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Neighbourhood Watch

Facebook based money scam

West Mercia Police have been made aware that there is a scam operating on Facebook that is looking to con people by requesting they deposit money into a fake account.

Detective Jon Cooper said: “The fraudsters are doing this by hacking a victim’s account and then messaging the victim’s ‘friends’ asking them to lend them some money, normally around £400 and depositing the money in the fake account. Some local people’s businesses have also been targeted by hackers accessing a victim’s Facebook account.

“Sadly, some of these attempts have been successful and naturally the victims are feeling violated and taken advantage of. I would please urge everyone to be vigilant of this scam and to never digitally deposit money to anyone’s account without confirming in person if possible it is in fact someone they know. “Some online scams are very clever and very convincing however there are steps you can take to help protect yourself –

• Strong passwords are nonsensical and made up of a mixture of letters, numbers and punctuation.
• Make sure you update your software and your antivirus before using the internet.
• Always check when banking online that the ‘https’ shows the connection is secure.
• Remember to shred documents containing personal details before throwing away.
• Think scams. If an online bargain seems too good to be true it probably is.

https://www.westmercia.police.uk/news/west-mercia/news/2020/january/facebook-based-money-scam/

To keep up to date with the latest scams visit the Action Fraud website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ Members for the public – 0300 123 2040 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm). Businesses, charity or other organisations suffering a live cyber-attack – 0300 123 2040 (Available 24/7)

Catalytic Converter theft awareness

There has been a recent increase in the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles in West Mercia. This is due to a rise in the value of the precious metals they contain.

PC Dale Tomkins said: “Thieves tend to target vehicles such as vans and 4x4s that have a higher ground clearance making the converters more easily accessible. However, all types of vehicles are vulnerable.

“Please help us tackle this crime by taking steps to reduce the chances of your vehicle being targeted.
“We need to know about any suspicious activity around parked vehicles. Please contact us on 101 with any information about what is happening in your area.”

Tips on how to protect your vehicle:
• Keep your vehicle in a garage if you can
• If you park it on a driveway, install motion activated lighting
• Otherwise, park in a well-lit, populated area
• Forensic security marking kits are available to mark your catalytic converter
• Locks are also available that can be fitted to your converter
• Use high visibility signage to deter thieves

For crimes in progress call 999. For non-emergencies report online at www.westmercia.police.uk/report

West Mercia Police Issue Courier Fraud Warning

Please be aware and share the below message, especially with your elderly neighbours

November and December has seen a rise in the number of attempts to defraud elderly and vulnerable people out of their banked savings. Criminals pretending to be police officers have already obtained through a type of scam known as ‘courier fraud’ over £80,000 and we have had victims come forward from in Malvern and in and around Worcester.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright from the West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “Not all attempts of this scam are successful and it is reassuring to see that our clear messaging that no police officer will ever ask you for money on the phone is a message that people are hearing. Sadly however, some vulnerable people have been taken advantage of and have handed over thousands of pounds. In one case a victim withdrew over £10,000 and returned home to give it to a ‘courier.’

“Don’t trust anyone who calls you about your bank details or asking you to go to a bank to withdraw money. Always hang up and wait 10 minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before calling 101.

“If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back.
“If possible, also use a different telephone line to make sure the line is clear e.g. a mobile phone or the phone of a trusted friend or relative. If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them. You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank.

“Scams can be very elaborate, very convincing and cruel. If you think someone is trying to scam you, tell someone straight away. Don’t be pressured and give yourself time to stop and think.

“Please remember the police will never contact you asking for your bank card or cash. We will also never ask you to purchase expensive items or transfer money to a safe account. If someone does, it’s a scam – provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up and report it immediately to the police on 101 or 999 if there are people at your property to take money from you.

“We are working hard to identify these criminals trying to con our elderly and vulnerable family members and friends and a number of arrests have been made and charges have been brought. However we would ask the public to spread this message of caution and awareness throughout the wider community and would urge you to pass on, particularly to elderly relatives or neighbours, information about these scams and ask them not to trust anyone who asks them for their bank details or for money over the phone.”

What is Courier Fraud?

• A phone caller pretending to be a police officer who is investigating unidentified activity/ fraud in their bank account and that they must cooperate with the ‘investigation’.

• The victim is then persuaded to withdraw funds and hand them over to the ‘investigators’, either by some remote means or in person to a courier.

• The victim is told that if the bank cashier queries the large withdrawal that they are to say it is for work/repairs in the home or Christmas shopping.

• Alternatively the victim may be asked to hand over bank cards, vouchers or other valuable items. They may also be asked to transfer funds to another account, which is controlled by the fraudsters.

• In some cases a victim is encouraged to hang up the phone and dial 101 to confirm with the police that the request is genuine. In these cases the line has stayed connected to the fraudster, who puts on another person to confirm this. In some cases a dial tone is played to the victim so they think they have called the genuine police. This is why we advise putting down the phone and waiting 10 minutes or using another telephone line. This way victims can be sure the call has disconnected from the fraudster.

For further information regarding Courier Fraud, please visit the West Mercia Police website https://www.westmercia.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/door-to-door-courier-fraud/

Fly Tipping

Over the past few weeks there has been a significant increase in fly tipping across our Parish Ward and in the surrounding area; Madeley Road, Chadwich Lane, Mearse Lane, New Road, Claypit Lane, Shut Mill Lane and, in the past 24 hours, Swan Lane.

Rubbish dumped has included a bucket of dog excrement, rabbit hutch waste, furniture, tins of paint, asbestos and general household waste. Rubbish can be harmful to the environment and can kill wildlife & livestock.

Fly tipping left on the side of the road is cleared by Bromsgrove District Council, at a cost to the Council Taxpayer, whereas the cost to clear rubbish left on private land (dumped over the fence or gate) is borne by the farmer/landowner.

The recent incidents of fly tipping are not the odd bag of waste.  Some may have been transported by a small van, most has been transported by a much larger vehicle.

If you witness or have information relating to fly tipping:

  • To report large-scale illegal dumping (such as lorries dumping rubbish) and hazardous waste, you CAN contact CrimeStoppers anonymously, tel. 0800 555 111, the Rural Crime Hotline tel. 0800 783 0137 or online at https://forms.theiline.co.uk/ruralcrimehotline (select ‘Large-scale, industrial fly-tipping’ from the drop-down box.

Ewe Slaughtered

Overnight a ewe has been killed, butchered and taken from a field near the “scrap yard”. Fencing has been damaged.

Did you see or anything suspicious last night? Please report to the police, tel. 101.

Please remain vigilant. Always report suspicious activity and share with your local verified Neighbourhood Watch Group admin@fvca.org.uk

Visa Secure Telephone Scam

A resident has “had two automated phishing phone calls so far today from a bogus company called Visa Secure telling us that a £600 transaction has taken place on our account. The voice then asks you to press 1 to speak to an advisor. I waited and they hung up. I understand an elderly neighbour has had five such calls but was savvy enough to ignore.”

If you receive a similar telephone call, PUT THE PHONE DOWN, do not carry out any instructions that may be given.

PLEASE make sure your elderly neighbours are aware of this scam.

Suspicious Vehicle Activity

Last night (10th September) a car with 2 Asian men were acting very suspiciously around Fairfield. They parked in the Swan car park at the very top where it dark. One man came from Swan Lane and got in the car which then left. The car then appeared coming out of Swan Lane and returned to the car park at the top end again. This was happening between 11.15pm and 11.30pm.

At 11.45pm the car was parked in the driveway of Orchard Farm, with the engine running and just the driver. At midnight 2 men appeared from Swan Lane direction and got into the car which then drove off at speed.

This suspicious activity has been reported to the police, including the vehicle make (Dark Grey BMW) and a distinct registration number.

If you see similar or any suspicious activity:

Phone the Police, telephone 101 or if a crime is taking place 999

Share with the Community Association (admin@fvca.org.uk) so that other residents can be made aware.

Why Join Neighbourhood Watch

By registering with Neighbourhood Watch and joining the Fairfield Neighbourhood Watch Group you will be joining other residents working hard to reduce crime and building a stronger community.

As a member of Neighbourhood Watch you will receive national alerts and the Our Watch newsletter, which is produce 6 times a year.  Local Neighbourhood Watch news will be shared via Fairfield Village Community Association’s e-Circular, by posts on the Association’s Facebook Page, at the monthly residents’ meetings and in the quarterly newsletters.  You can subscribe to the e-Circulars by filling in the Subscribe to Newsletter form on the Community Association’s website, http://fvca.org.uk

One of the benefits of being a member of Neighbourhood Watch is discounted home insurance.  Some (not all) home insurance providers offer a discount to members of Neighbourhood Watch.  Cooperative Insurance are currently offering a discount of 10% off their Home Insurance policy if you quote NHW10 and buy the policy over the telephone, tel: 0800 781 1390 (t&cs apply).  Some providers ask for you to declare that you are a Neighbourhood Watch member by answering a question contained in their online form and some insurers will ask for proof that you are part of an active Neighbourhood Watch group. Discounts offered will vary and will depend on lots of other factors to do with your home as well. 

Should you make an insurance claim, policy providers may seek evidence that you are an active member of your local Neighbourhood Watch, e.g. displaying Neighbourhood Watch/SmartWater stickers in windows, attending local Neighbourhood Watch (Fairfield Village Community Association) meetings and get involved with crime prevention initiatives, such as property marking – so don’t lie about being an active member of a group if you’re not.

The Fairfield Neighbourhood Watch Group (covers the Village of Fairfield and the hamlet of Stoneybridge) is part of Fairfield Village Community Association, membership is open to all residents.  Unlike many other local Watch Groups, we do not charge a membership fee, operating by fundraising and seeking grant aid.  Please support the Community Association’s fundraising activities.

To join Neighbourhood Watch visit https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/ ock

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.

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/, 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.