Security

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)

Fraud Alert for TSB Customers

Action Fraud have issued two fraud alerts regarding customers of TSB.

The first warns of an increased risk of phishing attacks following the problems recently experienced by TSB.

The second warns of an increase in the number of “port out” fraud cases reported by TSB customers. Fraudsters are number porting a victim’s telephone number to a SIM card under their control and then using the number to access the victim’s bank accounts.

Protect Yourself

Whilst the advice given by Action Fraud is particularly relevant to TSB customers at this time, it should be followed by everybody:

  • Don’t assume an email or text is authentic:

    Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).

  • 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 text or email. Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.

  • If you have received a suspicious TSB email,

    please do not respond to it, report it to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing and also forward it to emailscams@tsb.co.uk

  • PAC Code notifications

    If you receive an unsolicited notification about a PAC Code request, contact your network provider immediately to terminate the request. Also notify your bank about your phone number being compromised.

  • Requests 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.

  • Every Report Matters.

    If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

  • Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware

    for more information about how to protect yourself online.
    https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
    https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

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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

Magazine Debt Fraud Alert

Fraudsters are cold calling victims nationwide and tricking them into paying a debt for magazine advertisement subscriptions that do not exist.

How does this fraud work?

Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt.

Over the phone the fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.

The fraudsters use a variety of magazine names and publishers and are using the names such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies.

Bank transfer

Fraudsters then request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed.

Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.

This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted.

How to protect yourself:

Listen to your instincts: just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
Stay in control: always question cold callers. Always contact the companies directly using a known email or phone number.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: A legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to us.

Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Action Fraud  5th April 2018
www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/fraudsters-claiming-to-be-bailiffs-tricking-people-into-paying-fake-debts-apr18

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

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

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/