For News Posts alerting website Subscribers to possible local Scams.

COVID vaccine scams – a reminder

 

Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details.

Fraudsters send convincing-looking email and text messages telling people they are eligible for the vaccine or phone people and pretend to be from the NHS or a local pharmacy.

Remember that the NHS will:

  • NEVER ask for payment – the vaccine is free
  • NEVER ask for your bank details
  • NEVER arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • NEVER ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport

Click on the green link below for a 2-page poster with useful advice on how to spot a fake vaccination message

poster-guide-be-alert-to-vaccine-fraud

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  https://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  https://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.

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.

TV Licence scam email

Recently a local resident received an email asking them to renew their TV Licence online. Shortly afterwards they received an almost identical email from a different sender. Fortunately, they realised these were scams, so didn’t click on the link.

TV Licence scam emails are common enough for there to be a specific webpage about them: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/faqs/FAQ288

There’s useful guidance on what to watch out for (see below) and what a genuine TV Licence email looks like.

If you have received a similar email, or any other scam, please post a comment so others are made aware of it.

 

How do I find out if it’s a scam?

There are several sources of help if you are not sure whether something is a scam or not.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has a very useful site helping you to check whether something is a scam and what to do if you, or a friend, feels they may have been a victim.

 https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/

The Online Scams Helper covers emails, social media and websites and takes you through a series of simple questions and then gives advice based on your answers.

 

There are a number of sites where you can report scams:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails

https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

 

You can also sign up with Action Fraud for free email or text alerts about scams of any type happening in your area.

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/sign-up-for-action-fraud-alert