the manufacturer’s website. This account may allow you to add a new device or link your smartphone to your devices. You should ensure that your account has a strong password.
  • For added security, if the device or app offers Two Factor Authentication which provides a second layer of security, (such as a text message to your phone) you should enable it. This is particularly important if the account contains your personal data or sensitive information or is linked to something that may impact your or another persons physical safety.
  • Some products allow you to access or control them when you are away from your home’s Wi-Fi network; such as, to view security camera footage. Consider whether you need to make use of this feature, as products may allow you to disable it either in the app settings or within your account.

Keep updating your software and apps

Much like your laptop and smartphone, software and app updates help keep your devices secure. You should:

  • Check whether you can set-up and enable automatic updates (on the app or on your online account).
  • Install the latest software and app updates. These updates should download and install automatically on your device. If not, then you should install them straight away so you have the latest security protections. You should be prompted when a new update is ready to install, usually via a pop-up message or in the settings menu in the app or device menu.

If you become aware of an incident and think it affects your device

#CyberAware
www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

Download this guidance

www.getsafeonline.org/themes/site_themes/getsafeonline/resources/Consumer_Guidance_for_Smart_Devices_in_the_Home.pdf

 

Beware of bogus SSAFA collectors

Please be aware that there are bogus collectors purporting to be from SSAFA, they are operating on a door to door basis in Kent.

  • SSAFA does not conduct door to door collections.
  • All SSAFA collections are conducted at organised events, never door to door.
  • All SSAFA volunteers carry photographic Identity Cards.

These bogus collectors are operating in the Dover and Folkstone area and there have been further reports of bogus caller activity from other areas of Kent.

In the event that these bogus operators call on you, this is the action you should take.

  • Politely decline to contribute whatever is requested.
  • If you feel afraid or threatened by a doorstep caller, phone 999. For non-urgent calls, phone Kent Police 101.
  • If someone knocks on your door claiming to work for SSAFA, report it to SSAFA directly on 01622 792363.

NEVER agree to work being done by or paying cash to someone you have just met on your doorstep.

Report it

If you have you fallen victim to a doorstep criminal? Report it to KCC.

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

Give safely to SSAFA

You can give to SSAFA

  • online at https://www.ssafa.org.uk/give
  • by telephone: 020 7463 9225
  • by post: send a cheque made payable to SSAFA toSSAFA
    The Armed Forces Charity
    4 Dunstan’s Hill
    London EC3R 8AD

SSAFA  16 July 2018

Beware of internet banking scams

Kent County Council (KCC) have received reports of fraudsters tricking people into giving them access to their internet banking.

The criminals pose as employees from broadband providers and claim that someone has hacked into their account, the user is then tricked into giving access to their computer and told to log into their internet banking.

So far, Police have identified 45 victims with a combined loss of £128,000.

A current trend is for victims to be sent an automated message stating that their router has been compromised. Please do not respond to this message but instead contact your broadband provider directly for advice.

Never allow a caller access to your computer. An internet provider will never ask for your bank details.

NEWSFLASH: Ashford man loses £21,000 to internet banking scam.
www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/man-conned-out-of-21k-in-cyber-scam-186590/

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe from scams, visit the KCC Public Protection website.
www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/care-and-support/staying-safe/scams/types-of-scam

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.

Online: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

Kent County Council 20 July 2018
https://mailchi.mp/b5521017efa9/beware-of-internet-banking-scams?e=5d620a3416
(KCC distribute Consumer Alerts via Mailchimp)