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Crime prevention advice for darker nights:
- Keep front and back doors locked at all times and keep keys and valuables out of sight and reach from cat flaps, letterboxes and downstairs doors and windows
- Close, and ideally lock, all windows when you’re not in the room – approximately one in four burglaries in the county still happen because doors have been left unlocked or windows left open
- If it’s dark before you get home, use timer switches to turn on the lights – change the times that the lights come on, to create the illusion that someone is moving around inside the house. Plug-in dusk-to-dawn lights are also popular
- Make sure your door is well lit and fully visible from the street – dusk-to-dawn lamp adaptors are available from DIY stores
- Check existing lighting is in good working order and replace any faulty equipment – remember to check batteries in torches and smoke alarms
- Keep shrubbery and hedges at the front of the house pruned to below one metre – remove any cover for a burglar to work unseen and give your neighbours every chance to spot something suspicious
- Keep curtains closed at night – if you are away, ask a trusted neighbour to close them for you, and open them again in the morning
- On cold mornings, never leave your car unattended with the engine running to defrost the windows
- Assess your property’s perimeter and check it is secure. Cut back overgrown hedges and repair broken fences and gates
- Secure sheds and outbuildings with good padlocks and consider fitting alarms. Lock all tools and ladders away securely
When out and about
- When out in your car, look out for Park Mark accredited car parks and remove all items from your vehicle when you leave it
- Don’t leave your keys in the ignitions, even when filling up with fuel or popping into the shop
- De-clutter your handbag – take out only what you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- When you’re out shopping, keep all bags firmly closed and on your person at all times
- Carry wallets and phones in inside pockets of jackets or coats, not in the back pocket of trousers
- When using your credit or debit card, shield your PIN and take the time to make sure you safely put away your purse or wallet
- Never leave your bag unattended on the back of trolleys or pushchairs
- Don’t be tempted to return to your car and drop off your shopping bags – keep them with you or take them home
- If you see anything suspicious, or have an information about crime or criminals, call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111
There have been reports in the Wellingborough area of telephone calls in connection with the fact that the Police do not respond to alarms in domestic properties automatically.
The caller appears to be a mature lady who offers to arrange for a representative to come to your house to survey the situation and propose a solution without cost or obligation so that you can have an alarm trigger answered and the police notified,
The names of the company mentioned in the calls have not been traced by us, and we would offer the advice to be careful. We have heard in the past of substantial charges for a monitored system who then advise the police of the alarm.
Should you be considering an alarm system we recommend contacting local companies preferably with a registration with a professional body.
Financial Fraud Action UK recommends the following to stay safe at an ATM:
- Stand close to the terminal. Always shield the keypad with your free hand, purse or wallet, and your body, to avoid anything or anyone seeing you enter your PIN. This will protect your PIN from anyone who might be looking over your shoulder, and also help to keep your PIN safe if a fraudster has set up a hidden camera to film the keypad.
- Stay alert and put your personal safety first. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and alert a member of staff. Do not accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted.
- Have your card company’s 24 hour contact number stored in your mobile phone. If your card is retained, stay at the ATM and contact your bank immediately.
- If you spot anything unusual about the machine, or there are signs of tampering, do not use it.
- If you think you have been a victim of fraud, you should contact your bank immediately.
We have just received the following report from a member in the Kettering area.
We believe the calls to be bogus and write to warn members of this report.
Please pass the information to your contacts and particularly vulnerable people.
“Recently we have had phone calls supposedly from the ‘Air Ambulance’ asking to sign up for giving monthly donations. We have previously said no to these requests and that we would give when we could. However this morning my husband received a call and the person on the phone said he had promised to sign up and asked him for his bank details which thank heavens he refused, at which point she became quite aggressive. I rang the Air Ambulance headquarters and they knew nothing about these phone calls so we decided you should know. We have in the past given sums of money which we have raised for the Air Ambulance.”
May 2015 – Fraud Alert “Remember, you are the seller”
If you are selling your car via a classified advertisement or auction site, be aware of the following fraud scam:
Fraudsters may contact you through your advert, normally by text message and provide you with a link to a fraudulent website.
- The website may look professional and similar to the “original” website that you advertised on.
- It will explain that there is a ‘potential purchaser’ for your car.
- It will ask you to pay a small “arrangement” fee to ensure the purchase takes place by using an e-money method; which could be via UKASH or PAYSAFE vouchers, for example.
- It will instruct you to purchase the vouchers and may even provide you with a link to a list of the shops in your area that sell them.
- You are then asked to input the unique codes from the e-money product that you have just purchased.
- Once inputted your money is gone!
However urgently you wish to sell your car, do not be misled because of a need to sell it!
- Do not pay an advanced fee for the sale of your vehicle.
- Meet face to face for an agreed sale and only accept cash.
February 2015 – Fraud Alert “We are holding a parcel in your name”
Scam postcards are being delivered to homes in this latest fraud where jewellery is claimed to be involved. Do not respond! Full guidance is available by clinking on this link.
Separately, HMRC have advised that from April 2015, people over the age of 55 will be given the flexibility of taking a number of smaller lump sum pension pots. 25% of the sum will be tax-free, with the remaining pension fund charged at marginal rate of income tax.
If you take out money from your pension fund before the age of 55, the normal tax rules apply. We are concerned that fraudsters will take advantage of these rule changes by offering to invest pensions on the victim’s behalf. Be very wary of such offers.
Avoid losing your hard-earned cash:
- Do not invest with companies which cold call you, offering extremely high returns. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Seek financial advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, who work alongside the Treasury delivering the ‘Pension Wise’ service. Further information can be found here.
- If you wish to invest your savings in a company, please ensure you seek advice from an FCA registered and authorised advisor
- Be aware of callers offering a free pension review service by phone call, email and text message and do not invest in unregulated markets such as overseas property developments, storage units or forestry.
January 2015 – Another warning to be vigilant
A lottery scam takes place when criminals pretend that you have won a prize, often a lottery. The people most likely to fall victim to this tend to be over the age of 60 (although younger people do fall victim too) – but we know that it is often close family members of victims who spot the tell-tale signs of the fraud.
Criminals will normally get in touch by letter or email and will try to engage you into dialogue with them. Once they have convinced you that they are “genuine”, they will ask for a fee to be paid to release your winnings. This fee could be to pay taxes or duty, or for a solicitor, banker or judge to authorise the transaction. NO GENUINE LOTTERY WILL EVER ASK FOR ANY SORT OF FEE TO BE PAID.
Often this first fee will be small, but once they know you are willing to pay it they will ask for more and more money, with ever-changing excuses as to why they need it. Victims can end up losing tens of thousands of pounds over the course of months or even years.
Many of you reading will be surprised that this type of crime takes place. After all, why would anyone fall prey to scam like this when they never entered any such lottery in the first place? Why would they have to pay money when they are supposed to have won millions of pounds? The sad truth is that these criminals are incredibly persuasive and prey on people who are very trusting. Therefore, even if you know that you would not get defrauded like this, please spread this message widely to friends, family and to people within your community.
- If you have not entered a lottery or a prize draw, you have not won it.
- Delete any emails which detail you winning money or being in a position to make a fortune
- Spread the message amongst people you come into contact with, especially older people in your family, and look out for any unusual behaviour, for instance someone paying money via money service bureaux, like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buying Ukash vouchers.
If you believe you have become the victim of a fraud or cyber crime, or have received a suspicious email, find out how to report it here:
Police urge people to be vigilant following spate of phone scams
Police are continuing to warn people to be on their guard against phone scams, following recent reports of several incidents in Northamptonshire.
There are a number of variations of the scam but in all cases the fraudsters will pretend to be from a trusted organisation, such as a bank, building society or even the police.
The scammers encourage people to give them their bank details and PIN, transfer money into bogus accounts or even to hand over cash or bank cards to a ‘courier’.
A recent variation of the scam is known as ‘number spoofing’, whereby the telephone number of the organisation the fraudster wants to impersonate is cloned so that it appears on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them.
The offender will then gain the person’s trust by drawing their attention to the number, claiming this is proof of their identity, before trying to defraud them.
The victim is warned that unusual activity has been noticed on their account and is then fooled into ringing the 0845 number of the back of their bank card. The fraudster will use this number to ring them back and suggest they transfer any funds to a temporary safe account.
Anyone who gets any suspicious calls of this nature should hang up immediately, wait five minutes before using that phone in case the fraudster keeps the line open, or use another phone to call the police on 101.
Many of the victims of this type of crime are elderly or vulnerable and it can be very distressing for them. Please pass this advice on to relatives, friends and neighbours and urge them to call the police if they are at all suspicious about a caller.
If you suspect you have been a victim of a scam ring the police on 101 or contact Action Fraud.
Report any incidents to the police. Always call 999 if the crime is in progress. For non-urgent incidents please report to Action Fraud, the central reporting and recording system for fraud, on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
For more information on fraud and online safety, visit www.northants.police.uk/crimeprevention.
• Your bank, credit card company or the police will NEVER ask for your PIN, your bank card or ask you to withdraw money
• NEVER share your PIN with anyone
• NEVER hand your bank card or any goods you have purchased as a result of a phone call to anyone who calls at your door
• If you suspect you have been a victim of this scam ring the police on 101 or contact Action Fraud