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Neighbourhood Watch

New COVID-19 contact tracing app open to fraud

The UK Government is currently trialling a new COVID-19 coronavirus contact tracing app on the Isle of Wight. Many expect that the app will roll out to the rest of the country later this year. 

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received evidence of a phishing scam themed around the app, even before the real app has released nationally.

Members of the public received texts informing them that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The message contains a link to a bogus website which asks for the personal details of the user. Scammers may use the information to gain access to bank accounts and commit other forms of identity fraud. 

Scams related to the coronavirus emergency have taken off since March, and Action Fraud reports that COVID-19 scams stole over £2 million during this time. Consumer protection experts fear that more scams themed around the contact tracing app will appear once it is released nationally.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “We have witnessed a surge in COVID-19-related scams since lockdown began. This evidence is yet another example of scammers modifying their campaigns as the situation develops.

“I am especially concerned that scams themed around the contact tracing app are already appearing, even though the official NHS app has only been released in a limited testing phase on the Isle of Wight.

“These texts are a way to steal personal data and may put the bank accounts of recipients at risk. If anyone receives texts or other kinds of messages like this, they should not click on any accompanying links, and report them to Action Fraud.”

To report instances of scams, go to the Action Fraud website

Increase in cyclists prompts police to share safety message

With more novice cyclists than ever taking to the roads for their daily exercise during COVID-19, police are urging both cyclists and drivers to follow some simple safety tips to help keep everyone safe on our roads.

We are sharing the following safety tips for novice cyclists:-
•Follow the government advice about how you exercise and observe social distancing while you do it
•Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
•If you are cycling with a young family, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
•Ensure that your bicycle is roadworthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision. Follow this link for a short video clip from Cycling UK showing you how to do the M check on your bike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94RqKKbG2GQ
•Please take extra care at junctions. Nationally around three quarters of cyclist collisions happen at or near them (Source: Cycling UK)
•Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
•If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
•If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres by filtering down to single file.
•Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.

We are asking drivers to:-
•Follow the latest government guidelines around COVID-19, stay at home and only drive for essential purposes. These can be found on www.gov.uk
•Please slow down and take extra care around these vulnerable road users giving them extra space and time.
•Always expect the unexpected around each corner, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so, particularly on left hand bends. Cycling UK have produced a Too Close for Comfort video to show drivers what it’s like to be close passed so they can understand it from a cyclist’s perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kgPt-lNYGY
•Please take extra care around cyclists (and other vulnerable road users) at junctions where three quarters of cyclist collisions happen.

The Law

You must ensure your brakes are efficient, and at night use lit front and rear lights and have a red rear reflector.

For more info, click here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82

More information about safe cycling

https://www.rospa.com/Road-Safety/Advice/Cyclists-and-motorcyclists/Cycling-advice

www.cyclinguk.org


Suspicious Activity – 26th April

Sunday 26th April at approximately 8.45pm, 2 x Youths acting suspiciously in Wood Lane & Pepperwood Close, one wearing a black hoodie, the other a grey hoodie, aged approx.17/18 yrs. Police notified.

Please be vigilant, report any suspicious activity to the police.