Crime prevention warnings.

Scam Alert & Rougue Traders

The following details of current scams has been received from Warwickshire County Council:-

Tax fraud arrests scam
A number of Warwickshire residents have reported bogus phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be HMRC. The callers attempt to scare residents by suggesting they have committed tax fraud and a warrant has been issued for their (the residents) arrest. They then demand the resident pays a fine/tax owed.

Bitcoin investment scams
A Warwickshire resident reported losing over £3000 after being cold called and offered an opportunity to ‘invest’ in Bitcoins via an online platform. The resident transferred the money which was then almost immediately withdrawn by the fraudsters.

Free solar panel ‘health check’
Owners of solar panels are warned to beware of letters and cold calls from bogus/high pressure companies offering solar panel ‘health checks’ that are in reality an opportunity to sell the resident highly priced and unnecessary warranties and additional solar panel equipment.

Bogus BT callers
Attempts are being made by fraudsters to obtain the banking details of Warwickshire residents by making calls falsely claiming to be BT and other telephone service providers. The fraudsters telephone unsuspecting consumers, claiming that their broadband speed is not as fast as it should be and offering them £200 refunds. They then ask for the individuals’ bank details to so they can ‘pay the money in’. In reality, bank details stolen in this way are used for criminal activity.

NEVER provide personal or financial information to people who cold call you, either over the phone or on the doorstep. You can’t tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep. Don’t buy goods/services/investments from cold callers.

Advise From West Midlands Police -WMNOW – Holiday Security Tips

Please see below the advise received from West Midlands Police

As many of you are planning to go on holiday over Easter please also remember to plan your security provisions whilst you are away too.

  • ​Set timers so that lights come on in your house.
  • Test and use your alarm and outside security lights.
  • Lock all doors, including porches and remove keys from the locks
  • Can a neighbour take in your post to avoid it being visible in a porch for days?
  • Ensure all valuables are safely stored away.
  • Register your valuables for free on www.immobilise.com
  • If you are travelling by car, could a neighbour leave a car on your drive to give the impression someone is home?
  • If you are leaving your car at home, install additional security such as steering wheel locks.
  • Avoid telling everyone on social media that you are going away.
  • Avoid posting holiday photos on social media whilst you are away.
  • Ensure all bushes at the front of your property are trimmed down. High front hedges are a criminals dream when committing burglaries as they cannot be seen from the road / pavement.
  • Ensure ladders, garden tables and furniture is secured / locked away, including your wheelie bins !! especially if you have single storey extensions / conservatories.
  • Ensure you do not leave garden tools around that could be used to break in. Lock them securely in a shed or garage.
  • If you have bicycles in a shed or garage make sure they are all locked together  with a quality assured lock.Also consider letting the tyres down whilst you are away to make them less attractive to take !
  • Ensure a neighbour or relative have your contact details of where you are going and ask them to keep an eye on your home whilst you are away.
  • Visit http://www.securedbydesign.com/crime-prevention-advice/secure-your-home/ for more tips and security advise.

Break-Ins – Securing Outbuildings & Sign Up for Neighbourhood Information

Tidbury Green Parish Council have recently been informed of a number of break-ins to the outbuildings at the end of Gardens on Norton Lane.

The attached note proides advise on steps that you can take, which make it much more difficult for thieves to successfully operate and what to do in the event of a theft.

As detailed in the attached note, the Parish Council also recommends that residents sign up to WMNOW which is a great tool to find out what is happening in your area. It only takes 5 minutes and you will receive regular alerts to let you know what’s going on in the neighbourhood including details of thefts, positive police action in the community, details of crime prevention measures and items which have been stolen and retrieved by the police.

To register please go to:

https://member-registration.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/172/Join

Identity Theft

There have been several reports of Identity theft where persons have been using addresses to obtain car Insurance. We can only assume that they are  getting a lower rate because of the post code area or getting credit to obtain such as the addresses used are likely to have a good credit score rating.

These person are possibly using their own names but the addresses they are using are selected at random.

It is believed that they are not local and could be from anywhere in the UK.  A majority of the names on the letters are Eastern European sounding.

If you receive any letters of this nature can I ask that you report the matter to Action Fraud, details of how to do this can be obtained on the below link.

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Cash Machines

There have recently been several incidents at ATM Cash Points whereby person(s) have been using a device which placed over the part of the machine where you put your card in, this disables the machine and keeps the users card. Once the user as left the Offender(s) are then able to access the card and users details to remove cash from their account.

If you are using any Cash Machines please be vigilant and if you think there is something not quite right then let the bank know during opening times or contact the Police on the below numbers ( 999 in an emergency only)

Cold Callers

Knowle, Dorridge & Blythe Neighbourhood Police Team advised us of an incident recently where an elderly lady was called by someone pertaining to be from Barclays bank informing her that there had been a security breach of her account and that she needed to take her money out and transfer it to another account through the Post Office. The person appeared to know a lot about the ladies account even though she did not do any internet banking. Barclays were contacted and they stated that they had no knowledge of the call to the lady and it was certainly not from their Organisation. Unfortunately the lady lost a large sum of money. This highlights the importance of being vigilant when taking such calls and not divulging any information over the phone. The advice given is that if you receive such a call no matter how convincing they are or how much knowledge they have about you, you should ask for a call back later and then check with your bank yourself. Use a number you regularly use which is familiar to you to call them. However you are reminded not to discuss banking details over the phone from an incoming call that you are not expecting.

Our Local Neighbourhood Policing Team have brought the following magazine scam to our attention. The scam was reported to them by one of their coordinators.

The coordinator in question recently received a telephone call from a company called Sapphire Magazine (their telephone number was 08445 670 460), they said he/she had completed a telephone survey for them (I do not remember this). They said they would like to send them a trial magazine and a £20 petrol voucher.

If he/she liked the magazine they could subscribe for £79 a year, and the profits would go to a Cancer charity, all he/she had to do was give them a £1 for postage, this pound was to be paid by credit card.

The company were informed  that he/she was not comfortable with giving out their card number, so they said they could phone their customer services on 0843 507 0707.

The number was checked out to the above ‘company’ on the web, there are a lot of people who have been taken in by this, it appears that they take £79 out of your account, not £1, and there is no magazine, and you can not contact them again, or get your money back.

If you wish to check this out just ‘google’ Sapphire Magazine Scam.

Stranger Danger

Following an incident where a girl was approached in Dorridge on the morning of Friday 24th January the police are asking parents and teachers to drive home the ‘stranger danger’ message.
The 10-year-old was on her way to school in Slater Road at around 8am when a man in a silver car pulled alongside her and asked her to get in.

The girl immediately ran off and alerted her school who called police and an investigation has been launched.

It’s important children are reminded about ‘stranger danger’ safety messages, never to get into cars of motorists they don’t know, and to always report suspicious behaviour so that the police can investigate.

But at the same time it should be stressed that the girl has not been injured, or indeed physically touched.”

Police are working with Solihull Council to reassure parents and carers that the incident is being fully investigated and to advise of the need to be vigilant.

West Midlands Police has issued the following advice:

• Never go off on your own with a stranger, take things from them or get in a car with them.
• Make sure you tell your parents where you are.
• If someone scares you, or makes you feel uncomfortable go somewhere safe, which could be your home, your school or a police station. Remember to tell someone what has happened straight away.

If you would like to discuss any other policing matters please contact your local policing team on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Shed Break Ins

Last year saw a slight increase of shed break ins across Bythe, Knowle, Dorridge and Hockley Heath Neighbourhoods and one such crime was reported (as detailed below) on Tilehouse Lane over the Christmas period.

Most residents do not check their sheds over the winter months, so thefts can go un-noticed. The police advise that we should all regularly check our garden sheds so that if any thefts have taken place they can be reported.

The police also advise that where ever possible, you should ensure that sheds and other out buildings are padlocked and if possible fitted with a shed alarm(s) which can be purchased from most Garden Centre’s or DIY outlets.

If you see anyone or anything suspicious in your local community please call officers on 101. Always dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

Vehicle Thefts

Knowle, Dorridge & Blythe Neighbourhood Police Team are asking vehicle owners to remain vigilant and report all suspicious activity following a number of thefts from vehicles in and around the knowle area.

Officers are encouraging motorists to think twice about security as they work to reduce the potential for opportunist vehicle crime.

They advise that if you have a garage please use it, and if you have an alarm please make sure it is activated, and your vehicle is left secured.

They also ask you to remember to remove all valuables from your vehicle. This could include laptops, phones, sat navs, sunglasses, loose change or anything that may catch the attraction of an opportunist thief.

Crime continues to fall across the borough and with thefts from vehicles accounting for around 10 per cent of all offences we can cut this figure even further by taking some simple steps.

If you see anyone or anything suspicious in your local community please call officers on 101.
Always dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

Likewise if you have information on people or properties linked to the handling of stolen property please call officers or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

Bogus Police Officer Courier Fraud

Fraudsters phoned at least 15 homes – mainly in the Solihull and Northfield areas – in the space of a few hours on the 13th February posing as detectives and trying to panic people into handing over bank cards and security details.

The ruse involves the bogus officer claiming the target’s bank account has been hacked or their card cloned…and that they need to seize the card and PIN number to stop fraudulent transactions.

West Midlands Police launched a widespread awareness campaign this week highlighting the con – and the vast majority of people contacted yesterday followed police advice, hung up and didn’t divulge bank details.

However, the cruel tricksters managed to persuade an 82-year-old Shirley lady into revealing her PIN number and handing her card over to a ‘courier’. It was later used to withdraw £250 cash and make two purchases totalling almost £1,000.

Also a 91-year-old woman from Weoley Castle also phoned police to say she handed over her bank card to a courier on Wednesday (Feb 12) along with £100 cash – her most recent withdrawal – which the cruel con artists claimed they needed as evidence. Another £294 was taken from her account before the card was cancelled.

The callers’ tactics vary: some claim to be from regional police stations, some from London some say they’ve arrested people and recovered cloned bank cards, whilst others suggest money has been taken from accounts.

“Police officers or genuine bank officials would never ask you to divulge PIN numbers over the phone or send couriers round to collect cards. If you receive a call requesting this then hang up and contact police.”

So far this year West Midlands Police has received around 50 calls from residents – whose ages range from 59 to 93 – reporting they’ve been targeted by the “Courier Con” with victims having collectively lost around £10,000.

Many people fall for the scam because they believe the bogus PC’s story has been verified by a follow-up call to their bank – but because the scammers don’t hang up the victim is unwittingly still speaking to them and not a bank official.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST COURIER FRAUD:

• Your bank or police will never send a courier to your home to collect bank cards
• Your bank or police will never ask for your PIN number
• If you receive one of these calls end it immediately.

If you’ve been a victim call your bank and cancel your cards immediately – try to call from a different phone if reporting it immediately after being contacted by someone you believe was a scammer – and report it to West Midlands Police on 101