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Keeping Watch (Nov 2015)

Scams and cybercrime

Courier fraud

This type of crime involves fraudsters calling on people and tricking them into handing over their cards and PIN numbers to a courier on their doorsteps.

Typically, fraudsters cold call you on a landline, claiming to be from your bank or the police. They say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card (or say it’s due to expire and needs to be replaced). So that you can check that they’re genuine (which they’re not, obviously) they suggest you hang up and ring the bank or police immediately. But they don’t disconnect your phone from the line that they’re using so that when you dial the authentic  number you are, in fact, still speaking to the fraudster (or their assistant). They then ask you to read out your PIN or type it out on your phone keypad. They may ask for details of other accounts you hold with the bank or with another financial service provider. They then send a courier to your house to collect your bank card. By then the fraudster will be in possession of your name, address, full bank details, card and PIN!

To protect yourself there are certain things you need to know:

If you receive a call that you think may be of this type put the phone down as soon as your suspicions arise. Then report the incident to the police on 101.

Do spread the word about this type of crime!

The regular fraud prevention updates that can be found on the Hertfordshire Constabulary’s website are excellent. Similar guidance documents are provided by Herts Trading Standards; they can be found by going to www.hertsdirect.org.uk and following the link to ‘Consumer advice’ and then ‘Scams’.


Emails purporting to be from Lancashire Constabulary

You should disregard any email sent by ‘Lyn Whitehead’ which appears to come from a legitimate Lancashire Constabulary email address (the email asks you to pay an invoice that is attached to the message). Delete such emails at once and do not open them or all your personal data will have been breached! Report any such attack to www.actionfraud.police.uk. You will need to change all passwords for bank accounts, shopping accounts etc. immediately.


Following the recent cyber attack by hackers on this company the personal details of many of their clients have fallen into the wrong hands. Emails purporting to come from TalkTalk may be phishing emails. Do not click on any links that may have come from potentially suspicious sources or harmful software may be downloaded onto your computer. Genuine approaches from TalkTalk will onlyever ask you for two digits from your password. For more information visit http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/oct22incident .

Protecting mobile devices

A substantial number of us live our lives through our mobile devices: if we are suddenly deprived of them through theft we feel devastated. Most people who use these devices to this extent will be fully able to access information about keeping these devices safe; the essentials are as follows:

Safety tips for university students

Students can be exposed to risks that they may not previously have encountered when they are away from home . The police suggest that students, their friends and relatives should seek information provided by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust at www.suzylamplugh.org.  

Lost Property

Despite HTC’s best efforts to publicise the scheme few people seem to be aware that a lost and found property service operates at the Town Hall. If you’ve lost something, report it to HTC who will submit the information to the police and reunite the item with you if it is handed into the Town Hall. Any items which have been found may be handed in and the Council will hand them over to the Police for safe keeping until the owner is found. The Council’s opening hours are 10-4 Monday to Friday (01582 768278).

Video cameras on police uniforms

In September a scheme was started to allow 1,000 officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary to wear video cameras on their uniforms. By now all frontline officers, Safer Neighbourhood PCs and PCSOs should have been issued with them. The objectives are:

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner thinks the measure can only increase confidence in policing.

Volunteering with Hertfordshire Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers is a national charity which allows people to give information about crime and criminals anonymously. They’re looking for volunteers in Hertfordshire. If interested, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/HertsVolunteers.

Volunteer as a Special Constable

Special Constables support the police by upholding the law, with all the same duties and powers as regular police officers. They are drawn from all backgrounds, from school-leavers to retirees. Many also have full-time jobs. Volunteer police officers (over 18) need to be available for a minimum of 16 hours a month. Should you wish to become a Special Constable, visit www.hertspolicecareers.co.uk/special-constables/.