Neighbourhood Watch

BURGLARY – Madeley Road, Bell Heath (Belbroughton Ward)

Between Saturday 17th August and Wednesday 21st August, intruders have entered two sheds and a caravan – all buildings searched and various items scattered around.

If you have any information on the above please report it to the Police on 101, quoting incident number 0651s 210819. Any information given will remain anonymous.

Please remain vigilant in your area, and report any suspicious circumstances, person or vehicles to the Police on 101, immediately.

Fraudsters Targeting Social Media Influencers

he National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received intelligence to suggest that fraudsters are contacting social media influencers, based in the UK and abroad, offering them the opportunity to market a bogus product, service or investment opportunity.

Fraudsters will present professional and credible pitches to the social media influencers and try to convince them to feature the opportunity for a fee on their social media profiles in order to entice unsuspecting followers of the influencer to sign up or make a purchase.

Additionally, fraudsters are using the names of well-known public figures, implying that their opportunity or product is endorsed by the figure when it is not.

The public should be aware that any apparent endorsement by celebrities, influencers or personalities does not necessarily mean that an investment, product or service is genuine. The public is urged to exercise a cautious approach to any such offer of investment, product or service with the same caution they would at any other time.

What You Need To Do

  • If you are purchasing goods from a company you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, or ask friends or family for advice before completing a purchase.
  • Professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts do not guarantee that an investment opportunity or product is genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make them appear legitimate.
  • Avoid paying for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person or company. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use your credit card or payment services such as PayPal as they offer you greater protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Further Concerned Residents Querying NextDoor Neighbour Letters

More residents have contacted FVCA querying letters that they have received from Nextdoor Neighbour – please share the contents of this post and our article with your neighbours.

On the 18th July FVCA posted the following article http://fvca.org.uk/notices/nextdoor-neighbour-website/ on the village website, which we encourage you to read.

  The Nextdoor Neighbour website was founded in the USA and the operators have expanded to the UK; the site is operated and provided to you by Nextdoor EMEA Limited, an Irish company. As you will read in our article there has been a mixed reception – from our understanding the majority of dissatisfaction is from the sharing of information with 3rd parties, the “local information” posted on the website is often well received. [Local Information – We understand that the Neighbourhood people are joining includes Bournheath, Belbroughton, Clent, Dodford, Hagley and the surrounding area]
  It would appear that residents are signing up to the website and letters are being sent out to their neighbours to encourage them to sign up to the website too. FVCA have spoken to a couple of people whose name appears at the bottom of these letters and they were unaware that these letters were being sent out, Nextdoor Neighbour claim that authority was given (see article).

  Our advice to anyone wishing to join the Nextdoor Neighbour network is to read the site’s Member Agreement, Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines. We do not know whether there are privacy settings like Facebook.

Reminder to lock out thieves during the hot weather

Police are reminding people not to leave their home open to thieves this summer as the country basks in hot weather.

With the onset of the school summer holidays and the hot weather it can be easy to forget to take a few home security measures, yet open windows and doors are often an open invitation for thieves.

Simple steps such as closing a window when you go out and locking doors can make all the difference and help prevent a house being targeted.

Holiday makers are also advised to take time to consider home security before they go away to give them peace of mind while they’re on holiday.

The advice forms part of We Don’t Buy Crime, West Mercia Police’s response to tackling serious acquisitive crime which includes crimes such as burglary and theft.

Sergeant Ram Aston, from the We Don’t Buy Crime team, said: “We Don’t Buy Crime continues to go from strength to strength with more and more areas signing up as part of our towns and villages initiative which sees whole communities protected by forensic property marking technology which acts as a great deterrent to criminals. So far this year we’ve seen some considerable reductions in house burglaries but this doesn’t mean we’re complacent and we want to make sure everything is being done to help prevent someone from becoming a victim to thieves.

“Crime prevention is absolutely crucial and anything residents can do to help protect their home can help make a difference. It can be easy in the summer months, especially when the weather is warm, to forget you’ve opened a window or left the back door open before you go out or go to bed. It only takes a few moment to double check but could help prevent your home being targeted. If you’re in the back garden, make sure you haven’t left any ground floor windows open at the front of the house and always make sure valuable items, such as car keys, mobile phones or wallets, are not in easy reach of an open window.

“If you’re going away make sure the house is locked up before you go and the burglar alarm is set. Hide any valuable items from view from the outside and don’t leave anything in the garden that could potentially be used to gain entry into your home. Be mindful of where you store your wheelie bin too and consider if it could be used for someone to climb on and access an upstairs window or used to climb over into the garden. If you’re leaving the car at home and have a garage, park it in the garage while you’re away rather than on the drive and if you’ve got gates close and lock them with a good quality lock.”

In addition to We Don’t Buy Crime towns and villages police carry out a range of covert tactics to catch thieves and work with second hand stores to make it more difficult for thieves to sell on stolen goods.

Sgt Aston added: “We Don’t Buy Crime essentially aims to put criminals out of business and we have a range of tactics at our disposal which are both overt and covert to not just prevent acquisitive crime in the first place but catch those who are responsible when they do happen and want to send a clear message to thieves that we are utilising a range of methods to target them.”

For more crime prevention advice visit https://www.westmercia.police.uk/article/1955/Home

Attempted Burglary in Mill Lane

Attempted burglary between 1140 and 1210 yesterday, Thursday 18th July, on Mill Lane, Wildmoor. Thankfully they did not gain entry.

Please be extra vigilant and report and suspicious activity to the police calling 101.

PC Kelso. SNO. Bromsgrove North and Rural.

Nextdoor Neighbour Website

We have been contacted today by a couple of residents that have received letters from Nextdoor Neighbour, asking them to join their networking site. 

Earlier this year we were contacted by two other residents who also received similar letters.

There is a social media site called Nextdoor Neighbour that allows residents to share local information within a closed group; incidents, events, good news stories, etc.

We understand that if you register with the site you will join an online community that is wider than Fairfield, it includes Bournheath, Clent, Hagley & Belbroughton. 

We also understand that if you sign-up you will agree to the collection of your data for marketing purposes that will be shared with third party organisations. 

Searching the internet, there are complaints about “SPAM” letters from Nextdoor Neighbour, and people are claiming that letters are being sent to their neighbours from them but they were not aware that they had given their consent – this was the case earlier this year, the person that received the letter passed it on to FVCA and when we spoke to the person whose name appeared on the bottom of the letter, that person said that they had joined the site but was unaware that letters were being sent out in their name.   Nextdoor Neighbour have challenged these comments by saying:

“The invitation you have received is from a neighbour that has verified at their address and chosen to send invitations to other residences in their neighbourhood to grow their Nextdoor network.”

“To be clear, we will never send out neighbour invitations on behalf of the member without the explicit permission of the member. Members are presented with the option to invite their neighbours when they join and through emails from time to time, however, members may choose to either ‘skip’ this step or choose not to click on the ‘send postcards” button in the email. There is additionally an option to cancel postcards from the email if the member has accidentally sent invitations they no longer wish to send. “

“We are deeply committed to the privacy and security of our members, if this member doesn’t believe they have sent invitations from their account, we would like to review their account with them directly and are available on help@nextdoor.co.uk.”

FVCA encourages people to think carefully before joining sites and to do their research before subscribing and sharing personal information.

Traffic Enforcement Update

We have received the following message from our County Councillor, Shirley Webb:

“I have been advised by Safer Roads Partnership that the current motorcyclist who is off sick is just waiting for clearance to go back to riding from his specialist. The new recruit is yet to be fully trained, we are looking at mid August at the earliest to start.

In the meantime i have asked our Safer Neighbourhood team when time allows, to spend time monitoring around my division.”

Another Scam Call

An elderly resident this morning has received an automated telephone call claiming to be Mastercard saying that the resident owed money. The resident, who does not have a Mastercard, put the phone down.
 

We appeal to you to speak to your elderly neighbours to tell them about Scams and not to become a victim of fraud.

Elderly Fairfield Residents Targeted with Scam Calls

Two Fairfield residents, both in their mid/late 80s, have each received a telephone call, claiming to be from Barclays Bank. The call was an automated voice asking each residents to press the 1 button. Both residents, not having an account with Barclays, put the telephone down.

Please be vigilant when answering the telephone and PLEASE speak to your elderly and vulnerable neighbours about Scam telephone calls.