For News Posts alerting website Subscribers to possible local Scams.

Unsolicited phone calls and ways to block them

Roof Insulation Cold Call

A villager recently received an unsolicited phone call from Energy Guard Insulation Ltd. in Bournemouth. They called from 02045 122040, but may also use other numbers.

The salesman offered a free survey to check roof insulation “…tomorrow while we are in the area … as recommended by the Energy Saving Trust.”

Signs that the call was likely to be dubious included:

  • Use of “tomorrow” to push you into making a quick decision
  • Mention of the Energy Saving Trust to give the call believability
  • Use of 02045 code – sometimes used by businesses to disguise their whereabouts

Companies House list Energy Guard as “Active proposal to strike off” which is another danger sign.

Energy Guard install spray-on insulation, which Which? reports as not suitable for many homes:

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/insulation/article/spray-foam-insulation-ajTlp7t5K7lT

Energy Guard are linked to Apex Smart Secure Ltd who supply alarm systems, so may use the same cold calling techniques.

 

How To Block Nuisance Calls

The Which? website includes useful guidance on a number of different ways you can block unwanted callers on landlines and mobiles.

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/cordless-phones/article/how-to-block-nuisance-calls

 

 

 

Scams – fake vaccine text message & how to check a phone number

COVID 19 vaccine text

Scammers are taking advantage of the COVD vaccine rollout to send ‘phishing’ texts.

One example of this reads:

‘We have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine’ and then prompts you to click on a link for further information or to ‘apply’ for the vaccine. If you click on the link, it takes you to a very convincing fake NHS website which asks for your bank details.

There are also reports of phone calls which ask for your bank details to pay for the vaccine, which is of course provided free by the NHS.

Remember:

The NHS will never ask for your bank details

Spelling and grammar mistakes are often signs of a scam

See: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-COVID fraud texts

         devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/ fake-texts-covid-19-vaccine/

Who Called Me?

If you think a phone call or text might be a scam, you can check UK landline and mobile numbers using the Who Called Me? website  https://who-called.co.uk/

The site classifies numbers from Unknown to Dangerous using reports from members of the public.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see when you enter a number https://who-called.co.uk/Number/01512162712

 

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 30.12.2020

 

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

 

Covid-19 Restrictions.

Somerset, along with most of the country, has now been placed in tier 4, the highest level of alert; it applies from one minute past midnight tonight.  The latest press release announcing these changes and explaining why the decision was taken is here.

In tier 4 the overall message is ‘stay at home if you possibly can’.

“In a Tier 4 area, you ….cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household [and only if you are on your own]”.

Reasonable excuses for leaving home include

  • Work, paid or voluntary
  • To obtain medicines or food (including take-aways)
  • Education
  • Individual exercise
  • Medical appointments

The full details of the tier 4 restrictions can be found here.

NHS vaccine scam

We don’t plan to report on every new scam that appears but Andrew Buchanan has alerted us to one that appears rather convincing and builds on the relief we are all feeling at the availability of effective vaccines.   Please look at the details here

https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/scam-nhs-covid-vaccine-text-message/

and be very cautious about any unsolicited message that asks for personal or financial details.

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

 

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 28.12.2020

 

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

 

Covid-19 Restrictions.

Since our last update we have been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 as the level of infections in Somerset has continued to rise. The government intend to review the position on 30th December when it is possible that further changes will be announced.  A quick summary of the main differences between tiers 2 and 3 is given below.  Those who want the full detail can look here.

Testing and self-isolation

Testing and social distancing remain key to controlling the spread of the virus until such time as a large proportion of the population have been vaccinated. Somerset County Council have some useful guidance on who should get tested and when people should self-isolate here.

You may find this poster  helpful in explaining how and when to get tested and why it matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping safe in cyberspace.

As people start to think about new year resolutions Andrew Buchanan, who helps us  avoid on-line scams, suggests that it would be a good idea to focus on your online security to make sure you’re safe in 2021.

 

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre suggests six things you can do:

  1. Use a strong and separate password for your email
  2. Create strong passwords using three random words
  3. Save your passwords in your browser
  4. Turn on two-factor authentication
  5. Update the software on your devices
  6. Back up your data

You’ll find the details and instructions here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home

 

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

 

SCAMS – sources of useful information

The number of scams going around appears to be fairly high at the moment, so here are two reliable sources of information that will help you to avoid being taken in.

Which? offers free scam alert updates by email

“Which? cuts through the noise to find the facts. From dodgy coronavirus phishing emails to phoney automated HMRC calls, we’ve heard them all. Our emails will alert you to scams doing the rounds, and provide practical advice to help keep you one step ahead of the fraudsters.”

To sign up for these email alerts, visit this page: https://whichcouk.bsd.net/page/s/which-scam-alerts.

 

 

This page on the Metropolitan Police website has lots of information about different types of scam and about how to stay secure online.

https://www.met.police.uk/police-forces/metropolitan-police/areas/campaigns/2019/little-guide-preventing-fraud/

At the bottom of the page are links to a number of downloadable booklets which explain scams in fairly simple language and provide useful advice on what the danger signs are.

 

The same Met Police page also includes a number of short videos explaining various types of fraud, plus password and WiFi security loopholes and how to close them.

The animated videos are each about two minutes thirty seconds long, and cover:

  • Password security;
  • Phishing scams;
  • Online ID security;
  • Software updates;
  • WiFi security;
  • Online Shopping Safety;
  • Payment Fraud;
  • Romance Fraud;
  • Impersonation Fraud.

If you’re not sure about a possible scam, or spot a new one, please let us know using the Leave a Reply option at the bottom of this page.

Scam warnings – genuine or hoax?

Recently we’ve seen a couple of warnings about delivery scams which people were sent by friends. One is genuine, the other a hoax, and yet they look fairly similar.

PDS                                                                                   DPD

Because it’s been sent to you by a friend, you can’t do the usual checks on the email address, weblinks, spelling and use of language. So how do you tell if a warning like this is real?

The first step is to check with the ActionFraud website:  www.actionfraud.police.uk You’ll find the banner below at the top of their page – click the magnifying glass symbol at the right-hand end to start a search.

If your search doesn’t show anything relevant, try one or more of the following to see what comes up:

  • Google search
  • Company website – if a company’s name is mentioned in the message
  • Snopes https://www.snopes.com/ – also useful for debunking conspiracy theories and urban myths
  • HoaxSlayer https://www.hoax-slayer.net/
  • If you’re still not sure, put a message in the Leave a Reply section below one of the Scam Alerts posts on the village website. We can then check and let you know what we find.

The DPD one is a genuine warning. and is on their company website:   https://www.dpd.co.uk/content/about_dpd/phishing.jsp

The PDS one is the hoax, an old one that’s been going around for 14 years.  The apparent endorsement by Royal Mail & Trading Standards Office is a clue – people use these to give their messages credibility. Another clue is that hoaxes often ask you to circulate to all your friends. Here is the ActionFraud page about it:   https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/hoax-email-from-pds-parcel-delivery-service

In fact, this was a genuine scam back in 2005, but because people reported it, it was stopped in early 2006 by the authorities. However, the warning is still being circulated by well-intentioned friends.

 

Does it matter if I circulate a hoax? There’s certainly the danger of ‘crying wolf’, so your friends might not take a genuine scam seriously. You’re also cluttering up their inboxes and social media feeds, and potentially making them worry unnecessarily.

Unsuccessful delivery scam

There are a number of “unsuccessful delivery” scams around at the moment, possibly driven by our increased use of online shopping and delivery services.

The green link below will show you an email which purports to be from Royal Mail. Fraudsters could, of course, pretend to be from any of the courier companies, so, if you’re not expecting a delivery, treat any email or text like this with caution.

2020.11.12 Royal mail scam_Redacted

Things which show this email is a scam:

  • Royal Mail usually put a card through your letterbox
  • The From: email address is clearly NOT Royal Mail
  • The Royal Mail delivery office is unlikely to have your email address

Other things to look out for are mis-spelt words and poor English – both absent from this email.

 

Current scams: a text message from a bank and an email from DVLA

 

Bank Text Scam

There’s a very convincing text message scam going around at the moment. It purports to come from a well-known bank, and says that you have set up a new payee. The same scam uses a number of different banks.

The screenshots below show two examples, one apparently from HSBC, the other purporting to be from Barclays. Clues that show they are not what they seem are unusual email addresses. For instance, in the Barclays text, including barclays.uk in the URL is used to make https.//barclays.uk.detect-attempts.com/ appear to be a genuine Barclays site.

If you click on the link, it takes you to a very convincing fake online banking page which asks you to enter your login, password and other details. If you fill these in, the fraudsters can use these to take money from your account

If you’re in doubt about a message from your bank, contact them in the way you usually do to check that all is in order.

For more details: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/scam-warning-fake-barclays-text-directing-victims-to-phishing-site/

 

DVLA email scam

This vehicle licensing scam email has a GOV.UK header and includes the following text:

——————————————

DVLA have been notified electronically about you latest payment for your vehicle tax failed because there is not enough money on you debit card.

Your vehicle is no longer taxed.

We have generated a new invoice, and we suggest you to use a credit card instead of a debit, to avoid any other consequences that might appear in case again won’t be enough funds inside.

The online Transaction ID is 9F9887F-45979741427

        Tax your vehicle – START NOW >

– the vehicle’s registration number
– have your credit/debit card ready
– follow the instructions on your screen

You must tax this vehicle before it is driven on the road, tax now at www.gov.uk/vehicletax.

——————————————

Clues that this is a scam include:

  • The DVLA says “We never send emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information. If you get anything like this, do not open any links and delete the email immediately.”
  • It doesn’t include your name, address or a registration number
  • Spelling mistakes and strange use of English
  • The sender’s email address is clearly not a DVLA or Gov.uk one
  •       From: DVLA Electronic Vehicle Licensing <Johnozolins622@hotmail.com>
          Sent: 16 September 2020 10:36
  • If you hover your cursor over the Start Now link you’ll see that the website this takes you to starts with:  https://nam10.safelinks.protection……  This is obviously not a GOV.UK or DVLA one

 

Stay safe online!

HMRC scam email alert

Once again scammers are pretending to be from UK Government. The current one looks like this:

(Apologies for the poor quality image)

“Aside from the unrelated email address this scam has arrived from, there’s a lot about it that could make you think it’s genuine; the subject line even includes a reference number, while the general look and feel mimics legitimate emails and the text is generally clear.

But if you do click through on the link, you’ll be taken to a fake website where you’ll be asked to hand over sensitive information.”

Source: which.co.uk/scams/hmrc-government-grant-scam-phishing-email/

Test and Trace scams

Scammers are still pretending to be from Test & Trace.

Trading Standards have a useful page of advice about what information a genuine Test & Trace call will ask for, and what details only a scammer would want.