Crime Alerts

27FEB15 - TELEPHONE SCAMs

March 2014 Fraud prompts UK phone firms to tweak networks

Fraudsters are abusing "call clearing" systems that keep a line open even if the person being called has hung up.
BT, Sky and Virgin Media all outlined plans in 2014 to cut call clearing times from minutes to seconds to thwart thieves.
TalkTalk said it reduced its call clearing times "a good few months ago". One year-on this is still an issue.
The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool many. This is all about getting your credit card details which include the security number to make fraudulent purchases.

Talk Talk Help - Scam phone calls

09Dec14 - MESSAGE FROM CBNWA

An old scam email warning of a card from Parcel Delivery Services being put through your letterbox asking you to ring a 0906 premium number to arrange delivery of a parcel. This is an old scam dating from December 2005 and if you receive this warning please delete it and do not circulate it.

Another phishing email claiming to be from BT email service warning that they are closing down your email service. This leads to a scam site in Italy and should be deleted, they are trying to get your personal details so that they can take over your email account!

Many reports of various emails asking you to look at the remittance advice attached usually claiming a large sum will be deducted from your account. Do not open the attachment as it contains a virus, just delete the entire message.

Also the mobile phone delivery fraud has been reported in the area again. A delivery man brings a parcel addressed to you and asks for a signature. Shortly afterwards you receive a phone call saying that the delivery was an error and they will send another van to collect the parcel. The parcel will contain a new and expensive mobile phone which has been ordered in your name and you will be billed for the entire cost of the phone. DO NOT hand the parcel back to anyone who calls at your door, contact the phone company concerned and warn them that a fraud is being carried out, you did not order the phone and they will tell you what to do next.

Reports of a French sounding male calling at houses in the Sanderstead area collecting for Diabeties UK. Not sure yet if this is genuine but all collectors should have an ID card with their details and a contact number that you can ring to confirm who they are if you are unsure.

Also, there have been reports of some silly tricksters working in the roads off London Road, especially in the Scott's Estate area. Their 'game' involves putting a large wheelie-bin in the middle of the road, which forces cars to stop in front of it. When the driver gets out of their car to move the bin, a man (described as 25 - 30 years old, black and with gold teeth), suddenly pops up out of the bin and scares the driver. He says 'I just slept in a bin'. This is all filmed on a mobile phone by a female accomplice (described as 18 - 20 years old, black and smartly dressed), who has been standing on the pavement nearby. After scaring the poor driver, the tricksters find this all very amusing, and then move the bin and let the driver go on their way. While this may perhaps seem harmless fun to the 2 tricksters, it is not at all fun for the poor driver, especially if they are on their own. Luckily, so far, no serious damage had been done. But Police have known of incidents where similar games are played, and when the driver gets out of their car, a thief then hops in and steals it. Should such an incident happen to you, and especially if you are on your own, the police advise you to do the following:-
Stay in the car and lock the doors. Do not put yourself at risk. Call 101. Sound the horn & put on the warning lights to attract help. Hopefully this will frighten the tricksters off.

29Oct14 - MESSAGE FROM CROYDON BOROUGH POLICE COMMANDER

Please remember to secure your sheds, as we are seeing an increase in the number broken into and please secure your vans and mopeds as more of these are also being stolen.

Top ten tips for securing your home:

  • 1 Don't leave your keys or ID documents within easy reach of doors, letterboxes or windows.
  • 2 Close and lock all doors and windows. If you have multi-locking door handles, lift the handle, lock it with the key and remove it. Remember - LIFT - LOCK - REMOVE. Put the key in a safe place out of sight in case of fire.
  • 3 Lock garages and sheds so garden tools and ladders can't be used to break into your home.
  • 4 Keep side gates locked and wheelie bins stored behind them.
  • 5 Use timer switches linked to lights and a radio so it appears that someone is at home.
  • 6 Invest in a safe for valuables and sentimental items and securely fix it to a solid surface.
  • 7 Install a visible intruder alarm system - burglars don't want to be seen or heard.
  • 8 Install low level 'dusk till dawn' lighting to increase visibility and deter burglars.
  • 9 Keep side and rear boundaries high to restrict access and front boundaries low to remove hiding places.
  • 10 Photograph and mark valuables and sentimental items with your postcode and house number/name. Register items with serial numbers at: www.immobilise.com

For more help and advice visit www.metbumblebee.org

21Oct14 - SCAM EMAILS

Scam emails circulating from 'Microsoft account team' warning of unauthorized log in attempts to your Microsoft Account and giving a link for you to click on the verify your mail account. An important giveaway that this is a scam is that it is not addressed to your personally, Microsoft would use your name in a genuine email. This is a scam to obtain your login details and use your mail account.

Also scam emails from PayPal warning that your account has been limited and you should click on the link, this again is an attempt to obtain a PayPal log in details, the message is addressed to dear client and does not use your name.

A member has reported a telephone call from a lady offering to provide a service to block unwanted sales calls, she mentioned the Telephone Preference Service and said it would cost £66 for a year's subscription; this is a scam as the TPS is a free service and you can register yourself on this link www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html unfortunately this does not block calls from overseas but will reduce the number of sales calls from uk businesses.

The Monks Orchard RA has also sent details of a similar phone scam:
"I would like to make you aware of a recent phone SCAM which I received: Caller Displayed number was 08452 411 525.
A caller from "STOP THESE CALLS" rings and refers to a scheme to stop nuisance calls. He introduces himself as Carl and sounds very convincing.
He gives a telephone number 08452 411 525 (rather stupidly) and says he can arrange to stop all National and International nuisance telephone calls. He then says the charges to do this are a minimal of £1.50 per month. I then said I will call the number and set it up (playing along - realising it was a scam). He then says "no, we can set it up over the phone, give me your card details and I can start blocking the calls immediately." When I refused the caller hung up, confirming it was a scam just to get my card details".

10Jun14 - COURIER FRAUD UPDATE

Elderly and vulnerable Londoners were warned against falling victim to courier fraud on Thursday, 4 June, Courier Fraud Awareness Day, despite significant progress made in the last year in tackling the offence.

As part of this operation, officers from Operation Sterling, the Metropolitan Police's fraud prevention team, are working together with Ofcom, the DCPCU (Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit), Trading Standards and high street banks, including Natwest, Barclays and Santander, to advise on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. They are also distributing an updated edition of the MPS publication The Little Book of Big Scams, which can downloaded from the MPS website.

Courier fraud is a sophisticated fraud where scammers telephone the victim purporting to be someone from their bank, the police or other law enforcement agency. They then dupe the person into revealing their PIN and handing over their credit or debit card to a courier or taxi driver, who may not know they are being used as part of the scam. The victim may be asked to ring the number on the back of their card, thereby further convincing the victim that the call is genuine, however the scammer keeps the line open so that the victim unknowingly talks to another member of the gang, posing as a bank employee.

In the last year, the percentage of unsuccessful offences (where a call is made but a credit/debit card is not handed over) has increased to from 40% to 76% of all courier fraud calls reported to police. Officers believe this success is due to a combination of intensive efforts by Ofcom and the telecommunications industry to cut the amount of time taken to disconnect a call, and increased public awareness of the scam.

Despite these advances, police are warning people to be on their guard as criminals work ever harder to defraud their victims. 2556 courier fraud offences were reported to the MPS between April 2013 and March 2014 and the crime continues to evolve.

  • Bromley 142 offences
  • Bexley 73 offences
  • Croydon 178 offences
  • Lambeth 63 offences
  • Greenwich 72 offences
  • Lewisham 80 offences
  • Southwark 64 offences

Variations of the crime include:

  • asking the victim to assist in a police investigation. The victim is requested to withdraw a large sum of cash and take it home, where a courier then collects it.
  • being told there is a corrupt member of staff within the bank and asking for help in identifying them. The victim is told to withdraw a large sum of money, which will be 'marked', with the purpose of it being placed back into the banking system. A taxi driver is sent round to collect the cash.

Officers are advising the elderly and vulnerable to be aware of the following:

  • Police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bankcard
  • Never give your PIN or bankcard to anyone
  • If you are contacted by someone who asks for these, hang up
  • Use a different line to report the call to police on 101 or allow at least five minutes for the line to automatically clear
  • Call 999 if the crime is in progress.

    Courier fraudsters put a huge amount of time and effort into being convincing because the pay-off is immense. This is a massive part of what makes them so successful. We want people to question even truly genuine sounding calls and, most importantly, remember police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bank card, so you should never give these away.

    Since the start of 2014, the following boroughs have been hardest hit by courier fraud:

    • Barnet - 115 offences
    • Ealing - 83 offences
    • Kensington & Chelsea - 50 offences
    • Bromley - 47 offences
    • Croydon - 47 offences

    Between April 2012 and March 2013, the average age of a victim was 54 years old and nearly two thirds of victims were female. The average loss in 'complete' offences was approximately £2600 per offence. In addition, police seized nearly £48,000 in relation to courier fraud, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

    04Feb14 - NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY ALERT - MASS RANSOMWARE SPAMMING STILL TARGETING UK COMPUTER USERS

    The NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit are aware of a mass email spamming event that is ongoing, where people are receiving emails that appear to be from banks and other financial institutions.

    The emails carry an attachment that appears to be correspondence linked to the email message (for example, a voicemail, fax, and details of a suspicious transaction or invoices for payment). This file is in fact a malware that can install Cryptolocker - which is a piece of ransomware.

    More information at: CBNWA weekly update for 4th February 2014

    04Feb14 - BOGUS EMAIL TRIES TO INSTALL ZEUS TROJAN ON YOUR COMPUTER

    Have you received an email from WhatsApp? No? That's because the company usually sends their users messages directly via the app itself, typically notifying them of updates. If you have received an email from WhatsApp recently, do not open it and to delete it immediately. The email is a hoax that contains malware.

    More information at: CBNWA weekly update for 4th February 2014

    04Feb14 - AN OLD SCAM RETURNS

    An Old scam we reported some time ago appears to have returned to the London area and has been reported to the Met Police. A member of the public received a call from a company called 'Express Couriers' asking if they were going to be home because there was a package to be delivered to the owners address.

    About an hour later a delivery man turned up at the door with a lovely basket of flowers and a bottle of wine. The home owner was not expecting anything as there was no special occasion due. The customer enquired if there was a card and was told by the courier that it would arrive separately. The courier then explained that as the gift basket contained alcohol there was a £3.50 delivery charge as proof that he had actually delivered the package over 18 and not just left on the doorstep where it could be stolen.

    The home owner felt this sounded logical and offered to pay in cash but the courier said they could not take cash only credit card. The home owner paid by card on a small hand held machine which had a small screen and a keypad. A receipt was printed and given to the home owners. To the homeowners horror the following week they noticed that over £4000 had been taken from the account from various cash point machines.

    More information at: CBNWA weekly update for 4th February 2014

    04Feb14 - TRADING STANDARDS WARNING ABOUT ROGUE TREE SURGEONS

    Recent bad weather has seen rogue tree surgeons taking advantage of vulnerable customers worried that high winds could bring down trees, causing injury and damage to property.

    Croydon's trading standards team, after learning of an elderly victim who fell foul of one company's sharp practice, is warning residents to be aware of the possibility of contractors acting unscrupulously.

    More information at: CBNWA weekly update for 4th February 2014

    Keeping your home safe in winter and the festive periods

      As the days become shorter and nights longer it is important to look at your home security especially during the festive period when there is a general rise in burglary crime across the whole of the country. Operation Bumblebee is set up to help tackle burglary crime across the Metropolitan Police boroughs below are the top ten tips from this operation.
    1. Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
    2. Register items with a serial number at: www.immobilise.com (such as mobile phones)
    3. Do not leave your car keys or ID documents near doors, letterbox or windows.
    4. Always check who's at the door and don't open it if you feel anxious.
    5. Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
    6. Keep your valuables out of sight.
    7. Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home.
    8. Install a visible burglar alarm.
    9. Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked.
    10. Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time.

    For further crime prevention advice on home security and personal safety please visit the Metropolitan Police website www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention or contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team.

    FRAUD SCAM    09Nov13

    There has been a recent increase in fraud occurring on Croydon borough whereby elderly residents are contacted on the telephone by a person pretending to be a police officer informing them that their cards have been used in fraud. The suspect then asks the victim for their bank details and pin number and state that a courier car will be with them shortly to collect the cards. On several occasions a car has arrived at the address and the cards have been taken. Please can this scam be shared throughout your community to prevent further incidents occurring.

    Should anyone had seen anything suspicious please encourage them to contact Police on 101 or
    Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111

    As a police service are investigating the offence and enquiries are ongoing. As part of our service we will be in contact with Neighbour Hood Watch schemes to encourage intelligence sharing and appeal for witnesses.

    Thank you for your on going support.    PC Gilchrist    Grip and Pace Centre   
    Croydon Police Station    Park Lane       Croydon    CR9 1BP

    COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS LOTTERY SCAM    22Oct13

    Police are warning of a Lottery scam which started in Scotland but may well spead south it asks people to send on their bank details in order for them to receive their cash.
    Households in Scotland have been receiving letters informing them they have won hundreds of thousands of pounds in a Commonwealth of Nations Lottery and asking them to send on their bank details in order for the cash to be transferred.
    Once a victim hands over their bank details, the fraudsters will use them to empty the entire account.
    Always remember if you haven't entered a lottery then you can't have won it.

    SCAMMERS MAKE $33,000 A DAY THROUGH RANSOMWARE    22Oct13

    Ransomware sees criminals infect their victims with a piece of malware that locks the machine down, leaving behind a blackmail message offering to unlock the machine in return for money.
    The scams often involve a certain amount of social engineering, masquerading as a legitimate organisation or law enforcement body to make the user feel the fine is legal. Over the last three months ransomware scams pretending to be the Metropolitan Police, FBI and German Police have been discovered.
    If your computer is infected with this ransomware, do not pay any money to the scammers, if you have access to another computer you can find instructions on how to remove the locked screen on the internet using a programme such as Malware Bytes or you can get a local computer repair shop to remove the ransomware for you at a much lower charge.

    newsflash                  Bank Card Scam                 newsflash

    Call from 'your' bank, caller rings several times during the same day, each time needing to "check with my manager" before calling back.
    Each time you trust the caller more, as you know them!. Over the course of the conversations, it is made clear that there is a problem with your bank card, and that a courier will be sent round to collect the card, with a return the next day. In the meantime, each conversation has allowed you to reveal more confidential details, often including various numbers from your PIN. Over the total calls, they now know your complete PIN number.

    When the courier arrives, surprise surprise there is a call at the same time from the caller, just checking that "Kevin" has arrived. "Kevin" of course can confirm that this is he at the door.

    Your card is placed by you in a secure envelope, and the back signed by you.
    They now have the card, your signature, and the PIN obtained earlier!
    This, of course, is the last you see of the courier, your card, and no more calls.
    The card will be used within minutes to withdraw cash from a cash machine, and then used for shop transactions.

    Addiscombe banks are aware of this, they have had several customers in relating to this, and have a 'hot list' of the current targeted postcodes (Croydon and Shirley currently).

    newsflash              High Alert - Scaffolders About             newsflash

    Scam traders have been targeting older and elderly residents in the Addiscombe and Ashburton area. Residents are cold called by a man claiming to be erecting scaffolding for building work to be carried out on their neighbour's property. The man asks the resident for their name and telephone number so that their boss/the builder can call them regarding the scaffolding and work. The resident then receives a telephone call from a man stating that he will be working in the neighbour's loft and needs to fit a brace to support the roof while he removes the beams which are sodden with water. The man claims that he must use expensive machinery to fit the brace and tells the resident that they must pay a deposit, for the equipment being used, he asked one resident for £2,000. When challenged about what he had said, the man became agitated/aggressive and told the resident that if he did not use the brace water from the neighbour's loft would pour into their house and bring their ceilings down.

    These traders may still be operating in the Addiscombe/Ashburton area, or they may now be targeting another local area.

    Croydon Trading Standards warn : do not give your details to these people.
    If you are, or have been called on, by these traders please contact us on 0208 407 1311 or Trading.Standards@croydon.gov.uk

    newsflash      Female scammer in Ashburton/Addiscombe     newsflash

    Late at night and sometimes in the very early hours a young female is knocking on addresses in a panicked state.

    She claims to be a neighbour, and that her partner/cousin etc has been stabbed, and that she needs to get to hospital urgently but has no money to get a taxi.

    She also claims that she has a number of children and they need to go with her in the taxi.

    When offered a lift she says that she just needs about £20 for a taxi to get to hospital.

    Because people are being neighbourly the generally give her £20 and she says she will pay them back, but this is the last they see of her.

    Reported active again in July 2013 in Northampton Road - THIS IS ALL A SCAM.

    The same female was doing the same thing around Ashburton/Addiscombe, a year ago, but had done this about 6 times we know of in the last couple of weeks. (no doubt there are many more which are unreported.)

    If any of your neighbours have been taken in by this female, can you get them to e-mail me on john.nunn@met.police.uk

    In the meantime if you could let residents know about this scam, and advise them that if she calls to call 999.

    If there are any genuine females in need out there, they will be helped by police who attend.

    The female is described as mixed race, aged in her late 20s/early 30s.