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Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers Using WannaCry Attack to Lure Victims

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop-up window.  The window, which wouldn’t close, said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection.  The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (which is actually free) and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support.  Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages
  • Never allow remote access to your computer
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls.  If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you

If you believe you have already been a victim

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Ransomware Cyber Attack

Following the ransomware cyber attack on Friday 12th May which affected the NHS and is believed to have affected many other organisations globally, the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued an alert urging both individuals and businesses to follow protection advice immediately and in the coming days.

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (“malware”) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down files on your computer or mobile device.  Criminals will use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore access to your files.  There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, whether it be a link to a malicious website in an unsolicited email, or through a security vulnerability in a piece of software you use.

Key Protect Messages for Businesses to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network, as any malware infection could spread to that too

The National Cyber Security Centre’s technical guidance includes specific software patches to use that will prevent uninfected computers on your network from becoming infected with the “WannaCry” Ransomware: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-latest-ncsc-guidance

For additional in-depth technical guidance on how to protect your organisation from ransomware, details can be found here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-your-organisation-ransomware

Key Protect Advice for Individuals:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn’t left connected to your computer, as any malware infection could spread to that too
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store, as they offer better levels of protection than some third-party stores.  Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections

Phishing/smishing
Fraudsters may exploit this high profile incident and use it as part of phishing/smishing campaigns.  We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications from the NHS.  The protect advice for that is the following:

  • An email address can be spoofed.  Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details
  • The sender’s name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number

Don’t disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another “safe” account.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

“Law Abiding Citizen” Phishing Emails

Fraudsters are sending out a high volume of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, pretending to come from various email addresses which have been compromised.

The subject line contains the recipient’s name, and the main body of text is as below:

“Hi, [name]!

“I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me.

“For instance, your address is:

“[real home address]

“I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811

“Best Wishes,”

The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name.

This attachment is thought to contain the Banking Trojan Ursniff/Gozi, hidden within an image in the document.  The Ursniff Banking Trojan attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords.  The data is subsequently used by criminals for monetary gain.

Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent your device(s) from becoming infected.

Protect yourself – please consider the following actions:

  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages: Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider).
  • Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well.
  • If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should contact your bank immediately.

If you have been affected by this or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Message sent by Action Fraud

Please Don’t Leave Property in your Vehicle

Thames Valley Police is asking residents and tradesmen to help prevent vehicle crime in Aylesbury Vale.  Please take a moment to consider the following advice:

  • When you park up your car make sure you remove any valuables from it.  Don’t try and hide property in glove boxes, boots or under seats etc. as criminals know all the places to look
  • Make sure that your vehicle is locked and the alarm is set if you have one.
  • Park in a well-lit area if you can.  Park in your garage if this is an option
  • If you need to leave tools in your vehicle, consider installing a van security box or tool vault
  • Try to park your van against something that prevents access to the back of the vehicle
  • Make sure that anyone acting suspiciously around parked vehicles is reported immediately to the police.  Try to get a description of them and details of any vehicle they may be using.  If they are on foot or on a bike try to see what direction they are going in
  • Don’t leave it to someone else to make the call – you may be the only witness.  Call on the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101, or if you think a crime is actually happening at that time dial 999

Property left in vehicles can tempt an opportunist thief to break into a parked car or van.  Don’t make life easy for criminals and make sure they are not able to steal from your vehicle.

If you have any information about vehicle crime you can contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.  If you don’t want to talk to the police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or report it online.  No personal details will be taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Attempted Theft from Vehicle in Bridgeway

A Bridgeway resident accidentally left her car unlocked last night.  This morning, the contents of the glove compartment were strewn across the front seat.

Happily, nothing was taken, but villagers are warned to take extra care that their cars are locked when not in use.  If you see anyone suspicious, try to get a description of them along with details of any vehicle they might be using.  Call it through on 101 or, if a crime is happening at that time, dial 999.

Pre-recorded Prank Calls

There has been a recent rise of prank calls within Thames Valley.  These calls are pre-recorded generated responses giving the impression that recipients are actually speaking directly to someone.

The calls are not all the same.  However one of the main scenarios has been described as an angry Scottish man claiming you are stealing his Wi-Fi.  Sometimes there is a mobile phone number showing and other times the number is withheld.

It appears that these calls are predominantly targeting elderly and young people and can cause alarm and distress to the call taker.  We urge people to take the following advice:

  • Anyone with particular concerns can contact us on our Police non-emergency number 101.  Otherwise ignore the call.
  • You can contact your local phone provider who may be able to put a block on these types of calls.
  • If you are getting calls at night, you could put your phone on night mode or switch it off.

Message sent by Sophie Dyer (Police staff, Comms, Forcewide)

Fraudulent Emails Alert

If you receive an e-mail entitled ‘paedophile alert in your area’ or ‘sex offender map of your area’ from Neighbourhood Watch do not click on the link as it is fraudulent.

If you receive either e-mail please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Message sent by Antonia Bairstow (Communications Officer, Thames Valley Police)

Fake Amazon Emails Claim You Have Placed an Order

Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon.  The spoofed emails from “service@amazon.co.uk” claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.

The scam email claims recipients have ordered an expensive vintage chandelier.  Other reported examples include: Bose stereos, iPhones and luxury watches.

The emails cleverly state that if recipients haven’t authorised the transaction they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund.  The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information.

Amazon says that suspicious e-mails will often contain:

  • Links to websites that look like Amazon.co.uk, but aren't Amazon.co.uk.
  • Attachments or prompts to install software on your computer.
  • Typos or grammatical errors.
  • Forged (or spoofed) e-mail addresses to make it look like the e-mail is coming from Amazon.co.uk.

Amazon will never ask for personal information to be supplied by e-mail.
  You can read more about identifying suspicious emails claiming to be from Amazon by visiting https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201489210
 
To report a fraud or cyber crime, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Reminder Not to Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle

The Aylesbury Vale Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NHPTs) are reminding residents to remove property from their parked vehicles.

Recent thefts have included briefcases, Christmas presents, clothing, house keys, a brand new satnav and tools from vans.

It is likely that these crimes have been committed by opportunist criminals, tempted by property left on display.  If they see something inside a parked car it only takes a moment to smash a window and grab the property.

Please don’t make life easy for them and take a moment to read the following points:-

  • Don’t leave items on display – even a carrier bag could tempt them to take a closer look, resulting in the loss of your property and vehicle being out of service while it is being fixed.
  • Don’t try and hide property inside your car – property is easily stolen from boots or other compartments within the vehicle.
  • Park in a well-lit area if possible and make sure the vehicle is locked and the alarm engaged if you have one.
  • Report anyone acting suspiciously around parked vehicles at the time that you see them.  Don’t leave it to someone else – you might be the only witness.
  • If you do see someone try and get a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they might be using.  Call it through on 101, or if a crime is happening at that time dial on 999.
  • If you discover that your vehicle has been broken into make sure you let the police know.

Recent thefts have been reported in the Aylesbury, Brill, Oakley and Great Horwood areas.  Please help the police by reducing the opportunities for criminals.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Warning to Drivers on B4011 Long Crendon to Thame – Update

It was reported to Thames Valley Police that on Friday afternoon, 18th November, a box of nails had fallen on the carriageway at B4011 Bicester Road between Long Crendon and Thame.  The road was cleared soon after the report, but drivers who were on that road on Friday afternoon are advised to check their tyres for nails.

Anyone who thinks they may have been affected by this incident and has proof is asked to call 101 and ask for URN 611 25/11.

Message sent by Lucy Billen (Media Officer, Thames Valley Police)

Advance Courier Fee Fraud

People selling their items on online platforms are falling victim to a new type of advance fee fraud.  This involves a fraudster, posing as a buyer, sending an email to the seller (victim), agreeing to the full asking price of the item.  They state that they are unable to collect the item themselves and will arrange for a courier to pick it up instead.

The fraudster then sends a fake payment confirmation email from a different email address, one which falsely purports to be from a payment platform.  In the course of the email exchange, the seller/victim is requested to pay the courier fee.  Once the payment is made the contact is broken, the item is not picked up and the money paid for the ‘courier’ is gone.

An example of the most recent emails received by the victim/seller, from the ‘Buyer’, read:
“I want you to consider this a deal as i am willing to pay your full asking price!  i actually want to buy it for a family member who is urgently in need of it, i have checked through your posting and i'm fully satisfied with it.  Unfortunately, i would not be able to come personally to view/collect, i work offshore as an instructor on a oil rig so i dont have time at all, but like i said i am 100% OK with the advert”

Protect Yourself:

  • Be wary when buyers wish to purchase items at the full asking price without viewing them.
  • Check the validity of the payment receipt confirmation
  • Avoid paying an advanced fee if you are a seller; should you choose to use a courier, arrange your own.
  • Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller/buyer. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers/sellers have made.
  • If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Dog Stolen in Haddenham

A Haddenham vet reports that a dog has been stolen from a house in the village.

His advice is not to leave your dog alone at home if at all possible, to shut the curtains if the dog is to be indoors for a long period by itself, and to make extra sure that doors are locked.

Apparently, dog thieves follow you when out walking to see where you live, and then come back later.  So if you happen to notice a car following you or acting strangely that you don't recognise, it might be worth making note of the number plate.

There are more details and advice for dog owners on the Haddenham.net website.

Fake Email Addresses

This alert is a reminder to be aware of emails that appear to have been sent from a legitimate organisation.  Fraudsters often use fake email addresses designed to encourage recipients to open attachments or links.  You are advised that if you are in any doubt as to the origin of an email, do not open it.  Consider that emails can be spoofed and used to generate spam to recipients far and wide.  If you receive a spam email, you MUST NOT open it.  Instead, delete it from your email system to avoid infecting your device.  If you have opened an attachment from a spam email, you should get your device checked over by a professional and change the passwords for all your bank, email and online shopping accounts.

Protect yourself:

  • Do not click or open unfamiliar links in emails or on websites.
  • Make sure you install and use up-to-date anti-virus software.
  • Have a pop-up blocker running in the background of your web browser.
  • If you have opened an attachment and ‘enabled macros’ it is very likely that all your personal data will have been breached. You MUST change all your passwords for personal accounts, including your bank accounts.
  • Ensure Adobe, Flash and any similar software is up to date on your computer.

If you think you have been a victim of this type of email you should report the email to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre: www.actionfraud.police.uk.  If you do make a report please provide as much detail as you can about the email and any effects it has had on your computer.  Additionally, if your Anti-Virus software detects any issues in relation to this email, please provide us with the details.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

The Good Citizen Award Scam

Action Fraud has been receiving reports of an advanced fee fraud whereby suspects phone a member of the public and claim to be calling on behalf of the UK (or British) Government Grant Department.

They go on to state that the individual has won a Good Citizen Award – of typically £8,000 – and that the grant can be released for a fee (of around £210).

Fortunately, very few members of the public have lost any money as a result of this scam but have reported to Action Fraud in order to help build a picture of this fraud and protect others from falling victim to it.

Protect yourself:

  • There is no genuine ‘Good Citizen Award’ scheme in the UK that operates by cold calling “winners” and asking for an upfront fee to release a grant.
  • If you receive a call that claims to represent such a scheme, it is a scam.  End the phone call – do not give out any personal or financial data.

If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

“Your Package Has Been Seized” Royal Mail Scam Email

Fraudsters are sending out virus-infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.  The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to a document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords.

An example email reads:

   Title: Your parcel has been seized

   Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.

   A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified. If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges.

   You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back. Please review the attached PDF document for more information.

   Document (RM7002137GB).Zip

   Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

To help the spread of the virus, the email also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”. 

If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud.

Protect Yourself:

  • Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information.
  • Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.
  • Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by a customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail.
  • Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone: 0300 123 2040

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Tips for a Theft-Free Christmas

Det Insp Andy Shearwood, from the Force crime strategy unit, said: “At this time of year we all want to relax and enjoy time with our family and loved ones.

“Unfortunately, as we do our Christmas shopping, gather our gifts and leave our homes to visit family and friends, it can provide opportunities for thieves.

“Burglary and theft can have a devastating effect on victims.  There are simple steps we can all take to reduce the chances of being affected by crime.>

“By taking a moment to protect our property we can better ensure a happy holiday period.”

How to protect your home and belongings this Christmas:

  • Make sure Christmas gifts are not on display in vehicles where they are a temptation to thieves
  • Gifts piled together and on show through the house window or under the Christmas tree are easy pickings in the event of a burglary.  It is advisable to store them elsewhere if you can
  • Look after your new belongings and dispose of boxes and rubbish discreetly.  Leaving boxes outside your home will advertise the new and valuable items to burglars
  • You can property mark your belongings.  Visit Immobilise (LINK) for more information.
  • Vacant homes are a temptation to thieves.  Ensure your home is secure
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to pop in for a while at intervals and turn on lights or appliances to make the property look occupied.  Alternatively invest in a timer switch to make it look as though someone is home<
  • Be cautious when using social media and do not advertise that your home is or will be empty when you are away

Message sent by Victoria Taylor (Police, Communications Officer, Thames Valley)

Elderly Targeted by Fake Police Officers

There has been a recent series of incidents whereby fraudsters either phone or attend the home address of elderly members of the public, claiming to be police officers.

The fake officer(s) will claim that they are investigating a fraud which they believe the elderly person to be a victim of.  The fake officer(s) will then request the bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs) of the victim and claim these are needed for investigation purposes.  If the first contact was made by a phone call, the fake officer(s) will tell the victim that someone will be over to collect the evidence.  In one case the victim was instructed to attend their local bank and withdraw all of the money from their account.  The suspect was left alone in the victim’s house whilst the victim carried out the instructions.

Protect Yourself

  • Before letting anyone into your home who claims to be from any law enforcement agency, ask to see their identity card and check it by calling 101
  • Ask if they can attend at a pre-arranged time when a family member or friend can also be present
  • If you receive a phone call from a police officer, ask for their name and force and tell them you will call them back.  Wait a few minutes and then use 101 to call them back through their force’s switchboard and verify their identity
  • The Police will never ask for your PIN or passwords.  Do not give this information to anyone
  • The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

TalkTalk Cyber Attack

TalkTalk, the phone and broadband provider, has been the victim of a cyber attack on their website commonly referred to as a DDoS – distributed denial of service attack.  This has led to hackers accessing TalkTalk’s servers and stealing personal data, which could affect over four million customers.  It is currently unknown exactly what data has been stolen but TalkTalk has stated that there is a chance that some of the following data could have been accessed:

  • Name and addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Talk Talk account information
  • Credit card and banking details

Protect yourself:

  • Be wary of any emails claiming to be from TalkTalk asking for additional information such as passwords even if they are able to tell you specific account details – this could be a phishing email and sent to gain access to your account.
  • If you have opened an email attachment please ensure you change the passwords for all your bank, email and online shopping accounts.
  • As well as emails be wary of any telephone calls claiming to be from TalkTalk that ask for additional information or want to gain remote access to your computer.  Again they may tell you specific details about your account.  If you get such a call do not give any details, terminate the call, use a separate telephone line/mobile phone and call TalkTalk back on one of their known numbers to ascertain if the call is genuine.
  • Monitor your bank accounts for any unusual activity that you believe may be fraudulent.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Council Tax Scam

Fraudsters have been phoning victims telling them that they have been placed in the wrong council tax bracket for a number of years and are entitled to a rebate.  They normally say that this rebate should be worth about £7,000.  Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance.  The payment they ask for varies between £60–£350.  The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone.  When they phone their council about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters.

The fraudsters have mainly been targeting both male and female victims who are aged 60 and over and live in the Sussex area, but it is likely that the fraudsters will also start to target victims in other areas.

Protect yourself:

  • Never respond to unsolicited phone calls.
  • Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate.  If you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away.
  • No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order to receive money, so never give them your card details.
  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open.  Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud.  Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Adobe and LinkedIn Phishing Email Scams

Current spam email campaigns are trying to infiltrate or infect email accounts by pretending to come from either Adobe or LinkedIn Support. The emails from LinkedIn claim “irregular activities have prompted a compulsory security update”.  The Adobe emails attempt to direct the user to “the latest updates”.

Phishing is an attempt by a fraudster to steal valuable information by pretending to be a company that you know and use.  It relies on people thinking that the message is genuine.  Victims are initially sent an email that will have either a link to a website, or contain an attachment.  What the fraudsters want you to do is click on the link or attachment so that they can steal valuable information from your computer, like your bank account or credit card details.

Protect yourself:

  • Look at who the email is addressed to – many will say “Dear user” or “Dear valued customer” and will not be addressed directly to you
  • If there are images included in the email they may be of a poor quality but will try to look like the company they are trying to represent
  • The message may have a few spelling mistakes
  • Do not click on the link supplied.  Instead, go to the relevant website and log in from there

If you need to report a fraud, please call action fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use the action fraud reporting tool, via the action fraud website www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Message sent by Action Fraud (Administrator, National)

Vehicle Theft in Haddenham

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information following the theft of a vehicle in Haddenham.

Between 1am and 7am on Saturday 7th March offender(s) stole a blue Land Rover Defender from a rural location on Lower Road, Haddenham.

Also, between Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March offender(s) siphoned red diesel from farm vehicles, again on Lower Road.

Officers from the Waddesdon Neighbourhood Policing team are investigating these crimes.  They would like to speak to anyone that might have any information that might help with their enquiries.

If you have any information please call PCSO Sue Jones or PCSO Denise Grayburn on the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don’t want to speak to the police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.  No personal details will be taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not have to go to court.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Fraud of the Rings

Please be aware of a fraud which is being reported around the South-East of England at the moment.

Whilst driving, the victim is flagged down by a man (or men) next to a broken down vehicle.  The man states that he needs money to get petrol.  As payment, the man offers the victim one to three “gold” rings and may also provide a business card suggesting links to Berlin, Germany or Glasgow, Scotland.  The amount of cash taken is between £20 and £300.  However, the rings are worthless and definitely not precious.

Offences are occurring on ‘A’ roads and slip roads at major junctions in the South of England.  One victim reports seeing the same offender(s) back at the same spot (the A41 bypass near Tring, on this occasion) two days later at approximately 12:50pm.

All suspects are described as male and with dark hair.  The description of the “broken down” vehicle varies.  Offenders seem to target men over the age of 55.

Prevention advice:

  • Do not accept jewellery as payment!

If you need to report a fraud please do not reply to this email; report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or using the action fraud reporting tool via the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk

Message sent by Action Fraud (Administrator, National)

Avoid Being a Victim of Online Auction Scams

Online auction sites are regularly targeted by fraudsters advertising desirable items for sale which are below market value, but do not exist.  Fraudsters use a variety of techniques to persuade the potential buyer that the item is genuine and that any advanced payment will be protected or reimbursed should the product be faulty or not received.

Protect yourself:

  • Stay within the auction guidelines stipulated on the website
  • Be aware that payments made via bank transfer, money transfer or e-money are not protected should you not receive the item
  • View the item in person if possible
  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is

If you need to report a fraud please do not reply to this email; report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or using the action fraud reporting tool via the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk

Message sent by Action Fraud (Administrator, National)

 

“We are Holding a Parcel in Your Name” Scam

Scam postcards are being delivered to UK residents’ homes claiming that a parcel containing “jewellery” is waiting for the homeowner.  The personally addressed postcards say:

“The office is attempting to reach you.  To claim this parcel and accept this offer, you must telephone the number below immediately and arrange for a delivery.  The item is prepaid, but a processing and delivery free of £10 must be remitted.  This fee can be paid only by telephone and only with a credit card (VISA or MasterCard).  This is your only notification.”

If you call the 020 number you are asked to pay £10 by credit card.  Victims who have reported this to Action Fraud have said that the automated service told them the package would be delivered the same day, but did not receive anything.

Action Fraud has received several reports of this recently occurring fraud and this information has been assessed by National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) resulting in disruption of the fraudster’s phone number.

Also be on the lookout for slight variations of this scam, which use different phone numbers and delivery items.

Protection and Reporting Advice

If you receive one these postcards:
   - Do not call the number provided
   - Do not give your card details
   - If you receive a delivery card through your letterbox which you do not believe is genuine and which asks you to dial a premium rate number, you can contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm) for further guidance.

If you receive one of these delivery cards, do not pay any money and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool.

Message sent by Action Fraud

Top Safety Tips to Help Avoid Job Scams

Get Safe Online, Safer Jobs and Action Fraud are warning people to take precautions whilst looking for jobs online, to avoid falling victim to scammers.

There are a number of different ways in which job-seekers could be defrauded.  These range from direct financial scams to misleading job descriptions.

Safer-Jobs, the recruitment industry’s counter fraud forum, provide free advice to ensure that people have a safer job search.  They suggest several steps which any other job-seeker should take when dealing with a potential employer:

1. Never part with money – employers should pay you, not the other way round.  If asked to pay for security checks, visas, training, or anything else, you should research the job, the company, and never use any associated company suggested to you without conducting independent thorough research.

2. Never take it on face value – have you received an ‘out of the blue’, ‘too good to be true’ job offer?  Be sceptical and ask questions.  Why and how have you been contacted, what is the job, did you apply?  Be wary of any non-business, generic email address (such as hotmail and yahoo), poorly written job adverts or job descriptions, and emails or contact at unusual times of the day (unless pre-arranged).

3. Never do everything online – whilst technology is a great enabler to help people find work, at some point your job discussion should lead to an interview or a meeting.  Hiring agents who keep the relationship solely on email must be treated extremely cautiously.

4. Never fail to do research – find out about the company that the job is with and do your research!  Check landline telephone numbers and call the end employer to check the job exists.  Use social media and sources such as Companies House and LinkedIn to dig deeper into the organisations and people you are interacting with.

5. Never phone them for an interview – premium rate phone scams are common.  This is where an individual calls a pay-for number thinking it’s an interview, when actually they are paying for every minute they stay on hold.  If an employer wants you to work for them, they will call you.

6. Never accept money for nothing – with money mule scams on the increase, beware of any employer promising ‘get rich quick’ or ‘earn thousands working from home’.  When cheques begin arriving it is easy to be fooled into being used as a money mule.

7. Never provide personal details – be suspicious of any requests for personal data ahead of an interview or registration meeting (if an agency).  Until you have the job, keep bank details safe and only provide identity details once you have met face to face.

For more information visit:
   www.actionfraud.police.uk/node/288
   www.getsafeonline.org
   www.safer-jobs.com

Message sent by Action Fraud

Burglary in Dadfield Close

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information following a recent burglary in Cuddington.

Overnight on Friday 2nd to Saturday 3rd January offender(s) gained entry by forcing a rear ground floor window of a property on Dadfield Close.  They made a search of the ground floor, stealing a handbag, wallet and cash.

Det Con Gemma Howe from Aylesbury Local CID is the officer investigating this crime.  She would like to hear from anyone who might have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area that night.  If you have any information please call Det Con Howe via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don’t want to speak to the police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.  No personal details will be taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not have to go to court.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Vehicle Theft Warning in Frosty Conditions

Drivers throughout the Thames Valley area are urged not to leave their vehicles unattended with the engine running on frosty mornings.

Opportunist thieves could be on the lookout to take advantage of such a situation.  It only needs a moment for a thief to jump behind the wheel and drive off in your car.  Even if the door is locked, a thief will not think twice about smashing a window to get in.

The simple message is not to leave a running car unattended for any length of time, whether it is left on your own driveway to de-ice on a cold winter morning, or for example while you pop to post a letter or pay for fuel.  Give yourself extra time to defrost all your cars windows and don’t be tempted to leave the car even for a few moments.  A car unattended with its engine running is a golden opportunity for a thief.

As well as causing a huge amount of upset and stress, this type of theft can also result in your insurance company refusing to settle the claim because the vehicle was left running whilst unattended.  You could potentially lose thousands of pounds.

You can watch a video on our Thames Valley Police YouTube account which provides Winter Driving Tips, including not leaving your car unattended with the keys in the ignition.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Attempted Car Hold-Up in Haddenham

A Chearsley resident was the victim of an attempted hold-up in his car on Friday 23rd January.

The assailant ran out in to the road from another vehicle parked in Churchway, Haddenham, and flagged down the car.  As he approached the victim’s car, he was shouting that he had run out of petrol and then forcibly opened the driver’s door.

The man was described as being of Mediterranean complexion and overweight.  Apparently, there was another person in the assailant’s vehicle but no description is available, nor of the car.

The victim managed to repel the intruder and drive off.  A lesser person or woman might not have been able to do so.  Apparently, this is not an isolated incident: others have been discussed at Ivor Miles garage, Haddenham recently.

Please take great care if someone attempts to flag down your car, and keep your car doors locked.  If you have information you would like to share with Thames Valley Police, please call the 24 hour, non-emergency number 101.  If you believe a crime is in progress, please always dial 999.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.  No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Theft from Vehicle in Cuddington – Updated

On Friday 14th November, between 10am and 11am, items were stolen from a vehicle which was parked in the area of Dadbrook.

A young white male aged between 25-30yrs old, short brown hair, slim build, 5’10”-6’, was seen in the area during this time.  He may have been carrying a black rucksack.

If you have any information which may help police with their enquiries, please call the non-emergency telephone number 101 and quote URN 803 dated 14/11/2014, or contact PCSO C9830 Sue Jones at haddenhamnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

Thames Valley Police says that in recent weeks there has been an increase in the amount of tools stolen from vans overnight in the Aylesbury Vale area.  Sat navs left inside vehicles have also been targeted.

Thames Valley Police is urging residents to be extra vigilant during the longer, darker winter nights.  Take all personal belongings out of your vehicles when unattended and make sure you set your alarm, if your vehicle has one.

For more crime prevention advice please visit the Thames Valley Police site.

Christmas Crime Prevention – Online Fraud

Top tips on avoiding online fraud this Christmas

If you shop, bank or make transactions online, please consider the crime prevention advice below to make sure that your personal details are protected from fraudsters and computer hackers:

  • Is your web browser security set to the highest level?  Examples of web browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome.
  • Use the latest version of a web browser for added security.  Use automatic updates to keep your computer and web browser security up-to-date.
  • Is there a padlock symbol at the bottom of the web browser and ‘https’ at the start of the web address?  If they are not there, don’t enter any bank or card details.
  • If you are concerned, telephone the company to ask about its online encryption.
  • Print out electronic receipts and keep them in a safe place.
  • Check bank and card statements to make sure that the details match.
  • Never give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone – this includes anyone who claims to be from your bank.
  • Your bank will never ask you to re-enter your account information. They will never ask you to send your PIN number in an email.

For more information, visit the Financial Fraud Action UK website. Financial Fraud Action UK is a banking group that works with police and retailers to help prevent credit card fraud.

If you are a victim of internet fraud, report it by calling your bank or credit card company directly.  They will verify the crime and report it to Action Fraud.  This reduces bureaucracy and speeds up investigations.

Bank Safe Online is the UK banking industry’s initiative to help online banking customers to stay safe online.  For more information, visit the Bank Safe Online website.

 

Malicious Emails in Circulation

There is a malicious email doing the rounds and one or two villagers’ PCs have already become infected.

If you receive an email containing a link to a suspicious web page, even if the email is from someone you know, delete the email immediately.  Do not click on the link.  The email will typically have a bland subject – often the sender’s name.

If you do click on the link, your email account will probably be hacked and will be used to send out more of these emails to the contacts in your address book.  If you suspect that your email account has been compromised, change your email account password immediately.  Make sure that your internet security software is up to date and run a virus scan on your PC.

Chris Long

Scam Warning – Reminder

Thames Valley Police are reissuing a warning to residents to be on their guard from fraudulent phone calls purporting to be from banks or police officers and requesting bank and card details or asking people to withdraw large amounts of cash.

On Tuesday (28/10) the victim, an elderly man, was contacted by a man claiming to be a police officer from London.  The victim was advised to withdraw £7000 from his bank as his bank was suspected of handling counterfeit money and was being investigated by both the police and the FBI.

The victim was instructed not to discuss the reason for the withdrawal with the bank.

The victim, having completed the withdrawal, returned home to await collection of the money by a courier.

The bank, being suspicious of the withdrawal, contacted Thames Valley Police who were able to respond and intercept the package prior to it being handed over to a taxi in Oxford.

Instructions by the criminals to the taxi firm had initially been to collect a passenger, before it was changed to a package which was to be delivered to an Oxford address.  The instruction again changed and the driver was offered £500 to take the package to London.

Det Ch Insp Andy Bird, leading investigations into courier fraud, said: “We continue to work hard to prevent and detect offences of courier fraud across the Thames Valley.

“Offenders are very plausible and target honest upstanding members of the community who are more likely to believe the lies they are told.  I urge everyone to remain vigilant.  Please read our advice so you are aware of the tactics being used by criminals, so that you can prevent yourself and other people you know from becoming a victim of these types of scams.

“We have been working closely with banks and taxi firms to help them identify the factors involved in scams like this, which often target vulnerable members of our community.  This crime was fortunately prevented thanks to the quick thinking of the bank staff, who contacted us as soon as they suspected something was amiss.”

The scam, which often targets the elderly and vulnerable, sees the victim receive a phone call from fraudsters who say they are from their bank or the police.  They tell the victim that they are calling because there has been suspicious activity on their account and advise them to call the bank from the number on the back of their card to confirm details.

The victim disconnects the phone and dials their bank or police straight away, however the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though a number is dialled, it is not connected and the victim is still on the phone to the fraudster, who then gains their trust and asks them to either say or key in their PIN, before telling them their card will be collected and a replacement delivered.

Once the fraudster has all the information they need, a courier is sent to collect the card from the victim.  The offender has obtained the person’s name, address, full bank details, the card itself and the PIN.  The bank cards are then used fraudulently without the victim’s knowledge.

The fraudsters who carry out this type of crime are very skilled in portraying themselves as authentic bank employees or police detectives, and make the scam seem genuine by asking the victim to ring their bank.  Our advice is that, if you receive such a call, end it immediately.

We would also like to ask residents to let any elderly or vulnerable family members, friends, or neighbours know about the scam.  Remember, your bank will never attend your home; and neither the bank nor the police will ever collect your bank card or ask for your PIN.  The more we can spread the word about this type of fraud, the less success the fraudsters will have.

There are a number of variations to the scam, including:

  • Fraudster asking the victims to withdraw large amounts of cash from their bank take it home and wait for a courier to arrive.  The fraudster claims that the money is fake and they are helping the police with their investigation and would get the monies withdrawn back the next day.  They are told not to tell the bank staff what the money is for and to make an excuse such as it is required to buy a new car.
  • Fraudsters call the customer pretending to be from the police or a bank and ask them to transfer funds via online banking.  Again, they ask the customer to call their bank but keep the line open
  • Fraudsters pretending to be from the police cold-calling members of the public and telling them that their bank account has been compromised by criminals.  The fraudster suggests that the person should transfer their bank balance into a ‘safe’ police bank account

If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website.  In an emergency, dial 999.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Aylesbury Vale Launches Winter Burglary Operation

Thames Valley Police in Aylesbury Vale starts its winter burglary operation today, 27th October, to combat dwelling burglaries and raise awareness on how to keep safe during the darker winter months.

Officers will be increasing patrols in areas of Aylesbury Vale in order to deter burglars.  Residents are asked to be aware that as the clocks went back last Sunday, it is the perfect time to check that your house is not vulnerable to opportunist thieves.  Please follow the prevention tips on our website.

Thames Valley Police is working in partnership with Aylesbury Vale District Council, which is encouraging residents to keep their houses safe and secure during the winter period.

Supt Olly Wright, Local Police Area Commander for Aylesbury Vale, said: “With the clocks having gone back over the weekend, it is a great reminder for residents to check their home security and get the most up to date crime prevention advice.

“We will have an increase in targeted police patrols and be providing tips on how you can best protect your home and belongings via our social media channels, such as @TVP_Aylesbury.

“We are working closely with our partners to ensure residents remain safe during the upcoming winter period.  If you have any concerns or just want some advice and information, approach your local neighbourhood officers who will be there to assist you.

“Finally, I would urge residents to get in touch with any information they may have in relation to criminal activity occurring in their neighbourhood.  We require the help of the public and will treat any information with the strictest of confidentiality.”

Residents in Aylesbury Vale can follow crime prevention advice which is available on the Thames Valley Police website or on Twitter @ThamesVP or for localised information they can follow the Aylesbury Twitter account @TVP_Aylesbury.  Alternatively you can give us a ‘like’ on Facebook.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Don’t be Spooked this Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching, police are reminding people make sure they spend their time trick-or-treating responsibly.

Many residents enjoy Halloween and view it as harmless fun, but for others it can be distressing to receive visits from unexpected callers, particularly the elderly and those that live alone.

The neighbourhood police teams in the Thames Valley will be undertaking high-visibility patrols over the Halloween period to deal with any anti-social behaviour.  They also work with schools and parents to reduce the incidents of nuisance and criminal damage that can happen at this time of year.

You can download and print a ‘No trick-or-treat’ flyer from the Thames Valley Police website and display it in a window or visit your local station to pick up a copy.

If you or your children see this flyer displayed, please move on to the next house.  Most people will have a pumpkin or Halloween decorations on display to welcome callers.

We will also be encouraging people to watch our ‘Click Your Trick’ video which highlights the consequences of anti-social behaviour.  The film features a teenager who was convicted of arson after he and his friend put a firework through a family home as a prank in 2008.  The prank went horribly wrong with the firework setting the house on fire.  Luckily nobody was seriously injured.

We want everybody to have fun during Halloween and Bonfire night, but don’t want children and teenagers to be influenced by others into doing things that may seem minor at the time.  Please remember: your actions could have a massive impact on not only people inside their house but to your life as well.

Don’t let Halloween become a terrifying experience for all the wrong reasons, warn fire fighters.  John Robinson, station Manager from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service community safety team, said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely.  There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire.

“Just follow this safety advice for a safer Halloween: never make costumes from flammable materials, always check costumes and masks are labelled as flame resistant, keep candles away from children and ensure they are extinguished at night, and do not overload electricity sockets with lightings.”

If you are trick-or-treating this year:

  • Don’t knock where you see a ‘No Trick-or-Treat’ poster
  • Be visible and stick to well-lit streets
  • Although Halloween is meant to be spooky, be careful not to frighten people
  • Plan your trick-or-treat route before you go and let an adult know where you’ll be going and what time you will be back
  • Go with an adult when possible

If at any point you do feel nervous or unsafe:

  • Don’t open your door if you’re unsure who is there. Use your spy-hole, look out of a window, and use your door chain if you do decide to open your door
  • Have a contact number of a close relative or good neighbour by your telephone, just in case you need to phone them
  • If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know that you will be on your own at Halloween.  If you are a coordinator, please identify people in your scheme that may be vulnerable and offer them reassurance

Thames Valley Police will not tolerate any anti-social behaviour at any time of the year.  To report anti-social behaviour please call the 24 hour non-emergency number 101.  If it is a crime in progress, call 999 immediately.

Message sent by Carol Rudd (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Thames Valley)

Bike Theft Crime Prevention Advice

The Aylesbury Vale Town Neighbourhood Team are asking residents to be extra vigilant after a recent spate of thefts of bikes in the local area.  A number of offences have taken place in gardens, sheds and garages of residential properties as well as public spaces.  The team are advising residents to consider the following crime prevention advice:

  • Get a good bike lock.  Look for the Sold Secure logo on approved locks – see advice on ‘Locks’ below.
  • Always lock your bike at home and when out and about – see ‘Basic security at home’ below.
  • Always lock your bike, even if you’re only leaving it for a couple of minutes.
  • If you have quick-release wheels, lock them up too.
  • Remove lights from the bike and take them with you.
  • Identify and register your bike using BikeRegister: www.bikeregister.com

For further crime prevention advice please visit: www.thamesvalley.police.uk/bike-theft

If you have any information relating to bike thefts within the Aylesbury Vale local policing area, please contact us via 101.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.  No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Local Comms, Thames Valley Police)

See it?  Report it.  Don’t wait!

The Aylesbury Vale Neighbourhood Policing Team is asking residents to report any suspicious activity to us immediately in order to tackle rural crime, gather vital intelligence and target rural offenders.

Rural crime remains a high priority for Thames Valley Police and the Aylesbury LPA is committed to supporting and protecting rural communities that often feel vulnerable and isolated.  The neighbourhood policing teams will not be complacent and continue to actively police the rural areas of Aylesbury Vale in order to disrupt and deter criminal activity.

The Force Intelligence Bureau is working closely with rural communities to build up an overall intelligence picture surrounding rural crime.  Gathering intelligence and information is a vital part of investigating crime and it can’t be done without the public’s help.  It is this intelligence which will allow us to find, prosecute and convict the people who are committing the crimes which are affecting rural communities the most.

Insp James Davies, said: “We value input from the public to gather intelligence and help us progress police investigations related to rural offending.  Your local policing team will have a better chance of catching people committing rural crime offences if the incident is reported at the time and there are no delays.

“It’s also extremely important to report anything you might find unusual or suspicious, however unimportant it may seem at the time, as soon as you see it.  Please don’t wait to make the call”.

If you have information or intelligence you would like to share with Thames Valley Police, no matter how big or small, please either email FIBruralcrime@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk or call the 24 hour, non-emergency number 101.  If you believe it is a crime in progress, please always dial 999.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.  No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Local Comms, Thames Valley Police)

Track Your Mobile Device!

Smart phones, laptops and tablet computers have become indispensable accessories and desirable to thieves.  Thames Valley Police is advising people who own smart phones and other electrical items to protect them by installing a ‘tracker’ application.

Some devices can run ‘tracker’ applications which track the device’s location using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology.  If the device is lost or stolen, the owner can log on to their account and see on a map where the device is.  The location of the device will be shown in real time and is usually accurate to within yards.

Not all devices have this capability, but most new smart phones have tracker apps provided by the manufacturers.  A tracker app may come pre-loaded on the device or it may need to be installed.  It is best to consult the manufacturer about which applications are appropriate.

You can help protect your belongings by following these simple steps:

  • Install a tracker application on your smart phone, tablet or laptop
  • Ask your device manufacturer about which tracker application to use – downloading unknown software could damage the device and invalidate your warranty
  • If your device is stolen, act quickly.  Inform the police and tell them you have a tracker application installed
  • Do not attempt to retrieve the device yourself as it could put you in danger.  Your safety is more important than items of property

If you have an Apple product:

Activating the ‘Find My iPhone’ app allows victims and police officers to trace the device using Apple location services if lost or stolen, using the victim’s Apple ID and password.  For this to work, it must have been activated in the device’s settings before the device is lost or stolen.

To activate:
The switch under ‘settings’ then ‘iCloud’ should be moved to the ‘on’ position.  It’s not activated when the phone is sold.  If you also set a passcode lock on the phone, which is found under ‘Settings’ then ‘General’, this will prevent anyone turning off ‘Find my iPhone’.

Apple products are highly sought after and retain high resale values.  For more information about the ‘Find my iPhone’ app, visit: www.apple.com/uk/icloud/features/find-my-iphone.html.

Your device must be running iOS5 or above.  You can update your device by connecting it to your PC or Mac and following the on screen instructions in iTunes.

If you misplace your device or it is stolen, sign in at www.iCloud.com on any computer or use the ‘Find My iPhone’ app on another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to locate it on a map; display a message on its screen; set off an alarm; remotely set a passcode lock or initiate a remote wipe to delete your data.  If you eventually find your device, connect it to your computer and use iTunes to restore the data from your most recent backup.

If you have a different device:

If you have a non-Apple Smartphone, Blackberry or Android based phone or tablet there are other apps that provide a similar tracking function.  For more information visit the manufacturer’s website.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

The Dangers of Playing in Open Water

As the weather becomes warmer, it may be tempting to take a swim in open water, but we would like to remind people it is not advisable to swim or play in any lakes or open water in Aylesbury Vale.  We would like residents to be aware of the following dangers:

•    60% of all drowning incidents occur in canals, lakes and rivers
•    You can drown in just a few centimetres of water
•    If you fall or jump into the water, the cold will shock your body, making your muscles seize up so you can’t move
•    You could easily cut yourself on rubbish or rocks and you may become ill due to bacteria in the water

We would like the residents in Aylesbury Vale to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.  However, the only safe place to swim is in a swimming pool.  The water is clean, clear and warm, and there are life guards on hand if something goes wrong.

If you witness people swimming in the lakes, ponds, the river or canal, call Thames Valley Police on 101.  In an emergency call 999.

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Local Comms, Thames Valley Police)

Courier Scam – Aylesbury Vale

Thames Valley Police is warning Aylesbury Vale residents to be vigilant after a number of suspicious phone calls have been received by local residents.

The calls have been from someone purporting to be DC or PC Charlie Mitchell, shoulder number EK247, from Aylesbury Police Station.  He tells a story relating to recovering the caller’s cloned bank card and asks for their card security details and card numbers.

It’s a scam!

Sergeant Bryn Scott from the Waddesdon Neighbourhood Policing Team said “If you receive a call like this DO NOT give out any personal details.

“Remember, your bank or a genuine police officer will never ask you for your pin number or the three digit security number from the back of your card.

“If you give your details they will likely be used to purchase goods on line which will be delivered to another address.”

If you receive a similar call please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud site.  In an emergency dial 999.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Crime Prevention Advice Following a Series of Burglaries

Thames Valley Police would like to remind residents to remain extra vigilant after a series of burglaries in the local area of Aylesbury Vale.  Five offences took place between Wednesday 19th and Saturday 28th March in Aylesbury Central and Milton Keynes.

They have included both daytime and evening break-ins where shed and garden tools have been used by the offenders in three burglaries to gain access to the properties.  The remaining offences involved offenders gaining access to properties by damaging the rear windows. 
Most burglars are opportunistic and a property that presents itself as insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.  We would like residents to remain extra vigilant and to please consider the following crime prevention advice:

  • Make sure you securely lock all windows and doors
  • Ensure that your side gate is secure, locked and not easy to climb over
  • Securely lock all tools in a shed or garage and keep them out of sight, as these can be used by thieves to force entry into your property
  • Consider using prickly plants as an effective way to deter someone trying to climb over your gate or fence to gain access to your garden
  • Ensure there are no loose paving stones or bricks lying around in your garden
  • Don’t leave ladders in your garden, lock them away in your shed
  • Consider fitting security lighting and a burglar alarm
  • Ensure you check your home security, when leaving your home and before going to bed

Please consider the following shed security advice:

  • Keep your shed in good condition
  • Fit a closed shackle padlock to the door
  • Fittings should be bolted through the door and any screws concealed
  • It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with
  • By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts, together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief
  • Bond any window glass in with mastic to prevent easy removal.  Fit grilles or mesh to windows to slow down the thief
  • Ensure all equipment and tools are locked away when not in use
  • Install a shed alarm
  • Post-code or mark all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultraviolet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA, Smartwater or engravers
  • Install security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points
  • If building a shed, put it where it is most visible to you and neighbours
  • Ensure ladders are locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they can’t be used to reach top floor windows
  • Chain large items such as bicycles together, making it much more difficult for a thief to carry away
  • Fit a wire cage inside the shed where more expensive items can be locked away

Anyone with information in relation to these burglaries should contact DS Jim Forres, from Aylesbury Vale local CID via the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.  No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Police, Local Comms, Thames Valley)

Royal Mail Scam

Computer users are being warned to beware of fake emails from the Royal Mail claiming that they’ve missed a delivery.

The emails say that a package is waiting at the local sorting office, and ask the recipient to download an attachment to find out more.  But what’s actually downloaded is CryptoLocker, a malicious program that locks the victim’s PC and demands a ransom.

Cryptolocker is a relatively new piece of malware, first emerging around six months ago, but has already claimed more than a quarter of a million victims.  Criminals have been using it in conjunction with fake emails from a variety of sources, claiming victims around the world.

Last week, the US Federal Trade Commission and FBI issued an official warning.  “If you click on the hyperlink in the email, Cryptolocker encrypts everything on your hard drive and in your shared folders.  When the job is done, you get a ‘ransom note’ demanding payment via Bitcoin or some other anonymous payment method,” it explains.

“The criminals behind this malware say they’ll give you the encryption key if you pay, but they’re hardly trustworthy.  And there’s no other way to unlock your files.”

The ransom asked is usually around the €300 mark, payable within four days.  If the money is received, the victim is promised a private key that can be used to unlock their files. However, in many cases, they never get what they’ve paid for.

The best way to avoid an infection is to never, ever click on a link in an email unless you’re certain it’s safe.  The Royal Mail says it never asks customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of its own website, and never includes an attachment unless it’s something the customer has specifically asked for.

And, as always, back up your data: something as simple as emailing important documents to yourself should mean that you can recover them from another PC.

With acknowledgements to AOL Money UK

Door-to-Door Sales – Aylesbury Vale

Thames Valley Police is asking the residents of Aylesbury Vale to be vigilant and report any door-to-door sellers in their area.

Callers can be selling household items or offering home improvements, such as new driveways or replacement windows.  Home improvement work is often offered without necessary cancellation rights and sales people can use high pressure selling tactics and target vulnerable or elderly members of the community.

If you have anyone calling at your address please let the police know via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101 (or 999 if a crime is in progress).  Make a note of their description and vehicle details (if they are using one) and their name if they offer you ID.

Please call in at the time they are in the area – don’t wait and don’t leave it to someone else to make the call!

By calling the Police you will give officers a chance to check out the sellers and make sure they have appropriate permits to be operating in the area.  Officers would rather have the information and be able to make further enquiries (even if the person turned out to be legitimate) than not get the information and find out later that a crime has occurred.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

New Email Scam

The Business Crime Reduction Centre (BCRC) is warning people about a new email scam that threatens victims with court action.

Fraudsters have been sending out legitimate looking spoofed emails designed to trick recipients into installing malware.  The email says that you have been notified and scheduled to appear for a court hearing, and contains specific dates, times, locations and reference numbers.  It asks you to download a copy of the “court notice” attached.  The downloadable.zip file actually contains an .exe file (a file that executes when clicked) containing a virus.

The email has no connection to the Criminal Justice System and anyone receiving the email should not download any attachments or click any links.  Report the scam to us by using our online fraud reporting tool.

Subject headers change frequently.  You are likely to see some variations of this email, as it is easy for fraudsters to amend the details and continue targeting people.  BCRC’s cyber security specialist said “The email is difficult to block as the subject headers change frequently.  Provoking a panicked, impulse reaction has become a very common scam technique for cyber criminals.  Opening the attachment allows the criminal to spy on the victim, use their computer to commit crime, or steal personal and financial information.”

For further information please visit the BCRC website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.  To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use the online fraud reporting tool.

Message sent by Una McBreen (Police, Corporate Comms, TVP)

Fraud Targeting Elderly or Vulnerable Residents

We have received a number of fraud reports across Aylesbury Vale where the offender(s) have targeted elderly or vulnerable residents.

The victims have received an unexpected phone call from a male with an Irish accent.  The offender pretends to be an officer from the Met Police and says that someone has used the resident’s bank account to withdraw money in the London area.  He then asks for their banking details.

Never give your bank details out to an unknown cold caller and NEVER give out your PIN number.  Genuine callers will not ask for the PIN number.  Please pass this information on to any vulnerable or elderly friends, family or neighbours who might benefit from it.

If you need to report a fraud or internet crime contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud website.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Crime Prevention Advice – UPVC Doors

After a recent spate of burglaries, Thames Valley Police would like to remind residents to consider the following information:

  • It is imperative that residents ensure that they check, shut and lock all doors and windows before going out, overnight and when any room is unoccupied.  This includes key locking doors with handle operated locking systems, pulling the handle up is not enough to prevent entry.  The key must be used to actually lock the door.  Do not leave your keys in the door or anywhere nearby where they could possibly be hooked out by an arm or implement, but keep them in a safe place ready for use in case of an emergency to exit the house.
  • When replacing a door it is better to buy a new "door set", the complete assembled frame and door and if you are replacing your lock cylinder make sure it is to standard TS007 or Sold Secure SS312 Diamond Standard.

For further advice and information about British Standards, please visit: www.securedbydesign.com

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Police, Local Comms, Thames Valley)  

Operation Arctic

Thames Valley Police has been working in partnership with Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) to launch Operation Arctic this month which will focus on tackling and raising awareness of winter time burglary.

The operation will run until February 2014 to combat burglaries and target those who commit these crimes during the darker winter months.

As the darker nights are drawing in and the clocks go back on Sunday 27/10, it is important to think about following these simple steps to help to prevent your home from becoming the next target by opportunist criminals:

  • Using timer switches help to give the impression that your home is occupied
  • Register your valuables on www.immobilise.com.  It’s free and takes just a few minutes and, if your valuables are stolen, will allow you to tell the police, your insurer, and the second-hand trade to assist in recovering your property and catch the thief
  • Ensure that desirable items such as I-pad, I-phones, Laptops, PlayStations and jewellery are keep away from view so as not to attract attention
  • Invest in some additional locks for windows and back doors to improve security, and remember if you have a UPVC door make sure you have double locked it, and turn the key in the door whilst in the house
  • A burglar alarm is still one of the best deterrents

Insp James Davies said: “Aylesbury Vale has seen a seven per cent reduction in burglary dwellings since April 2013.  However, as the nights draw in, we need to start to re-visit security measures to keep safe and deter opportunist burglars that intend to use the cover of darkness to commit crime.

“We aim to raise awareness of winter time burglary and we will be working in partnership with Aylesbury Vale District Council to provide local residents with vital crime prevention advice, to help prevent themselves from becoming a victim of crime during the upcoming winter period.

“The neighbourhood teams will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the town and the rural areas.  The team will also be carrying out a series of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) operations during the winter period and proactively patrolling burglary hot spot areas to target known offenders.

“If you have any concerns or just want some advice and information, approach your local neighbourhood officers who will be there to assist you."

Councillor Pam Pearce, Cabinet Member for Community Matters at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “Being the victim of burglary is upsetting for those involved.  We want homeowners to think carefully about home security and take some personal responsibility.  Prevention is the message we want to get across.”

You can also follow us on Twitter @TVP_Aylesbury for crime prevention tips during the operation.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously around a property or outbuilding please report this to the police via the 101 number.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Message sent by Naveenat Sahota (Police, Local Comms, Thames Valley)

Police Warning Over Bank Card Courier Scam

Thames Valley residents are advised to be on their guard to a new type of scam which is becoming prevalent across London and is now spreading to other areas.

The courier fraud scam often targets the elderly and vulnerable and takes the following steps:

1.  The victim receives an unsolicited telephone call from fraudsters saying they are from their bank (or in some cases claiming to be the police), stating that their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on their card or that their card is due to expire and needs to be replaced.
2.  The person may be asked to ring the bank back using the phone number printed on the back of their bank card.  This helps to convince the person that the call is genuine.  However, the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though the person has called the bank, the call does not go through.  Instead they are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.
3.  The fraudster then gains the person’s trust by pretending to be from the bank and seeming to offer assistance.  In many cases the person is asked to provide their full bank card details and key in their PIN so that their existing card can be cancelled and their new one activated or authorised.  The fraudster will then explain that the bank will need to collect the card.
4.  The fraudster will then attend the person’s address or send an innocent courier company driver to collect the card and sometimes provide them with a replacement card which is subsequently found to be fake.
5.  Therefore, the fraudster has obtained the person’s name, address, full bank details, the card itself and the PIN.  The bank cards are then used fraudulently without the victim’s knowledge.

There are a number of variations to the scam, including:

  • Fraudsters pretending to be from the police cold calling members of the public and telling them that their bank account has been compromised by criminals.  The fraudster suggests that the person should transfer their bank balance into a ‘safe’ police bank account.
  • Fraudsters pretending to be from the police attending people’s addresses and retrieving the person’s card and PIN.
  • Members of the public receiving letters on bank headed paper informing them that their account has been the subject of a fraud. The letter advises them to transfer their funds to a ‘safe’ account and that an official will be in contact to provide them with a new card and PIN.
  • Fraudsters contacting members of the public requesting them to cut their cards in half because their account has been compromised.  They are then asked to post the cut card to an address where fraudsters simply tape the card together again and can use the details to commit fraud.

Between May and August, Thames Valley Police has received 17 reports of fraud of this type, all in the central Milton Keynes area.
Police advice is that if you receive such a call, end it immediately.  If you have elderly or vulnerable family members, friends, or neighbours, let them know about the scam.

Please be aware that:

  • Your bank will never attend your home
  • Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card
  • Your bank and/or the police will never ask for your PIN

If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website.  In an emergency, dial 999.

‘Vamoose’ Burglaries and Rogue Traders

Thames Valley Police would like to raise awareness of a recent increase in burglary dwelling offences, where vehicles have been stolen in the local area of Aylesbury Vale.  There were seven of these offences in August, of which all except one took place during the day.

Local residents are advised to take crime prevention measures to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of vamoose burglaries.

DC Tom Perry from Aylesbury Vale Local CID advises that if you are planning to go on holiday or will be leaving your property unoccupied for a period of time, leave your car keys with a trusted neighbour or relative and where possible block your vehicles on your driveways.  Other tips include parking in a well lit area and keeping your car keys away from any windows and doors to prevent them from being “fished” through letterboxes, or seen from outside to tempt the thief.

DC Tom Perry said: “The investigation into the offences is progressing well, but it is important for local residents to remain extra vigilant in relation to rogue traders who are currently active, or who have recently been in the Aylesbury vale area.

“I would like to urge members of the public who have come in contact with any rogue traders to note down their details and contact the police via the 101 number immediately.  We value the input from the public to gather intelligence and this will help to further progress the police investigation into these offences”.

If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.  No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Burglary Prevention Advice

With the current spell of warm weather, the Aylesbury Town and Rural Neighbourhood Policing Teams are asking local residents to be vigilant with the security of their homes.

When it is warm it is easy to leave windows or doors open when either enjoying your garden, or in another part of your home.  If you can’t see these windows / doors from where you are, it would be easy for an opportunist thief to gain access, steal your property and leave, without you even noticing.

Please remember not to leave accessible windows open at the front of your property when you are in your back garden and make sure that all accessible doors and windows are shut and locked before you go to bed.  Don’t make life easy for opportunist criminals!

Make sure you report any suspicious activity at the time it is happening, to the Police.  If you can, obtain a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they are using, especially the registration number.  If the police are called at the time we stand a better chance of catching them.

Phone any suspicious incidents through to the Police via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101, or if a crime is in progress dial 999.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Hoax Emails

You will undoubtedly at some point receive an email warning about the ‘latest virus’, or a call to support some ‘just cause’ by forwarding an email, or even an emergency request to send money to someone.  You may be offered the chance to become rich by helping someone move money from country to country.

Sometimes hoax emails can appear to come from people you know.  This can happen if they have had their email hacked, or they may have fallen for a hoax themselves.

Hoax emails are designed to rip you off or waste your time, and you should just delete them.  Some hoax emails may contain viruses – even if these are not technically dangerous to your PC, they can slow down your service by swamping the network.

Never act on any email you think is suspicious; and don’t forward chain emails – they waste everyone’s time.

Some ways to spot a hoax email:

It asks you for money

It may seem obvious that you shouldn’t send money anywhere in response to an email.  However, people still fall for this and it continues to be worthwhile for the hoaxers to send out requests.

It asks you for personal details

If the email appears to be from your bank for example, it may ask you for your user name and password.  A real bank would not ask you to provide personal information by email.

It contains a link to an unexpected website

Hover over the link (don’t click it!) with your mouse: if the web address that pops up looks suspicious, and/or is from a foreign country, then the email is probably a hoax.

It is badly written

Lots of CAPITALISATION, (IMPORTANT!!! or THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!).  Flagrant overuse of punctuation, and general bad grammar and spelling, is a giveaway.

It asks you to tell all your friends, or forward to everyone in your email contact list

It does this because someone wants to waste everyone else’s time and you should not help it to do this.  It is in no way trying to be a helpful public service.

It claims to be ‘not a hoax’

A hoax will typically contain details that try to convince you.  There may be references to reputable companies such as Microsoft. Reputable companies would not send out such chain emails.  Don’t be fooled.

It stresses a sense of urgency or predicts dire consequences

Hoax emails may appear to be from a friend asking for your help in an emergency.  They may play on your sympathy, purport to be helping look for missing children, reporting animal cruelty, or asking for prayers for someone suffering a terminal illness.

It has a history of circulation

Look for lots of  >>> marks on the left hand side.  This indicates an email has been forwarded many times.  Hoax emails can keep going for as long as someone continues to forward them on.

Catalytic Converter Theft

Thefts of vehicle catalytic converters continue to be reported in the Aylesbury Vale area.  Catalytic converters contain small amounts of precious metals and as the price of these metals rises, stealing catalytic converters becomes more attractive to criminals.

The Community Safety Partnership is working with local garages to offer residents the opportunity to have their catalytic converter engraved when their vehicles are serviced or repaired.  Engraving of catalytic converters makes them less attractive to steal and easier to trace back to your vehicle in the event that they are stolen.  A list of participating garages can be found on the Aylesbury Vale District Council website.

Other ways you can help prevent catalytic converter theft are:-

  • If possible, park in your garage
  • Vehicles with a high ground clearance such as vans and 4x4s are typically targeted more frequently.  Consider parking in a location that restricts the access to the underside of your vehicle.
  • Park in a well lit area and consider security lighting around your vehicle.
  • If your catalytic converter is a ‘bolt on’ type the bolts can be welded shut.
  • Consider the installation of CCTV to protect your vehicle.
  • Property mark / etch your converter and make sure this is advertised on your vehicle by using window stickers.
  • Look out for anyone working under a vehicle – if the time of day or location looks suspicious call the Police immediately.

If you have any information in relation to vehicle crime, or if you suspect someone of being involved in these thefts please call the Police via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101, or if a crime is in progress dial 999.

If you don’t want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via the Crimestoppers website.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Shed Burglaries – Security Advice

Police are warning local residents to remain vigilant following a number of burglaries to garden sheds reported in the Waddesdon Police area.

Over the last ten days break-ins have been reported in Ludgershall, Haddenham, Bishopstone and Scotsgrove.  In Haddenham several offences were reported on Franklin Road and Stanbridge Road.  Property stolen included ladders, a generator, chain saw and fishing tackle.

Opportunist thieves identify sheds as easy pickings because they are unprotected and lack basic security measures.  The buildings often contain property that can be sold on or implements that can be used to force entry into the owner’s home.  Please check the security of your own sheds and outbuildings.

Make sure you:

  • Keep your shed in good condition
  • Fit a closed shackle padlock to the door
  • Fittings should be bolted through the door and any screws concealed
  • It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with.  By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts, together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief
  • Bond any window glass in with mastic to prevent easy removal. Fit grilles or mesh to windows to slow down the thief.
  • Ensure all equipment and tools are locked away when not in use
  • Install a shed alarm
  • Post-code or mark all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA, Smartwater or engravers.
  • Install security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points
  • If building a shed, put it where it is most visible to you and neighbours
  • Ensure ladders are locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they can’t be used to reach top floor windows
  • Chain large items such as bicycles together, making it much more difficult for a thief to carry away
  • Fit a wire cage inside the shed where more expensive items can be locked away.

No thief wants to hang about longer than they have to so delay the time it will take them to get their hands on your tools.

Make sure suspicious activity is reported immediately to the police – at the time it is happening.  This will give officers the opportunity of checking people out, to find out what they are up to.  Where possible get a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they may be using, especially the registration number.  Don’t leave it to someone else to make the call – you may be the only witness.

Finally, if you have any information about any of these crimes or you suspect someone may be handling stolen property please call the Waddesdon Neighbourhood Policing Team via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don’t want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Stop Loan Sharks

Illegal money lending is a crime and is estimated to affect 310,000 households in the UK.  Once loans are agreed, loan sharks can often increase the debt and add additional amounts.

Loan sharks are a menace to society but you may not be aware that there is a National Team in place to crack down on these types of offenders.  Based within the Business Innovation and Skills department of Birmingham City Council, the team investigates and charges offenders and supports the victims of such crimes.

If you spot a loan shark, or have borrowed money from one, you can report them in confidence in the following ways:

Call 0300 555 2222 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

Text LOAN SHARK and the lender’s details to 60003

Email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

For more information visit www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark

Message sent by Diane Brown: (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Residents urged to help reduce opportunities for crime

In the run up to the festive season your local Neighbourhood Policing Team are urging residents to work with the Police and reduce the opportunities for criminals to operate in our area.

Thefts from vehicles continue to be reported, often from vehicles that have been left unlocked, with valuables in them.  Please, make sure your car is locked when unattended and do not leave items such as laptops, satnavs, mobile phones and handbags inside.  Don’t be tempted to ‘hide’ items – criminals know all the places to look.

Remember, if you lock your car and empty it of property you will significantly reduce the opportunities for crime!

If you are planning on visiting family and leaving your home unattended consider how you can make your premise appear lived in.

  • Maybe ask a trusted neighbour to check on it and ask if they can park a vehicle on your driveway.  Use a light and possibly a radio on a timer switch – this helps to give the impression that you are at home.
  • If you are away when your bin collection day comes around, ask a neighbour to put the bin out and bring it back in for you.
  • Don’t leave Christmas gifts under the tree, where they can be viewed easily from outside your property and consider where you leave valuables and handbags etc.
  • Make sure your house is fully secured (using double locks where they exist) and do not leave keys on view or where they can be ‘fished’ through letterboxes.

And finally, make sure you report anyone acting suspiciously in your area.  Make the call at the time it is happening – this will give officers a great chance of locating them and finding out what they are doing.

  • If you can, try to get a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they may be using – especially the registration number.
  • Call details through to the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101, or if a crime is in progress dial 999.

If you suspect anyone of being involved in crime or handling stolen property phone it through on 101.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to speak to the Police or give your details, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111

All staff in the Aylesbury Town and Aylesbury Rural neighbourhood policing teams wish you all a peaceful and crime-free Christmas and New Year.

Message sent by Diane Brown: (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Neighbourhood Watch wins prestigious Queens Award

Neighbourhood Watch has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award in recognition of their work as one of the largest voluntary movements across England and Wales.

Neighbourhood Watch or Home Watch as it is known in some areas, is one of best known crime preventative initiatives across the UK with studies showing a 79% decrease in crime where the initiative is in place.

With approximately 170,000 co-ordinators covering 3.9 million households, volunteer community advocates are critical in the fight against crime.

Mrs Grant, a member of the Stanley Hill Avenue, Amersham Neighbourhood Watch noticed that the curtains of her neighbour's house opposite were drawn despite it being about 11 o’clock in the morning.  She knew that there was normally no one at home during the day and having seen three young men in the vicinity a little earlier put two and two together and dialled 999.  The men were apprehended.

Helping to enable and support coordinators across England and Wales, the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHWN) is delighted to accept the award on behalf of the whole movement.

Jim Maddan, Chairman of NHWN said: “Volunteers by their very definition are the people who develop community cohesion in their own time and it is this which brings people together to tackle crime issues and anti-social behaviour.  It is the grassroots membership who deserves this award for their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment to preventing and reducing crime.”

More information can be found at www.ourwatch.org.uk.

Message sent by Sam Cox: (NHWN, Administrator, UK)

Cold Callers Claiming to be from Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley police have been made aware of cold callers claiming to be from Thames Valley police, targeting people for advertising and sponsorship.  This is not something we would normally do.

If you wish to check the identity of a Thames Valley Police employee then ask for their shoulder number and name; then dial the police non-emergency number 101 and ask to speak to them.  Do not use any other telephone number that the caller may offer for you to check their identity.

Message sent by Diane Brown: (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Dangerous Cosmetics – Important Information from Trading Standards

Dangerous cosmetics: Mercury in skin lightening products

Trading Standards have found a wide range of skin lightening creams containing mercury, a dangerous and banned substance.  These products have been found on sale in many grocery stores in Aylesbury, Chesham and High Wycombe.

These creams can seriously damage people’s kidneys, skin and nervous system.

Trading Standards are asking shop owners to stop supplying any skin lightening cream that does not have the name and address of an importer or manufacturer in the European Union.

Shop owners are unaware of the dangers of such cosmetics.  Most of them say they are selling the products in response to requests for them.

Trading Standards think it is important for users of these skin lightening creams to know of the potential dangers and that they may be harmful through continued use.

Please find below a list of creams that contain mercury, but this list is not exhaustive:

   Brite Face Cream
   Stillmans Skin Bleach Cream
   Stillmans Freckle Cream
   Due Whitening Cream
   Wiana Whitening Cream

If you have any information or have any questions you would like to ask Trading Standards, please contact Team 2 of Trading Standards on 01296 382148.

Message sent by Diane Brown: (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner elected

Anthony Stansfeld has been elected the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police.

The election result was declared on Friday (16/11), and Mr Stansfeld will take up his role from 22 November, with the Police Authority ceasing to exist at 11.59pm on Wednesday 21 November.

At midnight on Thursday 22 November, all police staff employed by the Authority will transfer to the PCC.

The PCC will indicate their proposed budget and precept for 2013 – 2014 in December, and their Police and Crime Plan will be published by March 2013.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “I would like to congratulate Mr Stansfeld on his election victory and look forward to working together on behalf of the people in the Thames Valley.”

Message sent by: Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

Top Roof Coating & First Choice Property Maintenance

Buckinghamshire Trading Standards is warning Buckinghamshire residents to be aware that the above companies cold-calling at homes in the County recently.  The companies have both attempted to deceive consumers into believing that they need urgent or unnecessary work carried out on their roofs and failed to provide written cancellation rights, as required by law.  Subsequent inspection of the work has also found it to have been unnecessary and very over-priced.

If residents are approached by anybody purporting to be from either of these companies, or indeed any company making similar claims, they are advised to decline any offers of work until they have had the opportunity to seek a second opinion.  Trading Standards would be grateful if any such approach is reported to them, or if any resident has had work done by either company and has concerns, call on: 08454 04 05 06

Chris Holden
Senior Trading Standards Officer
Buckinghamshire Trading Standards

A Neighbourhood Alert sent on behalf of Buckinghamshire Trading Standards

Burglary Prevention Advice

The summer is fast approaching and you may be looking forward to day trips, long weekends and weeks away with the family.

Help us beat the burglars by taking a few easy steps to protect your home.  Opportunist burglars will seize their chance if they spot a window or door left open, an empty home or a hedge which allows them to work hidden from view.

By following some simple steps you can help protect your house and garden while at home and on holiday.

Securing garden boundaries and entry points to houses, and ensuring houses look lived in while you are away can prevent burglary.

Ch Supt Tim De Meyer, from Neighbourhood Policing and Partnerships, said: “The steps you can take to protect your home are not expensive or time-consuming but are very effective in reducing your risk of becoming a victim of burglary.

“Look at your home from the street and think about how a burglar may break in – and then take the necessary steps to deny them this opportunity.

“Thieves will use whatever they can find to break in, or find things they can use to reach higher windows.

“The effort invested now may save a great deal of inconvenience later on if you are unfortunate enough to become a burglary victim.

“Many stolen items will be irreplaceable, such as photographs stored on stolen cameras and phone numbers stored on stolen phones.

“Victims may also have to spend time cancelling stolen bank cards, passports and driving licences, replacing door locks and filling out insurance claim forms.”

Julia Hughes from Thames Valley Crimestoppers said: “Sadly the effects of burglary often rob people of not only personal items but also of feeling safe in their own homes.  By being vigilant about home security and watching out for the wellbeing of our local communities, we can all play our part in beating the burglars.

“If you think you know who is committing local burglaries or handling stolen goods then play your part and let the police know.  However if you don’t want to be identified then call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and tell us what you know.”

Follow our hot tips to protect your home this summer:

Home

  • Do not leave valuables or car keys by open windows and doors. Mark your valuables with your postcode or register them on the national property database www.immobilise.com
  • In the garden? Make sure you lock your doors and close your windows
  • Double lock your door using the key, and make sure your windows are closed even if you are just popping out
  • Do not leave garden tools, ladders etc easily accessible in your garden, make sure you shed is secure

Away

  • Going on holiday?  Make it look like you are at home; make sure you cut the lawn and trim any tall hedges before you go
  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Cancel milk and papers
  • If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set – and that you have told the police who the key holder is
  • Lock the garage and shed with proper security locks, after putting all your tools safely away

Watch our YouTube video, presented by Matt Allwright, television presenter for Rogue Traders and Watchdog.

For further home security advice visit the Thames Valley Police website or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

Message sent by Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA) 

 
 

Dangerous & Illegal ~ Drop Vodka

Drop Vodka bottled in Italy and France

A dangerous, illegal brand of alcohol called DROP VODKA has been found on sale at corner shops and petrol stations; pubs and clubs may also have stocks.

Tests carried out by local authorities have identified the presence of Propan-2-ol (an industrial alcohol used in electronics cleaning) which acts on the central nervous system as a depressant. More worryingly, DROP VODKA has also been found to contain methanol in some of the samples and this can kill and can cause permanent blindness.

The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a warning to consumers NOT to drink Drop Vodka. Of lesser concern is that this illegal vodka contains only 28.6% alcohol instead of the required 37.5%. Food and drink has to go through rigorous testing before it is placed on the market but because Drop Vodka is not registered to any company in the UK, it has not been through this process, so no-one knows what is in the product. 

It is very important retailers understand they must keep records showing where they bought the food and drink they are selling.  This traceability would be part of their defence if they unwittingly sell dangerous or illegal foods and drinks. If they fail to keep or do not have any records they may be held liable.

Trading Standards’ advise retailers not to accept food and drink products that are offered to them for sale from people or businesses they do not know. Retailers caught selling the vodka could face a £20,000 fine or imprisonment for the offence.

Trading Standards urge any retailer who has been offered Drop Vodka for retail, or any individual who has seen it for sale to contact them on 01296 382649 or email them on tsd@buckscc.gov.uk as a matter of urgency.

New National Non-Emergency Phone Number

Thames Valley Police has gone live today with 101, the new national single non-emergency number, which will replace the 0845 8 505 505 number.

Both numbers will run side by side until the end of March, but if demand for the 0845 8 505 505 number drops then it may be discontinued earlier.

Calls to 101 (from both landlines and mobile networks) cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day the call is made, or the duration of the call.

Everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters will now know exactly how much a call will cost them, and can be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline.

The routeing will be based on the same system as 999 calls, which links a caller’s dialling code to the police force that covers that geographic area.  Calls from a landline will be routed to the nearest police force that covers the area's dialling code.  If the caller is using a mobile, the call will be routed using the location of the mast that the phone is transmitting from.

If a call is made to 101 within a force area that has not yet ‘gone live’, the caller will hear a recorded message telling them to redial using the relevant non-emergency number.

A Community Message from Aylesbury Watch Office on Monday 14 November

Motor Vehicle Thefts Slashed as ‘Operation Aim’ Hits Target

An operation to combat theft from cars parked in beauty spots in Aylesbury Vale during the summer months has helped cut offences in the area.

Operation Aim ran between March and September this year and focused on catching criminals and getting messages to members of the public who leave their vehicles vulnerable to theft.

The operation was co-ordinated by Sgt Paul Cladingboel and carried out by members of the Aylesbury Vale rural neighbourhood team supported by members of the Special Constabulary.  They carried out both high visibility and covert patrolS and issued crime reduction advice at known hotspots for thefts.

And their efforts saw the numbers of thefts reduced for the second year running.  This year there were 24 instances where cars had been broken into and items stolen.  This compares with 38 instances in the same period in the previous year and 59 instances in 2009.

Insp Emma Garside oversaw the operation.  She said: “I am delighted with the result of Operation Aim this year.  I thought that it would be difficult to match the results from the previous year, but to beat them is an outstanding effort.

“We combined the use of a number of tactics to ensure that suspected offenders were disrupted and the public at large were aware they were parking in a place known to be used by criminals.

“I would like to thank my officers and PCSOs who worked hard to pass on crime reduction messages, which are all too often ignored.  Simple things like ensuring that all bags and valuables are removed from vehicles or hidden from view, windows are closed, cars are locked and alarm systems are turned on greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.”

A Community Message from Aylesbury Watch Office on Friday 7 October

Burglaries – Through the Front Door!

Over the last month there have been a number of burglaries to homes across Aylesbury Vale where offenders are using the unusual method of entry of jemmying the front door.

Offences are often occurring overnight on week days.  Small items are being stolen including car keys.  A number of higher value vehicles are then being stolen from the addresses.  BMWs and Audis have been targeted in particular.

Police are advising house holders to make sure their front doors are double locked and car keys hidden.  Some of the homes targeted had PVC doors which were only single locked at the time of the offences.

Further security and crime prevention advice can also be found on our website www.thamesvalley.police.uk – click on the ‘Crime Prevention’ tab – or by calling the 24 hour non emergency number 0845 8 505 505.

A Community Message to all residents in Aylesbury Vale on Tuesday 16 August

Distraction Burglary

Knock!  Knock!  Who’s there?  Strangers – be aware.

Most people who call at your home will be genuine.  But sometimes, people turn up unannounced, with the intention of tricking their way into your home.  These ‘distraction burglars’ or ‘bogus callers’ get into vulnerable people’s homes under false pretences – for example by acting as gas or water board officials, by leading you to believe you need false work done, or by asking to get their ball from your garden.

You must always be careful who you let into your home.  Ask to see the caller’s identity.  Genuine tradesmen will carry a photographic identification card.  Check this carefully.  If you are still unsure, telephone their company, using a number from the telephone directory or by ringing Directory Enquiries.

The advice for residents is to Stop, Chain, Check.

Stop – Are you expecting anyone?  Close and lock back doors and windows and look to see who it is.

Chain – Put your door chain on before you open the door.  Keep it on while talking to the caller but remove it when they’ve gone away (in case of an emergency).

Check – Do you recognise the caller?  Check their identity by using the phone number from the telephone directory or call Directory Enquiries for the number – don’t use the number they give you.

If in doubt, keep them out!
If, after these checks, you have any doubts about the caller, especially if they come unannounced, tell them to call back later when someone can be with you.  You can also tell them to contact you by letter to arrange a more convenient time.

Only let them in when you are absolutely sure that they are genuine.
Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry an identity card with a photograph.  They won’t mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity or want to rearrange the appointment.

Report Bogus Callers
Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs or even teams.  They are often well organised.  One will distract the person while the other searches the house for money or other valuables.  They can be men, women or even children (or often a combination).  Watch out for anyone who says they are in a hurry.  Don’t let them pressure or confuse you.

If you suspect you, or someone you know, has been visited by a bogus caller please call the Police as soon as possible – you may well prevent other crimes occurring.  In an emergency dial 999; otherwise report incidents on 0845 8 505 505.

If in doubt, keep them out!

A message from the Community Engagement Officer at Aylesbury Vale District Council

Illegal Dumping of Waste

The illegal dumping of waste is a significant problem in Buckinghamshire.  Bucks County Council are working in partnership with the police to ask residents who witness people fly-tipping to report it and help us stamp out this awful, anti-social crime.  Witness-led cases account for over 40% of all convictions in the county.  This has supported the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire to catch offenders, who last year were forced to pay a total of around £80,000 in fines and costs.

To report an incident of fly-tipping please contact the witness hotline number on 0845 330 1856 or download the ‘Transport for Buckinghamshire’ iphone application.  If possible, please take down the vehicle registration details.

A Community Message from Aylesbury Watch Office on Monday 11 July 2011

Beware the Cold Call from Roof Exchange UK

AVDC have reports of a company called Roof Exchange UK, who have been cold calling in south Buckinghamshire but could be operating in other parts of the county.

A person calling himself James Smith will cold call on the home owner and state that the roof needs some repair.  He may offer to repair the roof for a small fee, but then after some work has been completed he will say there are other problems with the roof and the price will increase considerably.  The company also appears not to give cancellation rights in writing.

AVDC advise people not to deal with cold calling traders.  Companies offering services in your home must give cancellation rights in writing. Where possible get written quotations before agreeing to having the work done.

Building contractors can be found by visiting the Buy With Confidence website.  Traders on the BWC website have all been Trading Standards approved.

If you are approached by a Mr. James Smith of Roof Exchange UK, please contact the Police immediately on 08458 505 505 who will in turn alert Trading Standards.

Bogus Telephone Calls

Following a recent report of a bogus telephone caller in the Aylesbury area, the Police wish to remind all residents not to divulge personal information to unknown or unexpected callers, either in person or on the telephone.

Bogus callers can be very plausible and build confidence to make the victim believe they are genuine.  They can claim to be from official organisations, such as the Council, banks, credit card companies or even the Police.  The aim of their call is to obtain sensitive information, such as bank details, address history, mother’s maiden name etc.  If they are successful in gaining this kind of data it can be used to defraud you.

DO NOT be tempted to give out this information – always check the identity of the person, by calling the company they claim to be representing.  Do not assume someone is genuine, no matter how ‘official’ they sound.

For further information about protecting yourself against fraud and identity theft please visit our website www.thamesvalley.police.uk and click on the Crime Prevention tab.

A Community Message from Aylesbury Watch Office on Wednesday 8 June

‘Overpaid’ Bank Charges Scam

A local resident in Aylesbury Vale has reported receiving a telephone call from an Asian sounding male, claiming that the resident was owed £2,165 in overpaid bank / credit charges.

He told the resident to attend the local Post Office in order that a money order could be sent for £125 administration fee.  The resident was asked to phone a telephone number whilst at the Post Office and details of where the admin fee was to be paid would be given.  The caller stated that as soon as the fee was paid the Post Office would be able to pay the £2,165 immediately (and if they couldn’t, then the caller would personally drive to the resident’s address and drop off a cheque or deposit the money in their bank account).

Please be on your guard and ensure that any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours know how to deal with any unwanted / unsolicited phone calls.  Never divulge personal information or bank details to anyone on the phone and do not make immediate money transfers to unknown companies.

A Community Message from Aylesbury Watch Office on Wednesday 16 February 2011

Phoney Microsoft computer support scam

A Cuddington resident has received two telephone calls in the past 24 hours from men with Indian accents claiming to be from a Microsoft computer support company.

Be warned: such calls are completely phoney.  Microsoft do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you with your computer.

The caller will usually tell you that your computer's operating system has generated an error report because it has become infected with a computer virus, and then ask you to run a couple of (irrelevant) programs supposed to "prove" this to be true.  Once he has gained your trust, the cybercriminal could do any of the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software on your computer.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust its settings in order to leave the computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card or Paypal information so that they can bill you for non-existent support services.

If you receive a phone call like this, hang up.  Do not on any account install any software requested by the caller or adjust any of your computer settings.

Ingenious Telephone Credit Card Scam – Beware!

This scam is pretty slick since they provide you with all the information, except for the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

The scam works like this: The person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at MasterCard/VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your MasterCard/VISA card which was issued by (name of bank).

“Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card." He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers." There are seven numbers: the first four are part of your card number, the next three are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the three numbers to him. After you tell the caller the three numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say, "No," the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number.  But shortly after the call, a fraudulent purchase will be charged to your card account.

What the scammers want is the 3-digit security number on the back of the card.  Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversation. The real credit card company will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3-digit security number, you’ll think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to file a fraud report.