Monday, 29 June 2015

Not With My Name

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

Thames Valley Police is today launching an awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.

The ‘Not With My Name’ campaign, produced in partnership with the City of London Police (National Policing Lead for Fraud), is targeting identity crime in our communities.

According to crime prevention service Cifas there were 1,482 cases of identity fraud reported in Buckinghamshire, 945 reported in Oxfordshire and 2,141 reported in Berkshire in 2014.

Identity fraud can lead to inconvenience and distress with victims spending on average of 200 hours of their personal or businesses time to resolve.

Victims often find money has been removed from their bank or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving licence has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.

The proceeds of identity crime are often used to fund further criminal activity.

To combat this rising threat the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will highlight advice to help people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail.

These messages will be shared across Thames Valley Police Facebook and Twitter accounts and there will be a national Twitter chat, hosted by @actionfrauduk, at 5pm today (29/6).

Detective Inspector Gavin Tyrrell of Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “Identity crime, the creation of a false identity or the misuse of a genuine identity, affects people as they are going about their day to day lives.
“Normal things like online shopping can become a risk and identity crime deters vulnerable people and communities from taking part.
“The proceeds of identity crime can be used to fund serious and organised crime.
“That’s why it’s so vital members of the public can take simple steps to protect their personal information and safeguard against identity fraud.
“Simple things like changing your social media settings or creating safe passwords all make a difference.
“By working together and sharing these identity crime prevention tips we can reduce opportunities for identity fraud across the Thames Valley.”
The campaign is being supported nationally by police forces and organisations including Action Fraud, Get Safe Online, Cifas, FFA UK, Age UK and Experian.

City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:
 “To really get to grips with identity crime requires us all to come together and share advice on how to protect our personal information at home, in the workplace and while out in public places. Following the top tips provided by the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will help people better understand the nature and scale of the threat they face which in turn will hopefully make them much less likely to fall victim to this type of offence.”
For more identity fraud prevention advice visit the Thames Valley Police website.
 Individuals and businesses that have fallen victim to a fraud facilitated by an identity crime should report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Click for the Thames Valley Police website

Monday, 22 June 2015

Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter - June 2015

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network

The latest newsletter and links to articles can be found here.

The 2015 National Neighbourhood & Home Watch Week launches on 20th June and focuses on the important issue of phone scams. Neighbourhood Watch has traditionally had a focus on getting to know your neighbours face to face and keeping your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious that might affect people in your neighbourhood.
While criminals that perpetrate phone scams may not have an obvious presence on the streets like burglars, neighbours can still help to protect each other from becoming victims of these types of scam.
We are asking Neighbourhood Watch coordinators during the Week (20th - 28th June) to speak to three neighbours, friends or relatives about the dangers of phone scams and let them know how they can protect themselves.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Royal Mail Email Scam

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

Royal Mail Email Scam
A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from the Royal Mail. Attached to the email is the CryptoLocker virus.

The victim receives an email purporting to be from the Royal Mail stating that they are holding a parcel/letter for the victim. The victim is then required to contact the Royal Mail to arrange for the item to be resent/collected.

By following the instructions within the email the CryptoLocker virus is subsequently downloaded to the victim’s computer. This virus encrypts files on the victim’s system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted.

Additional incentive is added for early repayment as the ransomware states that the cost of decrypting the files will increase the longer the fine is outstanding.

Protect yourself:
  • Look at who the email is addressed to. Is it generic or specifically addressed?
  • Look at the quality of the images included on the email. Are they of sufficient high quality that they could come from Royal Mail?
  • Do not open attachments from unsolicited emails regardless of who they are from.
  • Do not click on the link supplied. Instead, go to the relevant website and log in from there.
  • Check the address of any email received to see if it appears legitimate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

People looking for cheap flight tickets are being targeted by fraudsters. New websites are continuously being created with slight changes to the company names with the intention to deceive the public. They offer tickets at bargain prices and usually request for payment via bank transfer. These tickets do not materialize and the funds are retained by the fraudsters.

Protect yourself:
  • Where possible, buy from well-known company names. If you've never heard of a company, conduct some due diligence.
  • Use the internet. Type the name of the company/site you are buying from and look for reviews of what others customers are saying about the company. Bad customer service feedback usually finds their way online quite quickly.
  • Use companies that are ATOL or ABTA Registered. You can check this here at ABTA or at the CAA website.
  • Check the authenticity of flight booking websites before making any reservations. A “whois” search on the website will identify when the website has been created, so be wary of newly formed domains. This search can be conducted using    
  • Never send money to bank accounts. If possible pay using a credit card – that way you have some protection and avenue for recompense. 
  • Sign up to Action Fraud Alert to keep you updated with what’s going on.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040

Friday, 5 June 2015

Is your shed secure?

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

As we move into the summer months reports of burglaries to sheds tend to increase. A lot of these burglaries can be prevented by taking some simple security measures. Thames Valley Police is asking residents to take a moment to make sure their sheds and outbuildings are secure and help prevent these crimes in your area:-
  • Make sure your sheds, outbuildings and garages are locked when not in use, by using strong padlocks.
  • Consider fitting bars or locks to the windows. Use anti-tamper screws, to prevent doors being removed.
  • Use a battery or mains operated shed alarm, which can be bought from most DIY stores or garden centres.
  • Consider using a strong box, anchored to the floor, to store smaller tools and lock bigger items, such as lawn mowers, bicycles etc. to each other, or to the shed.
  • Mark all your tools and equipment with your postcode, or you can purchase property marking kits, which uniquely identify property as being owned by you (further details on our website ).
  • Make sure that anyone acting suspiciously is reported immediately to the police. Where possible get a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they are using.
Further crime prevention advice and information can be found on the Thames Valley Police website. You can also open the attached information (below). Enjoy your gardens in the summer, whilst making sure that opportunist criminals are not enjoying it too – at your expense.

Click for the Thames Valley Police website

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Street Triage scheme launching in Aylesbury Vale

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.
Message sent by Victoria Taylor (Police, Communications Officer, Thames Valley Police)

A Street Triage project, that sees police and mental health services working to ensure people in distress get appropriate care, is being launched today (1/6).

The aim of the Street Triage scheme is to improve the overall experience and access to appropriate care for people experiencing mental ill health who call the police when they are in a crisis state.

Thames Valley Police is working in partnership with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the scheme is being funded by the Department of Health.

In Aylesbury Vale, there will be two mental health professionals who work alongside police officers between 4pm and 1am, seven days a week. The mental health professionals are there to attend incidents with police officers so they can offer face-to-face advice, make accurate risk assessments and give the right care to the patient.

This project aims to avoid using custody as a place of safety and reduce the amount of time police officers spend on mental health incidents. It aims to find less restrictive and alternatives to the use of Section 136. S136 is a power available to police where a person found in a public place, suffering from mental ill health who is in immediate need of care or control, may be detained and removed to a place of safety in their own interests or that of others.

The launch of the Aylesbury scheme comes following a successful Street Triage pilot in Oxfordshire. The scheme is ongoing and continuing to make a positive difference to those suffering from mental ill health. The figures are available for its first year of operation.

Supt Olly Wright, LPA Commander for Aylesbury Vale, said: “I am really pleased that we have Street Triage starting here in Aylesbury Vale, and soon across the rest of Buckinghamshire.
“It’s true that significant amounts of police time have been saved as a result of the scheme in Oxfordshire, and it will be great news to replicate those efficiencies here. However, that’s not primarily what Street Triage is about; by having trained mental health professionals working alongside police officers, we’ll provide a much better service to vulnerable people in need of help, with more effective early assessment and involvement of appropriate support.
“For years, too many people suffering from mental health crisis have found themselves being taken into police custody because there’s been nowhere else for them to go, or the police officers haven’t known what else to do to keep them safe.
“Triage will mean that custody really does became the place of last resort. I’m very grateful for our partners in the NHS who have made this possible.”

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust clinical director of adult services Rob Bale said: “The Street Triage scheme has proved very effective in Oxfordshire and so we are delighted that it will now be implemented in Buckinghamshire.
“The objectives of the scheme are to reduce the number of Section 136s given out and to make sure police and mental health professionals are working together to ensure better awareness and experience.
“It is an excellent example of effective partnership working between police and the NHS that means more people are getting appropriate mental health support at the earliest opportunity. I look forward to seeing its success extended to Buckinghamshire and elsewhere.”

Click for the Thames Valley Police website