Keeping the neighbourhood safe

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The whitchurch neighbourhood watch

In these troubled times it’s more important than ever to look out for our neighbours, particularly if they are elderly or alone and self isolating.

Be on the lookout for unusual activity, suspicious phone calls and scams. It’s a time when many of us may be feeling anxious, isolated and vulnerable, so let’s all pull together to support one another.

Whitchurch has a successful and active Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Contact Neil Smith if you want to report something, Email: Neil.h.smith@hotmail.co.uk  or tel: 01296 640927

POLICE

Our local neighbourhood police station is at Winslow. Contact the station via email: WinslowandDistrictNHPT@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

If in doubt, please call the Police on 999 for an emergency, or 101 to report anything else.

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Advice from TVP Aylesbury: 27/7/20

KEYLESS CAR THEFTS IN AYLESBURY VALE:

ADVICE:

Store your car keys in a metal tin or a signal blocking pouch (aka Faraday Bag).

Turn off your keyless fob’s wireless signal if possible – check your car’s manual.

Park defensively if possible (eg. Block your ‘keyless’ car in with another vehicle that isn’t).

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Here is your local Neighbourhood Watch bulletin, for September 2020

Reported crimes and incidents 15th July to 16th August

I received a report from a couple in the village who had a credit card payment taken from their bank account by a Swedish company.  It appears that their credit card may have been cloned.   Thankfully the bank has reimbursed them.   If such a thing happens to you, please report it to your bank, the police and Action Fraud.   You can report it online at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime or ring 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday, 8am – 8 pm.  

Scam Alert

We received a report in August from a resident who said he was phoned by a lady saying “we are in the area and will be calling round to discuss security measures”.   The resident asked her which company she was from and the caller immediately rang off.    If you receive such a call, please report it to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing or ring them (see number above).  

Action Fraud is also warning the public about phishing emails sent out by criminals claiming to be from PayPal.   The emails state the recipient’s account has been “limited” as a result of a policy violation.

The emails then ask for customers to update their account, or check the security of their account by clicking a link in the email. These links lead to genuine-looking websites that are actually phishing sites designed to steal PayPal login details, as well as personal and financial information.

A genuine PayPal email will only ever address you by your full name – anything that starts differently should immediately raise your suspicions.   Look out for spelling mistakes, which are a common tell-tale sign of a fraudulent message.  If you have any concerns regarding a PayPal email you have received, you should send it to spoof@paypal.com

What to look out for and what you should do if you receive a phishing message

Official organisations, such as your bank, won’t ask for personal or financial information by text or email. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, you can report it by forwarding the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service at report@phishing.gov.uk

Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.

Confirm messages are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly. 

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops. Update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry.

Keep an eye out – keep burglars out!

Safety in Neighbours is a new campaign by Neighbourhood Watch in partnership with the Home Office to keep people safe and prevent burglaries.

Life’s safer when you know your neighbours. With more people looking out for unusual behaviour on your street, burglaries can be prevented.

As we start to come out of lockdown, more of us are leaving our homes unoccupied once again and opportunists are ready to take advantage of this. As with all types of crime, prevention is much better than cure.  Taking simple measures such as locking windows, leaving indoor lights on a timer, double locking your doors and leaving any exterior lights on a sensor setting can greatly reduce your chances of being burgled.   If it looks like there is someone inside, the potential burglar is likely to go elsewhere.

If you’re going away, remember that sharing your holiday plans on social media posts can also tip off burglars that your home is going to be empty, so make sure your security settings only let people you know see your posts.   Cancel milk and papers, ask a trusty friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home, recover your wheelie bin after collection and move post away from your letter or post box.  Maybe a neighbour or friend could park their car on your drive while you’re away.   Be a good neighbour and do the same for them.  

For a comprehensive security checklist, visit:  https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/2020-07/A5%20Burglary%20Leaflet%20v5_1.pdf

Drone Code


There was a report of a drone flying directly over the village (which is illegal) early in August.   A reminder of the ‘drone code’ can be found at: https://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Drone-Code_October2019.pdf

Prefer to read your news online?

You can find Neighbourhood Watch monthly updates and Whitchurch News in full on the village’s fab website at: https://www.whitchurch.org/


Wishing you a safe, healthy and crime-free August.                      Andrea Scagell                                                           

 

Here is your local Neighbourhood Watch bulletin, for August 2020:

Reported crimes and incidents 15th June to 14th July

I’ve received no reports of crimes or anti-social behaviour in the village during this period.

Scam Alert

The latest scams to look out for include:

  • Covid-19 phishing quizzes on social media that trick people into answering questions that give their personal information to fraudsters.

  • Home working scams where fraudsters may impersonate payroll departments and internet providers.

  • Bereavement scams when fraudsters contact people claiming money has been left by a deceased relative and asking for bank details.

  • Council Tax refund schemes where criminals send texts or emails impersonating local authorities and government bodies.   Fraudsters promise a refund, but steal bank account details and money.

  • Criminals are taking advantage of the growing demand for ‘staycations’ in the UK this summer by advertising fake listings for caravans and motorhomes on auction sites and citing lockdown restrictions as the reason vehicles can’t be viewed in person.  These vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to tempt people into believing they’re getting a good deal, when in reality they simply don’t exist or don’t arrive once paid for.

  • Scams purporting to be from Paypal, Sky, HMRC, Netflix, TV Licensing & Amazon.

How you can help protect yourself from scams

Look out for scam messages   Your bank or other official organisations won’t ask you to share personal information via email or text.    If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): report@phishing.gov.uk

Shopping online   If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first – for example by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was.  If you go ahead, use a credit card if possible when making purchases over £100 as you’ll receive free protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering technical support   Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer as a result of a cold call.  Remember, legitimate organisations will never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

For more advice visit: https://www.getsafeonline.org/


Update on electronic scooters

In July the government approved trials of electric scooters on our roads, enabling scooter rental companies to start offering their services across the country.

Only selected rental e-scooters are expected to be allowed in trials and privately owned e-scooters will remain illegal to use on the road, cycle lanes, tracks and pavements.

Wishing you a safe, healthy and crime-free August.                      Andrea Scagell                                                           

Past Neighbourhood Watch bulletin, for July 2020:

Reported crimes and incidents 15th May to 14th June

I’ve received no reports of crimes or anti-social behaviour in the village during this period.

Scam Alert

In May Whitchurch Surgery posted reports of a possible scam, with some women being contacted by text message claiming to be from the Call and Recall Service, to advise they are overdue for screening. The message asks them to call a mobile number and provide personal details.  These messages are not from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.   Should you receive such an approach or are concerned that you have already received one, please tell the practice so that the NHS Fraud team can be informed.    

Over £5 million has been reported lost by victims of coronavirus-related scams!   With the NHS Test and Trace service now up and running, how will we know the difference between a genuine contact tracer and a potential scammer? 

Contact tracers will:

·         call you from 0300 013 5000

·         send you text messages from ‘NHS’

·         ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating

·         ask if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms

·         provide advice on what you must do as you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

Contact tracers will never:

·         ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (e.g. those starting 09 or 087)

·         ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind

·         ask for any details about your bank account

·         ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts

·         ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set these up over the phone

·         disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts

·         provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms

·         ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else

If you think you’ve been sent a scam email, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk

I’m afraid the list of Coronavirus-related scams continues as there has been an increase in reports about a virus-related TV Licensing scam.   The fraudsters claim that the recipient’s direct debit has failed and that they need to pay to avoid prosecution.   They are told they are eligible for a “COVID-19 Personalized Offer” of six months free. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information.

There has also been an increase in emails and texts sent by fraudsters claiming to be from the Department for Work and Pensions.   The DWP will never text or email asking for your personal information or bank details.

The advice – as always is – don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details.

Reporting suspicious behaviour to the police

Annoyingly, there is currently no way of specifically reporting suspicious behaviour to the police online!   However, one of our committee members actually received a prompt response when she went through this route – https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/contact-us-to-discuss-something-else/ even though the website says it can take up to two working days to get a response!    So it’s worth a try if you are having no luck getting through on 101.   You can also email Winslow police on winslowanddistrictnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

Safe as houses

With lockdown restrictions easing and some people starting to return to work, burglars will be looking for the tell-tale signs that you’re not at home.   So do all you can to make your home look occupied and more secure.   Programmable light, TV and radio timers (set to a talk station) all act as deterrents.  Or consider a fake TV which comes on automatically at dusk and simulates the light emitted by a real telly.  Burglar alarms and outside security lights are also off-putting to intruders.  Think too about ways you can improve security in your garden and outbuildings, which not only keeps bikes and other valuables in your shed and garage safe, but can also stop burglars getting into your home.    And when you’ve finished in the garden for the day, try and remember to lock away your tools as they can be used to break into your home.   It’s all about making it as difficult as possible for the thieves.

With (hopefully) lovely warm weather upon us, there will be a temptation to leave ground floor windows and doors open.   So if you’re upstairs or out of the room – even just for a few minutes – close them and help keep the burglars out.

More tips on protecting your home can be found at:  https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/protect-your-home-by-protecting-your-garden

 

Wishing you a safe, healthy and crime-free July.                      Andrea Scagell