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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Online Fraudsters

Fraudsters have set up a high specification website template advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances. These goods are below market value and do not exist. The fraudsters will request your card details via the website; however the purchaser will then receive an email stating the payment failed and they must pay via bank transfer.

The fraudsters entice the purchaser and reassure them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. The fraudsters are using the Trustmark fraudulently and have not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee. 

Protect yourself:

  • Check the authenticity of the websites before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created, be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website -

  • Carry out online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.

  • Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email They will confirm whether they have certified that website.

  • Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not received the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product.

  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, then 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.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Council Tax Fraud

Fraudsters have been phoning victims telling them that they have been placed in the wrong council tax bracket for a number of years and are entitled to a rebate. They normally say that this rebate should be worth about £7,000. Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance. The payment they ask for varies between £60–£350. The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone. When they phone their council about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters.

The fraudsters have mainly been targeting both male and female victims who are aged 60 and over and live in the Sussex area, but it is likely that the fraudsters will also start to target victims in other areas. 

Protect Yourself:

  • Never respond to unsolicited phone calls.
  • Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate. If you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away.
  • No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order to receive money, so never give them your card details.
  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open. Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Identity theft

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.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Dog Thefts

There appears to be a spate of dog thefts in the area.

In Watlington the occupants of a pink/white van snatched a dog off the street before driving off.

The fish seller has reappeared this time in Didcot, it looks as though it's a front for dog thefts as the seller is paying particular attention to side gates to the house and asks questions as to weather you are a dog owner or not.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Car selling scam

If you are selling your car via a classified advertisement or auction site, be aware of the following fraud scam:

Fraudsters may contact you through your advert, normally by text message and provide you with a link to a fraudulent website.
  • The website may look professional and similar to the "original" website that you advertised on.
  • It will explain that there is a ‘potential purchaser’ for your car.
  • It will ask you to pay a small “arrangement” fee to ensure the purchase takes place by using an e-money method; which could be via UKASH or PAYSAFE vouchers, for example.
  • It will instruct you to purchase the vouchers and may even provide you with a link to a list of the shops in your area that sell them. 
  • You are then asked to input the unique codes from the e-money product that you have just purchased.
  • Once inputted your money is gone!


However urgently you wish to sell your car, do not be misled because of a need to sell it!
  • Do not pay an advanced fee for the sale of your vehicle.
  • Meet face to face for an agreed sale and only accept cash

Friday, 30 January 2015

I've won the lottery

A lottery scam takes place when criminals pretend that you have won a prize, often a lottery.  The people most likely to fall victim to this tend to be over the age of 60 (although younger people do fall victim too) – but we know that it is often close family members of victims who spot the tell-tale signs of the fraud. 
Criminals will normally get in touch by letter or email and will try to engage you into dialogue with them.  Once they have convinced you that they are “genuine”, they will ask for a fee to be paid to release your winnings.  This fee could be to pay taxes or duty, or for a solicitor, banker or judge to authorise the transaction.  NO GENUINE LOTTERY WILL EVER ASK FOR ANY SORT OF FEE TO BE PAID.

Often this first fee will be small, but once they know you are willing to pay it they will ask for more and more money, with ever-changing excuses as to why they need it.  Victims can end up losing tens of thousands of pounds over the course of months or even years.
Many of you reading will be surprised that this type of crime takes place.  After all, why would anyone fall prey to scam like this when they never entered any such lottery in the first place?  Why would they have to pay money when they are supposed to have won millions of pounds?  The sad truth is that these criminals are incredibly persuasive and prey on people who are very trusting.  Therefore, even if you know that you would not get defrauded like this, please spread this message widely to friends, family and to people within your community.  

  • If you have not entered a lottery or a prize draw, you have not won it.
  • Delete any emails which detail you winning money or being in a position to make a fortune
  • Spread the message amongst people you come into contact with, especially older people in your family, and look out for any unusual behaviour, for instance someone paying money via money service bureaux, like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buying Ukash vouchers.