There has been a series of recent incidents reported to Action Fraud where a lone fraudster has approached victims whom they believe to be unfamiliar with the local area. They make an excuse to talk to the victims such as enquiring about directions or offering a recommendation for a good hotel.
After this interaction, several other fraudsters will intervene purporting to be police officers in plain clothes and will sometimes present false identification as proof. The fake officers will then give a reason to examine the victims’ wallet, purse or personal items. They may also examine the first fraudster’s items or try to tell victims that the first fraudster is suspicious in order to gain victim trust and appear more realistic in their guise.
After all the fake police ‘checks’ are finished, victims have then reported being handed back their personal items only to later realise that a quantity of money or valuables were missing.
How to protect yourself:
- If an individual claims to be a police officer ask for their name and rank, force, and examine any identification presented; this is always good practice but especially important if they are not wearing a uniform.
- The Police will never ask for your passwords or PIN details. Do not give this information to anyone.
- The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them or to a ‘safe’ account.
- If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
Phones at the wheel enforcement week
As many will know, the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving went up on Wednesday 1 March in a heightened effort to deter drivers from this dangerous practice.
Sussex Police joins a nationwide enforcement campaign to crack down on phone use at the wheel, which started Wednesday 1 March and runs till Wednesday 7 March inclusive.
During the period officers will be out and about across the county to spot and impose the new penalties, £200 fine and 6 licence points, on anyone caught. For newer drivers whose licence may be less than two years old, this would mean the complete loss of their licence.
Sussex Safer Roads Partnership launched its campaign awareness messages with the social media hashtag - # It Can Wait. The wording is a reminder that driving requires full concentration and nothing is more important than arriving safely and without incident.
High profile media cases such as that of the lorry driver Tomasz Kroker in October ’16 demonstrate the horrors of distracted attention because of a phone. A woman and her three youngsters were all killed as his lorry ploughed into their stationary car while he scrolled through music on his phone.
The law may seem confusing on matters such as ‘hands-free’ and making emergency calls. The Gov UK site which outlines the law in full, can be accessed by clicking here.
If you spot other road users driving and using their phone, report them to Operation Crackdown here.
Please help to discourage the practice by sharing this message with your friends and family. And possibly, decline getting into a car with someone who uses their phone while driving – difficult thing to do maybe, but safety is at stake and a tough response from you might be enough to stop them from doing it.
If you are driving, put your phone away out of sight so you can't be distracted, and remember - it can wait !
1. Make it as difficult as possible for criminals to get in to your property. Ensure doors and windows are locked at all times and remember to use the alarm if you have one.
2. Keys, money and phones are a burglar's dream. Keep anything like that well out of sight and out of reach of doors, windows and letterboxes. Criminals will use rods and sticks to reach through to take bags and keys and use them to get inside. In one third of burglaries, the thief didn't actually have to break in to get inside the home.
3. If you like to display a Christmas tree near the window, remember to make sure the presents are hidden from prying eyes. Just like anyone else, thieves like to window shop before ‘buying’. Remember to draw curtains and lower blinds.
4. Make your home look occupied by using timer switches on lights and radios so that people think you are in. If you don't have timers, ask your neighbours to keep an eye out and if you go away, make sure you draw your curtains before you go.
5. Take care when getting rid of packaging the presents came in as empty boxes and full-up bins are a perfect advertisement you may be away, or that there are things worth pinching inside.
6. Record your high value goods by making use of free and secure websites like Immobilise where you can register computers and laptops, mobile phones, bikes, TVs and games consoles, by way of example.
Despite the tone of this message overall, please be reassured that Sussex is still one of the safest places to live in England. With an average of just 40 reported crimes per 1000 people living in the districts of Lewes and Wealden, they are among the safest of all.
The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.
The letter tells recipients that there have been some “unusual transactions” on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine.
When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth. Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.
The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.
The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.
If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card.
To report a fraud and cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040 or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
Burglary on a farm in Ringmer
A container on a farm in Ringmer was broken into during the night of Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 November and some high value tools and equipment were stolen. Among them were two chain saws and a concrete hydraulic breaker, a Montabert SC8, with ‘BEST BN8 5HA’ welded on it as identification.
If anyone has information about this incident, or if you see this hydraulic breaker for sale, please contact us via 101 and quote reference 203 of 24/11.
Please find below a link to the latest edition of the Sussex Fraud Newsletter.
Intruders disturbed at a farm in Neaves Lane, RingmerOn Monday 14 November at about 11pm, the resident of a farm in Ringmer was disturbed by an alarm going off on his Land Rover parked inside his barn. He went to check and on entering the barn it was evident that the door had been forced and he immediately heard people climbing a fence and then driving off in the direction of Hailsham. On inspection inside the barn, it was apparent from broken locks on two wood chippers in there, that these were the intended targets. Luckily the alarmed Land Rover was parked in front of one of them which prevented the suspects from succeeding. The farmer has unfortunately previously been targeted as he had a stump grinder stolen just recently.
Any witnesses to this incident, or anyone with information that may be related, is asked to contact us on 101 by phone or email email@example.com and quote reference number 523 of 14/11.
An outbuilding on a farm in Neaves Lane, Ringmer was broken into on Friday 4 November between approximately 8am and 1pm and a 'tree stump grinder' was stolen. At the same time thieves broke into a Land Rover Defender and stole tree surgery tools from inside, including a chainsaw. The initial discovery of the incident was made just after 1pm when it was apparent that the lock on the gated entrance had been forced and broken. Anyone with information relating to this incident is asked to contact us on 101 by phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference number 686 of 04/11.
A unit at Broyle Farm in Ringmer which stores tools used for contractual gardening services was broken into and a significant number stolen, amounting to a value of about £12,500. The discovery was made around 7am on Thursday 3 November and suggestions are that the burglary must have been carried out some time during the preceding four hours after the last employees left the site at 3am.
Please keep your eyes and ears open for any cheap tools for sale such as strimmers, leaf blowers, whacker plate, disc cutter, pole saws and a chainsaw. If you do come across anything or if you have any information which may be related to this incident, please contact us via 101 by phone or by emailing email@example.com and quote reference number 239 of 03/11