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Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch – Neighbour of the Year Award 2020

Nominate a neighbour that goes above and beyond for your community for the Neighbour of the Year Award 2020
run by Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch

For the third year running, Neighbourhood Watch are excited to launch the nationwide search in partnership with our friends at Co-op Insurance to find and celebrate some of the UK’s best neighbours. 

Neighbourhood Watch members have said that to be a great neighbour people share some clear qualities: a willingness to look out for others; being sociable and friendly; offering practical help; and being kind, caring and respectful.

In addition to the Neighbour of the Year Award, there is also a brand-new category, Co-op’s Young Neighbour of the Year. This award will celebrate someone aged 18-24 who has gone above and beyond to help enhance their community and has brought people, young and old, together.
Nominations are now open

If you’ve got someone who ticks all these boxes and more in either category, tell Neighbourhood Watch all about them and how they go above and beyond.

Click here to be taken to their nomination form, where you can share your stories of great neighbourly activities and acts of kindness.

The deadline to nominate is 27th October.

Advertising Standards Agency launches new Scam Ad Alert System

The ASA respond to concerns and complaints from consumers and businesses and take action to ban ads which are misleading, harmful, offensive or irresponsible. As well as responding to complaints, they monitor ads to check they’re following the rules. They also conduct research to test public opinion and identify where they need to take action to protect consumers.

In 2019, they resolved 34,717 complaints relating to almost 25,000 ads.

Consumers can now report scam ads appearing in paid-for space online to the ASA. They will promptly send an alert to all participating platforms with key details of the scam ad, as well as to publishers when the ad appeared on a publisher owned site. If they locate them, partners will remove the offending ad and suspend the advertiser’s account. In some instances, they may also add them to ‘blocklists’, even when the ads weren’t appearing on their platform, stopping them from appearing in future.

Tackling online scam ads is a global problem, requiring a joined-up response involving law-enforcement bodies and statutory regulators, platforms and all involved in the online ad industry, as well as national advertising regulatory bodies such as the ASA. The Scam Ad Alert system coincides with the Consumer Protection Partnership’s Scams Awareness Campaign which this year focuses on COVID-19 related scams. Working with partners including National Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, Competition and Markets Authority and Trading Standards Scotland, we aim to reduce the risk and impact of scams by raising awareness amongst consumers and equipping them with the skills needed to recognise and report them.

ASA Chief Executive, Guy Parker said: “The overwhelming majority of ads responsibly inform and entertain their audience, but a small minority are published with criminal intent. Our Scam Ad Alert system will play an important part in helping detect and disrupt these types of scams. By working closely with our partners such as Google and Facebook, we can act quickly to have problem ads taken down as part of our ongoing work to better protect consumers online.”

If you see an advert online that doesn’t look or feel right, then you can now report this directly to the ASA online at www.asa.org.uk

TV Licence Fees

As you may know, free TV Licences for all over 75s in the UK, funded by the Government, came to an end this year. From 1st August 2020, anyone aged 75 or over who is not in receipt of Pension Credit (a benefit available to pensioners on low incomes) needs to pay for their TV Licence.

The TV Licensing team are contacting everyone who needs to apply via post over the next couple of months. It’s important to check that the communication that you receive is genuine and here are some ways you can check:

  • You will not be rushed into making payment; you have two months from the date of the letter to apply for your licence, anything telling you that it’s time critical will be a scam.
  • The TV licencing team will never phone you just to ask for your bank or credit or debit card details.
  • They will only email you in response to an email you’ve sent them, or if you’ve used their website to change your details (or buy a licence).

The website has much more of the information you need to protect yourself from fraud. You can find out more at www.tvl.co.uk/scams and if you’re unsure about any communication you’ve received from them, please call them on 0300 790 6151.

Green Homes Grant: Good News and Scam

Homeowners in England will be able to apply get up to £5,000 of vouchers for energy-efficient home improvements from September 2020. To get a government voucher, you’ll need to complete an online application for a recommended home improvement, get a quote from a listed supplier and have the quote approved.

For more information on this, please visit: www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency. This new scheme fits in with a popular scam where consumers are contacted by phone and mail to explain that they can help consumers with applying for a grant, find suppliers and get the work done for them for a fee. Once the fee has been paid, no work is ever carried out and the money is gone.

What’s more is that these consumers will be added to a marketing list, which can be sold on to other fraudulent companies in an effort to target them with a completely different scam. If you receive a cold call or letter from someone claiming to be able to help you with the new government grant, hang up and report the call to Action Fraud.