Here is useful information from Neighbourhood Watch about how to protect yourself from scam, theft and fraud, how to report a crime, victim support and other useful information. See below for how to set up Neighbourhood Watch in your area.
INFORMATION ABOUT SCAMS
in our area from West Berkshire Fraud Victim Support Officer Malcolm Phillips
Metropolitan Police has issued useful guides:
The National Trading Standards Scams Team helps tackle mass marketing scams which often target vulnerable consumers and disrupts the operations of perpetrators behind mail scams. It works in partnership with agencies across the country to identify and support victims of mass marketing fraud. The team provides guidance, best practice and establishes a centre of excellence to assist local authorities in supporting local victims and taking local enforcement action. If you spot a scam, stop a scam by reporting it to the NTS Scams Team on 03454 040506.
Trading Standards has issued a booklet on how to protect yourself from nuisance calls and messages which you can read/download via How to protect yourself from nuisance calls and messages – Ofcom
The most common scams that target the public: www.comparitech.com/vpn/avoiding-common-scams-schemes/
A new initiative called Cyberawaregov has launched SERS – the suspicious email reporting service. They say that if you have received an email which you are not sure about, to forward it to email@example.com There is further information on the website: www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THEFT
Belongings left in cars criminals use a device to block the signal of central locking system/remote control on cars when being locked. Please always check that your vehicle has actually locked by trying a door, especially somewhere like a motorway service station carpark where criminals often operate. If you have a keyless car, it is worthwhile to keep the keycard in an RFID signal blocker pouch or holder to prevent the signal being copied.
Contactless credit/debit cards “More and more of us pay for small items by tapping our contactless credit or debit card but there is a hidden danger. If you lose your card, the person who finds it or stole it can use it to pay for things even after you report it missing. That is because contactless payments are not always checked in real time. In some Stores, a cancelled card can be used months afterwards. If your card has gone missing, check your statements and ask for a refund for any payment you don’t recognise. Checking can be difficult as Bank and card statements get longer and longer but it is important to do it!” (From Saga magazine)
Bike thefts even though they are chained and locked, criminals are using bolt croppers or hacksaws to steal them. This YouTube video clearly demonstrates what the lock manufacturers are up against, and what they are doing to overcome the problems. Other useful information here: www.litelok.com London Police Sting Gone in 60 Seconds – The Bike Crime Wave Part 2
HOW TO REPORT A CRIME
Always call 999 in an emergency when a crime is being committed, there is a risk of injury, or a risk of serious damage to property. If it isn’t an emergency but a quick response is needed, call 101 and this is answered 24 hours a day or visit your local Police Station during opening hours. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
The Anti-Terrorist Hotline number is 0800 789 321 to report suspicious activity that may be linked with possible terrorism.
In the event of a power cut call 105.
Report a phishing attempt at actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing or to report fraud or cyber crime visit actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud-including-online-crime (Phishing is when criminals obtain your personal information by hacking into your accounts).
If you have concerns about parking on yellow lines or a pavement, please contact the Civil Enforcement Officers on 01635 521905. If vehicles block drives, the Police will take action.
Report a crime, road traffic incident or missing person via the Thames Valley Police website. After you send your report you will receive confirmation that it has been received by Thames Valley Police. They will contact you to explain how they are going to deal with your enquiry and aim to do this as soon as possible. All personal details sent using this service will be kept safe and are used for policing purposes only.
Online Updates to Crime Reports
With the launch of the new Thames Valley Police website at the beginning of the month, members of the public can now update occurrences and URNs online, without having to contact 101. With the increase in call demand that Contact Management (the PEC) are experiencing, the new website means that we can help to speed up and reduce the number of calls to 101.
Please use this link: www.thamesvalley.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS
These organisations offer victim support:
SUPPORT FOR YOU AT HOME
Book a Home Fire Safety Check via the Fire Service website or phone 0800 5876679.
For advice on how to stay safe online go to getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/spam-and-scam-email/
Age UK run an Easyshop scheme locally which could benefit residents who are housebound or find it difficult to get to the shops or to use a computer to order their groceries online. Age UK can do this for them and the initial contact is with their office at Newbury Town Hall (01635) 522255.
How to remove your personal information from 192.com (if you search your own name, you will see they publish a lot of information – all in the public domain but this company collates it all) – click here for advice from Which?
To avoid being charged to call 084, 087, 09 or 118 phone numbers go to the website www.saynoto0870.com to find out an alternative number to call. BT and some other phone providers have included calls to 0845 and 0870 in their call plans.
Your local Neighbourhood Action Group websites contain lots of useful information and gives residents the opportunity to contact their NAG/Community Forum via the website if they have any issues in their area. Websites currently up and running are for Newbury SW (needs to be updated) and Shaw/Speen/Donnington. These web pages can be found by going into the website: www.uknags.org.uk and then click on Find your NAG.
Thames Valley NHW Association website provides various information including events and meetings.
National Neighbourhood Watch website provides various crime prevention advice, monthly newsletters and a great deal of useful information.
The latest crime statistics for any area can be found by visiting www.police.uk . This website provides you with helpful information about crime and policing in your area. Enter your postcode, town, village or street into the search box, and get instant access to street-level crime maps and data.
The website www.inyourarea.co.uk provides various information on your area or other postcodes such as crime rates, internet speeds, house or rental prices and local news.
The website www.whocallsme.com is a good place to check phone numbers of marketing calls, unwanted SMS messages, or if it is a number you don’t recognise. You can always phone the number and if you put 141 before theirs, they will not know who has phoned. By doing this you will find out if it is a scam.
Shaw/Speen/Donnington Community Forum Facebook group: facebook.com/speenshawdonningtonCommunityforum/
Northcroft Councillors Facebook page is a resource for the local community www.facebook.com/cllrlynnedoherty
West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Facebook Group is a closed group for Coordinators and Members to join. We also have a PUBLIC page with the same name and these posts can be read by anyone at facebook.com/West-Berkshire-Neighbourhood-Watch
Also a West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Group on Nextdoor https://nextdoor.co.uk/g/wha1k3s6r/
Neighbourhood Watch has proved to be an effective method of reducing crimes such as criminal damage, burglaries, theft from motor vehicles and anti-social behaviour. Members are less likely to be a victim of crime if they and their neighbours are made aware of local problems by receiving up to date information on local incidents and crime prevention tips from the Police.
West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator Angela Money runs a quarterly public meeting with Police and Fire Service updates and speakers addressing local security issues.
See video here of Inspector Chris Ward explaining the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch in creating strong and safe of the communities.
Becoming a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator
If anyone is interested in finding out more about becoming a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, please contact West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator Angela Money on 01635 40866, 07774 962641 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you become a Coordinator, you will be put on the database so you will receive Police alert messages and scams etc via email.
The local Neighbourhood Police Officer will also visit you to deliver free NHW signs, stickers, leaflets and letters to give to your neighbours.
Benefits of Joining Neighbourhood Watch
You are eligible for discounts from Jewsons and Newbury Lock & Security Services.
A-Plan will offer any new customer a 15% discount off the cost of the Home insurance premium as well as competitive rates on Motor insurance policies. Please give them a call on 01635 874646 and find out how they can help you. You will be required to quote a reference at the start of the call to qualify for this discount. In addition, a referral fee will be given to Newbury Neighbourhood Watch to help towards running costs.
Co-op Insurance will give 10% off new Home Insurance Policies for NHW Members. To obtain a quote call their contact centre on 0800 781 1390 and quote the NHW code. Other Insurance companies may also give a discount to NHW Members on buildings and contents insurance.
Other discounts also available on SelectaDNA, Yale and Ring products.
Angela Money BEM
West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator