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Good Neighbours Update December 2017

I've been made of aware of just a few things to watch out for recently that I thought would be worth sharing with you; 65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. Action Fraud are also warning about the ‘PayPal’ fake email that tells you that your account has been suspended – do not click on the box to ‘confirm account’. It is also worth knowing that @action_fraud_uk is a FAKE account, the real Action Fraud is working to get them shut down as this account is not verified and is hijacking conversations and asking for personal information.

Individuals and businesses are being warned by E-Cops to watch out for cold calls and online contact from fraudsters who are offering victims the opportunity to apply for Government grants for an advance fee. To make the grants look legitimate, fraudsters have set up bogus companies and convincing looking websites that claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government. Be wary of unsolicited callers implying that you can apply for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid credit card. The government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused.

We have been notified by quite a number of residents that the phone scam claiming to be from HMRC is doing the rounds at the moment. The calls can be quite upsetting as they claim that you have a court action against you. Some people have had messages left saying that they are in ‘a lot of trouble’. Please be aware of this scam and don’t panic if you get this call. The advice we give is ‘Keep Calm and Hang Up’. You could ask your service provider to block the number they are calling from too. You can dial 1471 after the call to find the last number that called you and spam texts can be forwarded to 7726 (which spells SPAM on your phone keypad).

Sutton Police Dept. (USA) have put out a facebook warning as follows: ‘Please be aware of some of the posts you comment on. Beware of the ones who ask your favourite teachers name, your childhood best friend, where you were born, favourite place, first pet, where you went on your first flight? Posted as ‘getting to know you’ questions, these are the same security questions asked when setting up accounts and you are giving out the answers to your security questions without realising it. Hackers can then build a profile of you from several different data sources and they can then use this information to open accounts or lines of credit in your name.’ I’ve seen these questions myself so this is clearly a UK issue too, though I hadn’t realised at the time!


All that remains is for me to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Kind Regards

Elaine Mountfort

Community Protection Officer

People and Communities Directorate

Telephone: 01954 286006 or 07810153604

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good Neighbours Update

Hello again Everyone

 We have been informed of several scams where payment is requested by iTune cards or vouchers. ITunes have a warning on their page as follows:

‘A string of scams are taking place asking people to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection, and utility bills. The scams are committed using many methods, including gift cards. As the fraudsters are sometimes using iTunes Gift Cards, we want to make sure our customers are aware of these scams.

Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula: The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment by purchasing iTunes Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.

It's important to know that iTunes Gift Cards can be used ONLY to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership. If you're approached to use the cards for payment outside of the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music, you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it to Action Fraud.’

Along similar lines, Amazon have put out this warning:

Amazon UK customers have again been targeted by a new email scam that attempts to access their personal accounts through the promise of a £50 gift card.

A fresh batch of fake emails offering a voucher for have been circling the inboxes of their UK customer base. 

This is the second time in under a month that British users of the world’s leading e-commerce company have been the recipient of phishing emails.

Last month Amazon users were subjected to an attempted trick that claimed there was a problem with a recent order from the shopping site.

This time around customers are thanked for their loyalty before being invited to click a link that reveals the remainder of a code which will entitle them to £50 of online store credit.


This scam email has been arriving in some customer's inboxes

Clicking on the hyperlink connects the visitor to a fraudulent third-party phishing site instructing them to complete a quick survey about their customer experience with Amazon. 

However, each time you click on the link to “reveal the full code”, you are connected to a different survey site, which then in turn offers a reward and not the gift card as promised.

This latest scam comes after fraudulent emails had been distributed to Apple iPhone users and Netflix subscribers, as well as one claiming to be from HMRC.

Amazon does offer advice on its website to help customers identify fake emails or phishing attempts. 

Genuine%20e-mails%20come%20from%20an%20e-mail%20address%20ending%20in%20%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">“Genuine e-mails come from an e-mail address ending in "", “” or “”."

Finally, I have also been hearing about a number of residents suffering from ‘Ransomware’ where a pop-up appears on your computer screen claiming that your computer is infected by a virus (often this is ‘scareware’ and it isn’t really!). Please do not call the number or pay, a local gentleman lost £300 to these scammers. To protect yourselves from this take a look at the ‘Get Safe Online (GSO)’ website. However the GSO top three ways to protect yourself are using strong passwords, installing anti-virus software (up to date and turned on) and installing system updates as soon as possible. If everyone took these simple steps GSO claim it would cut 80% of computer scams, and it is easy to follow advice.

Keep well and enjoy Christmas shopping, 

Kind Regards

Elaine Mountfort

Community Protection Officer

People and Communities Directorate


Telephone: 01954 286006 or 07810153604

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good Neighbours Update

These updates are from the Community Protection Team

If you have had an accident which you have reported please be aware if someone contacts you regarding compensation. It is easy to assume that this person is from the organisation you have been in contact with, particularly as they may know many details of the accident. Several people have recently mentioned that they have been contacted this way and one was asked to go to a supermarket to buy £225 worth of iTunes vouchers in order for the compensation to be released. You will be happy to hear that in this instance the person in question realised it was a scam before spending the money.

If you are a small (or large!) business owner please be aware of the postal scam where you are contacted and asked to update your details for a database, eg VAT details for the UK Corporate Portal. When you respond you are actually signing up to a contract. The letter suggests that there is no charge but beware, there is, the details are well hidden in a jargon-filled letter. Also watch out for another email claiming to originate from Companies House regarding a complaint against your business, the subject line may contact a case reference as well. We are told that there is a virus embedded within this email that will infect the machine upon opening,

Good neighbours stop rogue traders


Picture of Houses

Can you help stop doorstep criminals in their tracks?

Talk to your neighbour if you suspect they are being conned.

The information below may help you spot the signs and get involved to stop rogue traders.


Signs of a rogue trader:


  • Traders have been cold calling in the area

  • A builder's van is parked nearby, particularly one that doesn't include a company name or contact details

  • Building or maintenance work on your neighbour's garden or house starts unexpectedly

  • Poor quality work is visible on the roof, driveway, or property

  • Your neighbour appears anxious or distressed

  • Your neighbour visits the bank, building society, or post office more frequently, particularly if they are accompanied by a trader


    What can I do?


  • Ask your neighbour in private -- in person or on the phone - if things are OK

  • If they are displeased, suggest calling a relative or carer on their behalf

  • Note any vehicle registration numbers, but make sure you don’t put yourself at risk trying to obtain such information!

  • Keep hold of any flyers you have received through your door

  • Ask if the trader has left any paperwork and put it in a clean food bag

  • For advice call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06

  • If the situation with the trader becomes volatile, call the Police.