There are many great resources offering helpful advice and guidance regarding crime prevention, we suggest some options here regarding current crime issues.
Nottinghamshire Police monthly blog -
http://www.ourwatch.org.uk/ - the national Neighbourhood Watch organisation, supporting safer and stronger communities
http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ - ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
www.outofyourhands.com - information about smartphone safety.
www.snopes.com and www.hoax-slayer.com - websites with useful information about scams and hoaxes.
REMINDERS RE SCAMS – RECEIVED VIA PHONE / TEXT / EMAIL
I feel it is appropriate to issue regular reminders with regards to scams (particularly Phishing / Smishing scams) as they are always ‘on the go’. RNW has been informed of quite a few received locally during recent weeks. (Of these, a couple were telephone calls, a couple were text message and others were in email format).
Fraudsters often cold call residents pretending to be from a trusted organisation – your bank, the police, a government department or other trusted company. While their tactics may vary, the aim is the same; to get your personal or financial information, encourage you to hand over your cards or cash, or trick you into transferring money into accounts they control. Don’t fall for their tricks. They may make threats to withdraw services or say things to cause you concern to rush you into a decision or a course of action – don’t believe them and end the call!
If you weren’t expecting the call and you are not sure about it or concerned by anything they have said, especially if the caller can’t prove who they are (knowing our name / address is NOT proof), always insist on verifying the caller’s identity.
Use a different phone line or wait 5 minutes for the line to clear, phone the organisation they claim to be from and use a number you know to be genuine, not one provided by the caller.
Note: Please report phone scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via www.actionfraud.police.uk.
If you have lost money to one of these scams, contact your bank immediately then report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible.
TEXT MESSAGE SCAMS (‘SMISHING’)
Scammers are increasingly taking advantage of smart phones and are getting very clever with how they try to take your money / personal details.
They can even make it look like a genuine organisation is contacting you via text by using identity masking technology to change the name displayed as the sender. This is known as ‘number spoofing’.
Fraudsters can use many different types of messaging systems and apps, like SMS (text messaging), WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat etc. to try and scam you.
What to look out for / what you shouldn’t do:
1. Unexpected contact. Is this how the organisation normally contacts you? If not, contact them directly to check if it is genuine. Remember a genuine organisation will never contact you out of the blue and ask you to verify your details, request personal or banking details, or tell you to transfer money.
2. Check for spelling or grammatical errors. Genuine organisations will rarely make glaring spelling mistakes or grammatical errors – if they do, it is usually an isolated incident. If the message doesn’t look right, it may well be a scam (even though it may drop into a chain of other messages from the organisation).
3. Don’t follow any links. Doing so may send you to a website set up by the fraudsters to steal your money and / or personal details.
4. Don’t share any personal information. Genuine organisations, such as banks, HMRC, DVLA etc. will never ask for your personal or banking details through a message or text.
What you should do if you receive a suspicious text:
1. Check with the organisation. If you weren’t expecting the message and you are not sure or are concerned about it, always check with the organisation it claimed to be from using contact details you know to be genuine, not using the app or text chain the message arrived in.
2. Don’t reply, forward it then delete it. By replying, you could alert the scammers and show that your number is active. This could lead to you receiving lots more unwanted messages! Instead, forward the message to 7726 (spells SPAM on your keypad) . On forwarding the message, you will immediately receive a text from 7726 asking you to provide the number which sent the message. Once you have sent this, block the number / caller and delete the message from your phone.
If you have lost money to one of these scams, contact your bank immediately then report it to Action Fraud (details above) as soon as possible.
Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails that are supposedly from your bank or some other trusted organisation because the address can easily be faked. Never automatically click on any links they contain, stop to check if they seem genuine first.
7 ways to spot an email you’ve been sent is a scam:
1. The sender’s address doesn’t match the website address of the organisation it says it’s from. Roll your mouse pointer over the sender’s name to reveal its true address.
2. The email doesn’t use your proper name – using something like “Dear customer” instead.
3. There’s a sense of urgency, asking you to act immediately.
4. There’s a prominent website link which may seem like the proper address, but with one character different. (Or it may just say ‘Click here’ – roll your mouse pointer over it to reveal the destination).
5. There’s a request for personal information.
6. There are spelling and grammatical errors.
7. The entire text of the email is within an image rather than the usual text format and the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site. Again, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination.
Don’t get caught out! For more information please visit www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk.
Note: Please forward any email scams to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This service is for suspicious emails you have received but not acted upon.
If you have lost money to one of these scams, contact your bank immediately and also report it to Action Fraud (details as above).
CATALYTIC CONVERTERS (CATs)
A CAT was stolen from a vehicle in the village between 28th Feb and 2nd March 2023. Here is an explanation of what a CAT is, why they are stolen etc. and what you can do to reduce the risk of CAT theft.
What is a catalytic converter?
Catalytic converters (CATs) are a crucial component of a car’s exhaust system. They’re located under the car, attached to the exhaust pipe (usually with bolts). A catalytic converter cleans harmful gases before they exit a vehicle’s exhaust pipe.
Catalytic converters are fitted into most petrol-fuelled vehicles made since 1992 and most diesel-fuelled vehicles made since 2001.
A CAT is one of the most valuable car parts for salvage.
(Note: fully electric vehicles do not have CATs).
Why are thieves stealing catalytic converters?
CAT theft has risen due to the value of what they are made of and how easy it is to steal them. A CAT can be cut from the underside of a vehicle with relative ease, and they are lacking in identifying marks, which makes them hard to trace when they are resold.
A CAT contains palladium, platinum, and rhodium – all precious metals. When the prices of these precious metals rise, so does the value of a CAT, making them far more attractive to thieves.
Despite it being illegal to pay for scrap metal with cash, unfortunately, some dealers will buy stolen materials for cash, making it harder to trace the theft and tempting thieves to steal valuable car parts.
There is also suggestion, by some, that they may be stolen to supply the spare parts black market owing to the high value of the CATs.
How thieves steal catalytic converters
CATs are found under a vehicle, in a box connected to the exhaust pipe. To steal them is, unfortunately, a simple process - thieves get under the car and use high-powered cutting tools or simple bolt cutters to detach the box from the pipes around it.
Thieves take the stolen CATs to metal recyclers who pay a variable sum per converter for the precious metals inside them. The better condition the converter is in, the more money a thief can make.
Are some cars more susceptible than others?
Yes, some cars are more frequently targeted by thieves. Although there are thousands of different types of CAT, the cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles.
According to the insurance company Admiral, hybrid cars are targeted the most because their catalytic converters contain a higher concentration of precious metals and are generally less corroded. Their data shows the most susceptible cars to CAT theft are the Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris and Lexus RX.
Vehicles that are higher off the ground such as 4x4s are also at higher risk of CAT theft because it is far easier for a thief to get under the vehicle.
What should you do if your catalytic converter is stolen?
Driving without a CAT could lead to engine damage. As soon as you realise the theft has occurred:
· Take the vehicle to a garage to avoid a more costly repair and to prevent harmful emissions getting into the atmosphere
· Report the theft to your local police on 101.
You may be able to tell if your vehicle’s catalytic converter has been stolen upon starting up, as the exhaust will likely sound much louder. (However, some drivers might not even know the part has been stolen because a vehicle can still run without it).
If you don’t have a catalytic converter fitted, your vehicle will produce emissions above the permitted standard.
How to reduce the risk of catalytic converter theft
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen:
· Park your vehicle in a locked garage if possible but if this isn’t an option, then park in a well-lit and well-populated area
· Try ‘defensive parking’ against a wall / fence (with the bonnet closest to the wall / fence) or by another lower vehicle to make it more difficult to reach under yours.
· If parking on your driveway also consider installing CCTV and an alarm system that captures where you park
· Avoid parking with half of your car on the pavement / kerb and half on the road as it gives easier access underneath
· If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your bonnet towards a wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it
· Consider using a CAT protection device or marking system*. [For details of products that could help protect your vehicle ask your vehicle manufacturer or dealer or visit www.selectamark.co.uk (marking system), www.TVL-LTD.co.uk (clamp system) or www.soldsecure.com (products to enhance vehicle security). These companies are approved by the ‘Secured by Design’ (SBD) scheme].
· Consider installing a Thatcham approved alarm to your vehicle – ones that activate if your vehicle is lifted or tilted can be more effective*
· Have a garage weld the catalytic converter to the exhaust system / weld the bolts – to make it more difficult to remove.
(* If you are thinking of making any modifications to your vehicle, I would recommend you consult your insurance company first - so they can advise what impact, if any, the changes will make to your policy and premiums).
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