Community safety

Wheelie Bins

Keeping thieves at bay?

It was suggested at the last Raynes Park Community Forum that (if they are not at home) householders should consider returning their neighbours’ wheelie bins and recycling boxes, back to where they belong once they have been emptied. Such neighbourly acts can hide the fact that people are not at home, especially in the holiday season.

ACTION FRAUD - NEWS

In the financial year 2018-2019 there were 1153 reports were made to Action Fraud with total losses purporting to be £3,615,778 (an average of £3,136 per report) by residents of Merton Borough. 

The top 5 by volume (number of reports) type of fraud is as follows; 

·       Advance Fee 213 Reports, £158,961 lost

·       Online Shopping Fraud 201 reports, £585,896 lost

·       Banking Fraud, 70 reports, £334,589 lost

·       Computer Service Fraud, 52 reports, £81,346 lost

·       None of the Above (Misc.), 247 reports, £1,001,584 lost 

Online Shopping

Victims are convinced to pay money for items that don’t exist or are counterfeit when shopping online. E.g. fake adverts on eBay.

Never pay via direct bank transfers, always use the websites recommended payment method. Please see our animation for more details;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-_wPFXK2m4 

Advance Fee

Victims are encouraged to pay an advance fee with promise of a larger amount back in return. E.g. a scam email from the “Tax Office” stating that the victim is owed a refundfor overpayment of tax but requesting an admin fee first.

Never give your bank details or personal information following an unsolicited email. Confirm with the company via a pre-established contact method. (i.e. the phone number on the company’s website) 

Investment / Share sales Fraud

Victims are pressured in to making “investments” or buying shares that don’t actually exist or have no chance of the financial return suggested.

Genuine investment/shares companies do NOT cold call people. Contact Financial Conduct Authority for advice.

www.fca.org.uk or 0800 111 6768 

Computer Software Service Fraud

Where fraudsters phone the victims claiming that they are internet providers, (e.g. TalkTalk, BT, EE) Microsoft or similar, and state there is an issue with their computer/internet/router and either demand money to prevent their internet being shut off, or offer to help the victim “fix” the problem by getting the him/her to install “team viewer” (or similar) a program which gives the fraudster remote access to the victim’s computer. Once the fraudster has access to the victim’s computer, they will see what they can find or steal to defraud the victim or demand payment for their services. This is a scam so remember:

·       Your service provider will never contact you out of the blue because of unusual activity on your computer.

·       Never give someone remote access to your computer.

·       Your provider will not threaten to cut off your internet.

Please watch our video for more information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJA-eyVtOW4

 Payment Fraud

Payment or Mandate Fraud is when fraudsters get a victim to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation they make regular payments to, for example a subscription, membership or a business supplier. Normally this is done via email where one of the email accounts is hacked and emails containing “new” bank account details are sent. Always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation (or person) directly, using established contact details, i.e. call them using a number from their website or a phone book. Watch our animation for more details:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1tktyF0-Tg 

The top two frauds in “None of the above” are “Courier Fraud and “Push Payment Fraud” (these don’t officially have their own classification. Victims are called by fraudsters pretending to be police, Tax office or from the victim’s bank and convince them to give their card details over the phone. Or in some cases, transfer money to a “safe account,” buy gift vouchers or to go and withdraw money as part of an “investigation.” The fraudsters arrange for a courier to pick up the victim’s card or cash to take it away for “evidence”.

Your bank, the police, or tax office will never ask you to attend your bank, withdraw, transfer or pay money over the phone or send couriers to collect your card or cash. Nor would they ask you to buy goods or vouchers. This is a scam.

1.     Hang up (Never give details or money following a cold call)

2.     Take 5  (Seek a second opinion, tell someone what has happened)

3.     Verify (if concerned, contact the company via a pre-confirmed method)

All of our videos and electronic leaflets can be found on the following link; www.met.police.uk/littlemedia

Always report, Scams fraud and cybercrime to Action Fraud, either online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

 

Action Fraud

What you need to know 

·       Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). 

·       Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards. 

·       If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, 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 with the victim. 

·       In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call later. 

·       If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment. 

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. 
  • Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam 
  • 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, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud.

National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, 0300 1232040

Fake Driving and Parking Fines

Action Fraud have received an increase in reports and intelligence where elderly victims are being targeted by individuals purporting to be police officers or traffic wardens. The victims are being approached whilst parked in a car park and are told by the suspect that they have parked illegally or broken a speed limit and a photo has been taken of their car for ‘evidence’.

Victims are advised that they will face a substantial penalty fine unless they pay a smaller upfront fee immediately. Victims, who opt for paying the smaller penalty, will be directed to a parking meter and asked to enter their card and PIN. These parking meters have been tampered with by the suspect in order to retain the card. Once the victim inserts their card and are asked for their PIN, the victims are shoulder surfed for their PIN by the suspect. Once victims input their PIN, the card is retained by the machine and victims are told by the suspect to seek help from the company who operates the parking meter or their bank.

Scam Awareness - 2 Feb

Merton to hold Scam Awareness Conference

Merton Council’s Safer Neighbourhood Board have partnered with the Met Police Cyber Crime Unit and Trading Standards to host a free community ‘How to avoid scams’ conference for residents. Age UK, Financial Services, Trading Standards, MASCOT, Victim Support, Citizens Advice, Neighbourhood Watch and Neighbourhood Police will be on hand to give expert advice.

 

The session will be held on Saturday 2 February, between at 10am until 1pm (doors open 9.30 at The Everyday Church, Queens Road, SW19 8LR (adjacent to Centre Court shopping centre in Wimbledon).

 

Sadly, a Merton resident was recently scammed over the phone and lost £1,200. The resident received a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The message stated that the resident had an outstanding debt and that an arrest warrant had been issued. On calling the number left on the voicemail, the resident was advised that they could avoid court and settle the debt, by paying it off in high street vouchers by 3pm that day.

 

The scammers convinced the resident to stay on the phone while they purchased vouchers from different stores. In this case, the resident lost £1,200.

 

At the conference Merton residents will be able to learn more about how they can protect themselves. Scammers are professional hoaxers, who at times appear to be friendly and can be well spoken. They can use fictitious charities and distressing photographs and may refer you to what seems to be a legitimate website. They may provide false testimonial and give themselves important sounding titles.

 

Merton Council cabinet member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities, Edith Macauley said: “I look forward to seeing you all at the conference where our experts will tell you all the ways that you can protect yourself, family and community from scammers. We thank all the partners who have come together to provide our residents with this excellent session that will be very helpful.”

 

For more information visit 

Merton trading standards  or Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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