Monday, 26 October 2015

Talk Talk Cyber Attack

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

Cyber Attack
Talk Talk, the phone and broadband provider, has been the victim of a cyber attack on their website commonly referred to as DDoS – distributed denial of service attack. This has led to hackers accessing Talk Talks servers and stealing personal data, which could affect over four million customers. It is currently unknown exactly what data has been stolen but Talk Talk 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 Talk Talk 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 e-mails be wary of any telephone calls claiming to be from Talk Talk 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 Talk Talk 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.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Pension Scam Alert - Cape Verde

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

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has been alerted to a pension scam whereby cold callers continue to target members of the public aged 50 to 60 years old to release and transfer their pension early. Suspected firms who advertise and arrange pensions are offering investments in alternative commodities such as hotel developments or property in Cape Verde, and operate as unregulated collective investment schemes.

Often, the cold calling ‘pension companies’ involved are neither regulated nor qualified to give financial advice and classify themselves as a ‘trustee’, ‘consultant’ or an ‘independent advisor’ and offer exceptionally high return rates for investors.

Some victims have signed documents that authorises a limited company to be set up using their personal details, including utilising a Small Self–Administered Scheme (SSAS). Whilst SSAS accounts and limited companies are essential for legitimate schemes, the fact that victims are unaware that this will happen suggests that the scheme may not have been fully explained to them, increasing the likelihood that there may be an element of fraud involved.

Protect yourself:

Further advice can be found at:

Ensure that you request that the risks and growth rates are explained and that you fully understand them before transferring your pension

Check whether the pension arrangement company is registered with the FCA. Registered companies can be checked using the FCA register online at:

Remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, then it generally is

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

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Police action to target Rogue Traders

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

50 vehicles were stop checked and 21 premises visited as part of work to protect vulnerable residents in Aylesbury from rogue traders.

During a Thames Valley week of enforcement and action to target rogue traders and pushy doorstep sellers police officers from Aylesbury took part in multi-agency operations alongside officers from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.

Operations took place in the Wing, Wendover and Haddenham areas of Aylesbury LPA on Wednesday (30/9) and Thursday (1/10).

Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting vulnerable residents, claiming to be a bona fide business and purporting to offer services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair.
The offenders charge excessive fees for the work, yet the work that is carried out is either sub-standard or not carried out at all.
The week of action was part of activities led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and Trading Standards.
Multi-agency teams were on the streets identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), visiting premises and conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

Thames Valley Police PC Matt Spenceley, seconded police officer with trading standards based at Buckinghamshire County Council, said:
Police officers from Aylesbury, Wycombe and Chiltern and South Bucks plus officers from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards took part in a multi-agency week of action to target rogue traders operating across Buckinghamshire.
Rogue trading is a crime that often affects the most vulnerable residents of Buckinghamshire and is still very much under reported.
This week of action targeted known rogue traders operating in Buckinghamshire.
It also provided reassurance to vulnerable residents previously targeted by rogue traders.
By speaking with local people about rogue trading we raised awareness and learned of potential incidents which are now being investigated further.
Please report any suspicious activity to the police or trading standards.
Martin Phillips, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: ‘Our involvement in this week of action demonstrates our determination to pursue doorstep rogues until they realise Buckinghamshire is a no-go area for them. However plausible they may seem on the doorstep, we all need to watch that we and our neighbours aren't taken for a ride by them.'

Most people who come to your door are genuine and many of them will be expected and welcome visitors. However, you may sometimes be faced with unwanted callers or traders and worry about how to deal with them.
By taking simple steps we can protect our homes and valuables and avoid becoming a victim of doorstep crime.

Rogue traders may:
  • Charge unreasonable prices
  • Take deposits and not return to do the work
  • Do a poor job
  • Not give you information on your right to cancel work if you change your mind
  • Take you to your banks or building societies to withdraw money to pay for the work
  • Refuse to sort out problems
  • Offer no guarantees or warranties.
If you are not expecting a visitor it is best to take simple precautions:
  1. Are you able to look through a spy hole or window to see who it is?
  2. Close and lock your back door before opening the front door.
  3. Even if you are expecting someone use your door chain or bar if you have one.
  4. Don’t be embarrassed, ask for their Identity card and check it carefully. Genuine visitors won’t mind if you close the door while you do this.
  5. Never use the telephone number the caller may give you to check their identity – always look up their number in your phone directory.
  6. Never buy goods from people calling unexpectedly or unannounced at your door.
  7. If the caller is offering work on your house or garden tell them you are not interested and ask them to leave.
  8. If they say they have done work for you in the past don’t assume they are genuine traders,
  9. Never allow any callers or workmen to take you to the bank, building society or Post Office,
  10. Remember these callers can be pleasant and persuasive – if you are in control you won’t be fooled.
If you need work doing on your property:
  1. Take advice from family, friends or reputable traders
  2. Always get at least 3 quotes and make sure the quote you accept is in writing
If someone has called at your home uninvited and carried out work that you are unhappy or worried about, or if you want to report an incident call Trading Standards or the police
If you can, try and give as much information as possible including:
  • The name of the trader or company
  • Any names or telephone numbers the gave
  • Registration number and descriptions of any vehicles they used
  • A description of the traders- how many were there? What did they look like? What were they wearing? Any other information – did they have local accents?
  • Details of any paperwork.
Click for the Thames Valley Police website

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Freecycle Alert

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

Fraudsters are targeting online advertising platforms where items are acquired for free. The fraudsters will list items on the website and advise any purchasers that they have recently moved from the area they were originally living in and can arrange a courier to dispatch the items for a fee.

The payment requested for this service is usually via Money Transfer such as MoneyGram or Western Union, or an e-money voucher. The items they were promised are not received and any attempts to contact the individual to gain a refund are unsuccessful.

Protect Yourself:
  • Stay within the auction guidelines stipulated on the website.
  • Ask to view the item in person.
  • Be cautions of making advance payments to a stranger via Money Transfer or e-money products.
  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.