Gressenhall Neighbourhood Watch

 

FROM NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – APRIL  2021

Following recent reports of knocks on windows and doors a situation has arisen which sends a warning to be aware. A property in Bittering street has had an attempted break in. No entry was gained but some damage was caused. The police were in attendance.

With many people out and about walking away from their properties and the streets being quiet there is opportunity for criminals to make attempts to enter properties.

If you are out and about ensure your property is secure when you leave  and check it out on your return for any evidence of attempted break in eg damaged windows and doors.  Also be on the lookout for anything suspicious eg a person or people hanging about or seemingly interested in a property.

Should anything suspicious be seen take as much detail as possible such as vehicle make registration number colour and where possible a description of the person or people and contact 101. If an actual offence is witnessed contact 999.

Doug Curd Neighbourhood Watch Gressenhall

FROM NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – MARCH 2021

Residents of Gressenhall,  there has been another incident of evening knocking,  this time on the front door and once again in Swan Drive.  Although the resident concerned endeavoured to identify the source, whatever or whoever it was, was not in evidence. Whilst both incidents that have been reported have been in Swan Drive I would ask everyone to be watchful for any early evening suspicious activity in their respective areas. Should another incident of this kind occur anywhere in the village please let me know and I will pass any available information to the Police.

Thank you all for your cooperation.

Doug Curd    Chair of the Gressenhall Neighbourhood Watch Team

Tel: 01362860803

 

Scam Alert – February 2021

The following is a Police Connect message.

Police are urging members of the public to be vigilant following a number of telephone scams across the county.

One incident happened on Monday (8 February) when the victim, a woman aged in her 70s and from the Wymondham area, was contacted by a fraudster purporting to be a police officer. During the call the victim was encouraged to transfer large amounts of money from her bank account, after being coerced into believing that she was part of an undercover police operation. She was conned out of £30,000.

Another incident was also reported on Tuesday (9 February) when the victim, a man aged in his 20s, and from the Norwich area was again contacted by a fraudster purporting to be a police officer. The caller had cloned the Norfolk Constabulary number, making the victim believe he was speaking to a genuine police officer. £20,000 was taken.

Officers have also received 15 reports within the past two weeks in which victims have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be police officers.

Courier Fraud happens when a fraudster contacts a victim by telephone claiming to be a police officer, bank or from a government department, among other agencies. A number of techniques will then be adopted in order to convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which may then be passed on to a courier.

Residents are reminded that neither the police nor your bank will ever ask you to withdraw or transfer money or purchase items.

Further advice includes:

  • Police officers, banks and other government agencies will NEVER ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another account as part of an undercover operation.
  • They will NEVER ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • The police will NEVER ask you to handover money for safe keeping or as part of an operation.
  • The police will NEVER send someone to your address to collect money, cards or PIN Numbers or ask you to deliver these to another location.

Try these steps if you are approached:

  • STOP – take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
  • CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it.

You can confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly. Ask for ID from individuals who have approached you in these circumstances.

If you’re asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.

Officers are particularly keen for members of the community to ensure they contact family and friends, particularly elderly relatives to ensure they are aware of these scams and the warning signs.

If anyone has received a similar type of telephone call or has any information about these incidents. Contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting Operation Radium.

Alternatively, Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you believe a crime is in progress, always call 999.

For further advice, head to the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

Scam Alert – January 2021

The following is a Police Connect message.

Have you had someone come to your door offering to carry out unnecessary work to your property? We are aware of incidents of colding calling in and around Breckland.  if you’ve had a doorstep caller report to Norfolk County Council Trading Standards on 0808 223 1122, to Police on 101 and alert friends, family and neighbours.

Scam Alert – November 2020

Good Morning, Please find below the Latest Consumer & Scam alerts from Norfolk Trading Standards. These can also be found on the Trading Standards website > https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/scams/consumer-alerts Many thanks PC Pete Davison Community Engagement Officer – North Norfolk

Scam Alert – Fake Facebook pages – 1 October 2020

We’re continuing to receive reports of fake pages on Facebook claiming to be well-known brands or retail chains.  Recently this has included several pages claiming to be large holiday companies offering ‘free holidays’.

The fake pages then attempt to get people to engage with them by claiming to be offering discounts, prizes and giveaways.  Sometimes this will be by asking you to like, share and comment on the post – which increases the reach of the fake page.  They may also provide links to other pages that you must follow as part of the competition entry.

These fake pages can often gather tens of thousands of shares within hours of being posted.

If you see a competition on Facebook, take a moment to check before you click on it:

  • Is the page verified?  Public figures, media companies and larger brands can apply to Facebook for the blue verification tick – although this is not open to smaller companies.
  • Look at the name closely.  Some fake pages will alter the name of the genuine page slightly by adding additional punctuation or change spaces between parts of the name.
  • Take a closer look at the page, including the page history.  When was it registered?
  • What other posts have they made?  If the only posts are recent, or it’s limited to just the offer or giveaway, take this as a warning sign.
  • Look around the page.  Is the information you would expect to see there?  Many fake pages leave these areas blank.
  • How many followers does the page have?  Well-known brands will have high figures, whereas a recently registered page will still be on low numbers.
  • What information is being asked for?  Many of these fake pages will say you need to ‘complete a quick survey’ as part of the claiming process.  Never give any personal information unless you know exactly who you are giving it to and what they are going to do with it.
  • If they are asking for financial or banking information to enter a competition stop and leave the page immediately.

If you can’t be sure about the authenticity of a Facebook page, do not interact with it.

If you have responded to what you now think could be a fake Facebook page:

  • If you have liked, shared or commented be aware you could be targeted with further scam postings or contacts
  • If you have given personal information like email address or contact numbers be aware for scam contacts via these routes
  • If you have given banking or financial information, contact your bank or card provider immediately to protect your accounts

You can report fake Facebook pages, or other scam contacts, to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Green Homes Grant vouchers – 30 September 2020

Green Homes Grant vouchers are available from Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Traders

Remember that you must register with TrustMark to carry out work under the Green Homes Grant scheme.  Visit greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk for more information.

Consumers

Find out if you are eligible for a Green Homes Grant voucher at greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk.

Remember to check whether any trader offering to carry out work under the Green Homes Grant scheme is registered to do so – look for the TrustMark.

Report anyone cold calling to us via the Citizens Advice consumer service on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from Netflix – 28 September 2020

Scammers are continuing to exploit the popularity of streaming services by sending large numbers of emails claiming there are problems with your billing or subscription.

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the email pictured above, where they are asked to follow a link to update their payment details.

Always be wary of claims made in unexpected emails and never click on any links or open attachments.

Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:

  • We will never ask for your personal information over email, such as passwords or bank account details.
  • If you receive a suspicious email:
    • Don’t click any of the links or open any of the attachments
    • Forward the email to [email protected]
    • Delete the email.

You can report suspicious emails to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Damage caused by bad weather?  Make sure you choose a trader with care – 28 September 2020

If your home has been damaged by the recent bad weather, getting repairs completed will be something you want to do as quickly as possible.  Make sure in the hurry to get things fixed you don’t end up with a rogue trader or poor-quality repairs.  The following advice will help you get the right trader and smooth repairs.

Never use cold callers who arrive at your property offering to undertake work

Rogue traders may use bad weather and an opportunity to try and get householders to agree to them undertaking repairs.  These cold callers rarely give householders proper contact details or their legal rights to cancel within 14 days.  They may also claim more work is required than is actually necessary to increase their profits, and the work they do can often be of poor quality.

Choose reputable traders like a Norfolk Trusted Trader

When looking for someone to undertake work on your property, make sure they’re a trader you can trust.  This could be a member of the Norfolk Trading Standards Trusted Trader scheme, a business you’ve used before, or a recommendation from a friend or family member.

You can search the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader or call the Norfolk County Council customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.

Get at least 3 quotes for the work

Try to get at least 3 traders to come to your property and provide proper, written quotations to undertake the work required.  Compare them carefully to help you choose the right trader for the job.

Never pay the full price upfront

Good businesses and tradespeople will not require payment until the work is finished to your satisfaction.  Some may ask for a percentage to cover materials or specific parts if they are expensive, but it the trader is asking for full payment upfront don’t contract with them.

Talk to your insurance company first

If you have insurance on your property, speak to your insurance company before arranging any repairs.  They may require you to use a company approved by them, or want to see quotations before authorising the work and subsequent payment.

If you need further advice on choosing a trader, or help dealing with disputes with companies, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails attempting to blackmail the recipient – 25 September 2020

Norfolk residents have reported receiving emails which attempt to blackmail the recipient.

The emails often state they have ‘accessed your device’ or have been ‘monitoring you online’, and sometimes include a password that will be known to the recipient.

In the emails, the sender often claims to have access to ‘accounts, social networks, email, browsing history’ and makes accusations about websites you have visited.  They then threaten to post this information online or share it with your contacts unless they’re paid an amount in Bitcoin.

Action Fraud offer the following advice on how to protect yourself from this type of email:

  • Don’t reply to the email or be pressured into paying – doing so will only highlight that you’re vulnerable and you could be targeted again.  The police advise that you do not pay criminals.  Try flagging the email as spam or junk if you receive it multiple times.
  • Reset your password on any accounts where you’ve used the password mentioned in the email.  Always use a strong, separate password for important accounts such as your email.  Where possible, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
  • Always install the latest software and app updates.  Install and enable anti-virus software on your computers and keep it updated.
  • If you have received one of these emails and paid the amount requested, report it to your local police force.  If you have not paid, report the email as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud using their online form or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Warning ~ October 2020

The following is a Police Connect message.

A victim of courier fraud has described losing her “trust in people” after being conned out of almost £60,000.

The 65-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shared her experience in a bid to warn others and raise awareness of the sophisticated scam.

In the last two months, police in Norfolk have received more than 100 reports about fraudulent calls from suspects claiming to be police officers. The cold-callers will make efforts to defraud victims of money, asking them to withdraw large sums of cash in connection with an investigation.

The victim, who lives in Breckland, was targeted in September when she received a telephone call on her landline from an unknown number. The caller claimed to be a police officer working on behalf of the Fraud Prevention Investigation Team in London.

The officer said he was calling from Paddington Police Station and that they were investigating a case of stolen identity whereby someone in London had been using the victim’s personal details. In a bid to gain the victim’s trust, the fraudsters said she could verify their identity by ending the call and immediately dialling 999 and ask to verify the officer’s collar number and investigation reference. What the victim didn’t realise is that the line had been left open by the fraudster and so when she picked up to redial 999, the call was still connected to the scammer.

The victim was told police were carrying out an undercover operation into suspects allegedly passing counterfeit notes through the banking system and asked for her help.

Recalling the incident, the victim said: “I had grown up trusting the police and had no reason to think this was a scam. I had already verified that this was legitimate by calling the generic 999 number and so I agreed to help the officer with their investigation.”

The victim was asked to go to the bank and withdraw some money, which would then be collected by a courier who would attend her home address. The cash would then be examined to see if it was counterfeit. The victim was advised the money would be reimbursed as soon as their enquiries were complete and he was grateful for her assistance with the investigation. The suspects kept in contact with the victim, providing regular updates and advised the money was counterfeit. The cold-caller said a further two transactions would be needed as part of their investigation.

Describing the con, the victim said: “The officer would remain on the phone whilst I attended the banks in order to listen in on the conversation. I assumed this was part of the investigation and it made me feel at ease given that I was involved in an undercover operation. So, as asked, I withdrew two further payments from separate banks and handed them over to the courier. As expected, they too were counterfeit.

“At the time I felt like I was doing something to help. I’m of the generation that strongly believes the local bobby will always help you out. These scammers preyed on that and they targeted me when I was in an emotionally vulnerable position.

“I realise now that these scammers treat this as their job and like us, they strive to do it to the best of their ability. They commit these crimes in such a sophisticated way, preying on the older generation who are more likely to be isolated, vulnerable or more financially stable.

“Looking back now, they brainwashed me into thinking I was being helpful. They made me feel like I was in control; when I asked whether I could tell my daughter about the investigation, the officer had never strictly told me not to so, but advised that it wouldn’t help the undercover operation. Therefore, I made the decision myself to keep it from her believing it would be within the best interests of the investigation.

“The effects of this crime will never be understood by someone who has not been through it. My children now regularly stay at my house as I struggle to be alone. I have undoubtedly lost my confidence and ability to socialise as perhaps I used to or would like to.

“Although I know that this was a sophisticated crime, that often many people fall for, I cannot help blaming myself and I often feel frustrated and emotional about it. I will no longer be able to have the future I envisioned and the financial implications are major. It has undoubtedly changed the way I trust people and the world.”

Norfolk Police are reminding residents that your bank or the police will NEVER ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone. Never give these details to anybody.

Further advice includes:

  • Neither the police nor the banks will send a courier to collect money from you.
  • Always request Photo ID and if unsure call the police.
  • If you’re asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.
  • Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ringtones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number. Ensure you can hear a dialling tone before calling police or use a friend or neighbour’s telephone instead.
  • Do not rush into complying to the scammers demands / requests.
  • If you have already given your bank details over the phone or handed your card details to a courier, call you bank straight away to cancel the card.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, who commissions a countywide support service for scams victims, praised the victim for sharing her experience in order to help others protect themselves.

“What this Breckland resident has experienced is truly shocking. Her story highlights just how complex and convincing these scams can be and also the impact they have on their victims’ lives. Her bravery in speaking out in order to help raise awareness and prevent others finding themselves in her shoes is to be commended.

“As evidenced by this case, the emotional and financial hurt of being a victim of a scam can be massive. Key to preventing that harm is sharing information and advice, and learning how to keep ourselves safe.

“Who among us has not had that phone call, email or knock on the door by parties unknown seeking heartlessly to steal from us? Don’t brush off suspicious approaches; report them. If you’ve been a victim, speak out. Not only will you help the police with their investigations to put these criminals where they belong, but you may help your family, friends and fellow Norfolk residents avoid the hurtful exploitation you’ve endured.

“And if you’ve been affected by a scam, please don’t suffer in silence. The Norfolk Scam Prevention Service is there to help you.”

The Norfolk Scam Prevention Service, delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care, is a free and confidential service offering specialist support to individuals that have been targeted by scammers. The service, commissioned by the PCC and supported by the partners who make up the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, helped 1,200 people affected by scams last year. Feedback from those using the service shows it is helping people feel more confident, safer and better placed to cope with the impact of what they have experienced.

Kami Al-Faris, service coordinator for the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service, said: “Sadly, in the last three months, we have seen an increasing number of reported incidents of elderly people being targeted by scammers impersonating police officers and the National Crime Agency, as well as scams directly relating to Coronavirus, including fake Track and Trace messages and false requests for information from local or national authorities.

“We have worked with victims facing these types of scams who have lost up to £390,000; whereas some victims who have not lost any money, may instead have their data or privacy compromised.

“We can help victims cope and recover from their experience, providing practical advice and information so they can get back their confidence and feel safe again. If you have been affected by a scam and would like to talk in confidence with a specialist member of our team phone 101 followed by extension 5005 or email [email protected].”

WARNING ~ October 2020

The following is a Police Connect message.

Police are appealing for information following a burglary in Beetley, near Dereham, which happened at the weekend.

Suspect(s) targeted a property in Green Lane between 10.30pm on Saturday night and 11.10am on Sunday morning (3/4 October 2020) and broke into the property by smashing a window.

Jewellery, watches, a laptop, safe and a wallet containing cash and cards were stolen from the address.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or people acting suspiciously in the area.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Constable Sophie Harris at Thetford CID on 101 or alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

WARNING ~ August 2020

Ladies and Gentlemen a suspicious vehicle has been reported. It is a pick up truck with a trailer. The trailer is like a tank for carrying liquid and could hold maybe 500Ltrs. It was spotted by a local resident at approx 21:00 hrs (09.00pm) on 19/08/2020 and seemed to be behaving in a manner as to avoid being identified.

Due to the nature of the trailer it may be advisable to check your heating oil levels to ensure that they have not been tampered with.

If you do find that your level is significantly less than it should be please report it to the Police by telephone on 101.

As a precaution the vehicle details have been passed to the Police for them to check ownership etc . It may well be that the vehicle was bona fide and that the driver was going about his lawful business.

If there is any outcome I will publish the results as and when I get them.

Doug Curd

Gressenhall Neighbourhood Watch Team

WARNING ~ July 2020

This is a warning regarding a mail scam.

A parishioner recently received a letter from a person relating to a large legacy from an unknown distant relative. The letter suggested that because of the amount of work and cost of finding someone related that the legacy be shared 50/50 and to respond immediately.

The scam bit is that the letter did not have a proper address or telephone number,  just an E-mail address.

The conclusion drawn from this is that any response would be answered with a request for bank details so payment can be made. Just another scam to defraud people and clear out their bank accounts.

Any letter received without proper contact details should be disregarded. The old adage of  “if it looks too good to be true then it probably is” should be borne in mind.

Take care stay safe and enjoy the summer as much as you can within the limits of Covid-19 protection.

Doug Curd

Chair of Gressenhall Neighbourhood Watch.

01 362 860 803