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Wednesday 8 December 2010

Crime news and advice

Out & About – Shopping for Gifts
Although Christmas is a happy time for many of us, be mindful that criminals also enjoy the opportunities that the festive season can often present to them.  Please be mindful of this advice over the festive period:
Whilst out shopping for Christmas and during the January sales, consider carefully where you are parking with regards to lighting and security.  Is the area well lit and would you feel safe returning to your vehicle alone in the dark if it is in a quiet area?  Is there any CCTV coverage in the area to offer extra protection?  Wherever possible, try not to return to your vehicle mid trip to leave presents in your boot and if you need to be mindful of anyone suspicious who may be loitering or watching you place the presents in your boot.  A boot full of presents or sale items would make a nice gift for an opportunist thief.
New Gadgets
For those of us who receive new gadgets such as satellite navigation systems, new phones and Bluetooth able items such as laptops take extra care when trying out your new toys!  Ensure that you wipe away the sucker ring from the windscreen after using your Satellite Navigation System as this signals to a would be thief that there has been a system in the vehicle.  Remember to switch of your Bluetooth when not in use as even if laptops and phones are locked in the boot where you believe them to be secure, criminals can use Bluetooth to indicate to them there is a Bluetooth device in their vicinity.
At Home
Although it is a fair bet that most households will have Christmas presents within them, try not to advertise the position of your gifts.  A Christmas Tree with presents under it is a festive sight, however it may also offer an incentive for passers by on the look out for easily accessible presents to steal, so try not to leave presents in places where they are easy to view from the window.
Once you have opened your gifts make a note of any serial numbers and store in a safe place and also property mark your items in case of future thefts.  It is always worth taking a photograph (alongside a ruler to give an idea of size) and recording a description and approximate value of any precious items as a precaution both for identification and insurance purposes if stolen.
Keep any empty boxes from Christmas presents out of your bin until recycling day.  Wherever possible, break the boxes up and secure them together.  Boxes and wrapping can provide burglars with ideal information about what new items have come into the property over Christmas.
If you are attending Christmas & New Year parties ensure that you make your house looked occupied whilst out by leaving lights on.  If you are out on several regular occasions try to vary the lights you leave on so there is not an obvious pattern when you absent from your property.  Consider investing in a timer switch from a DIY store so that some lights will come on automatically if you are back after dark.
Personal Safety
Whilst out and about socialising try to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your personal possessions such as phones, handbags and wallets.  Take control of your own possessions, it is often easy to leave your bag on the floor or your phone on the table presuming that someone else, such as a friend, will stay with them - wherever possible try to keep your personal possessions with you because you will definitely look after them.  Don’t carry your wallet around in your rear trouser pocket where it easily accessible for someone to dip into your pocket unnoticed whilst in a busy environment.
Always make someone aware of where you are intending to go on your night out and when you plan to return.  Plan how you are getting to and home from your venue before you go so you know you have a safe way to get home.  If using a taxi firm always pre-book the firm and don't be tempted to hop into any taxi's that are touting for trade.  Always ensure that someone else knows what taxi firm you have booked with and that they have a contact number for them.


Hoax postal and phone scam reminder to residents

Cheshire East residents are being asked to ignore a chain email about an alleged postal and phone scam.

The Council’s consumer protection and investigations team is reminding people they should not be alarmed by the message which warns people to be wary of a Postal Delivery Service (PDS) scam which could cost them more than £300.

But officers are also urging people not to forward the email in case it contains a virus.

The email message states that a card is put through front doors from a company called PDS. It is alleged that the card states delivery of a package has not been possible. A phone number is given on the card: 0906 661 1911. The email is warning residents not to phone the number as this could cost £315.

PDS was shut down in December 2005 and its operators fined £10,000, meaning the service is no longer running.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “For one reason or another, this email tends to be circulated every year around Christmas time and has done since 2005. I urge residents to ignore it and not forward it to others.

“But if anyone does receive a delivery card through the letterbox which they believe is not genuine and asks the recipient to dial a premium rate number, they can contact the premium rate phone service industry regulator PhonepayPlus for information.”

PhonepayPlus is on 0800 500 212 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm) and further guidance is available at



Please be aware of the latest credit card scam :-
This one is pretty slick since they provide Y O U with all the information, except the one piece they want.
Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.
One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard".
The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank) did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London ?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"
You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security.
You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works the caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card." He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers." There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say, "No," the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.
You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of £497.99 was charged to our card.
Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.
What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening .

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