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Author Topic: Scams, Thefts and Crime Update  (Read 143 times)
Thames Valley Police
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« on: January 15, 2020, 07:54:37 PM »

RE SCAMS:
 
I have had this in from Malcolm:
 
Hi
 
Reading about the recent courier frauds.
 
Your report, prompts me to write to say we’re getting calls allegedly from a bank, claiming £600 was taken from our account 15 minutes ago – ‘press 1 for…’, ……..at which point, I put the phone down.
 
We’ve had the call, 3 times, in the last few days.
 
Others be warned ! The ‘15 minutes’ thing is obviously intended to cause you to panic and respond - not this one - it doesn’t!
 
The calls about your computer slowly, is also very prevalent at the moment.
 
Keep up the good work!
 
Malcolm
 
Please remember, these scammers are really good at what they do and know just how to panic you, into making poor decisions.  If your bank saw money going out of your account illegally, they would immediately put a stop on the account and make contact with you via your mobile phone, if they have a mobile number for you - or by letter.
In every case - say thank you for the information.  Put the phone down, find a number independently from the call - never use a number they give you - and phone the bank back - first - having made sure the line is not being kept open, by phoning a friend / relative, or using a different phone - the scammers are very smart - they can play a dial tone down the line, to make you think, the line is clear !
 
These calls are increasing - because they are being successful.  If they were not making money - the calls would reduce.  The question for opportunist thieves is - why commit physical crimes, such as burglaries, which hold a threat of prison, if they are caught - if they can just phone people, scam them and ask them to hand over their cash - which they do very easily, in very large quantities !
 
They don’t even have to leave their living room, if they give you an ‘safe’ account number and ask you, to transfer the money to them !!!
 
They can make more money in a 10 minute phone, with much less risk of being caught, than in weeks, of real physical crime !
 
I have just had yet another email from Paul, about a scam Courier Fraud today !
 
Hi
 
I have just had an extremely weird phone call, with someone claiming to be DC Morris from Hammersmith Police Station. He quoted a shoulder number of KE191 to me.
 
He knew that I was really suspicious, but said that he was calling to say that two men had just been caught using my bank card, and could I get it to see if it had been cloned.
 
When I refused to give him any information, he said to call 161, which was a police line, to check his ID.
 
As soon as I put the phone down on D C Morris, it rang, with a lady saying that I had dialled 161, which I hadn't (I was trying to look the number up on my iPad, to see whether it was genuine), and saying that she could verify, DC Morris, was a genuine Met Pol officer.
 
When I still refused to give her any information, she hung up.
 
I assume that this is some sort of scam, and is not genuine?
 
Many thanks,
 
Paul
 
YES PAUL - THIS WAS A STANDARD COURIER FRAUD SCAM CALL !
 
What is amazing, is the script has been franchised out to scammers all over the UK and they all still use the original name ‘DC Morris from Hammersmith Police station with 2 men in custody’ for using your card’.
 
The minute you hear the name ‘DC Morris’ connected to Hammersmith Police Station, you know it is a scam !  Some scammers have changed the name, but the rest of the script it always the same.
 
They ask if you to get your card, to make sure you get it while they are on the phone.  They can then ask you to put the phone down then phone 999 or whatever number they give you, while they hold the line open.  If you had to go and get your card later, they may not be able to hold the line open that long.  Up until these Courier Frauds became so widespread, a caller could keep the line open for up to 20 minutes !  Now as a result of the problem, this has been cut down to 2 or 3 minutes, so they have to make sure you have everything necessary while they are calling to carry out the scam  In Paul’s case, you know the line had been held open, because the operator from ‘161’ called back - even though he had called them.  They also made a very simple mistake - as we all know, the non-emergency number is 101, not 161.  They were obviously working from a very badly written script !
 
BE ON YOUR GUARD, THESE ARE OBVIOIUSLY STILL HAPPENENING ON A DAILY BASIS !
 
DON’T LET IT BE YOU !
 
 
STOLEN BIKES:  we have a real problem, not only in our town centres, but from sheds and garages !
 
I have had this in from PCSO Matt Wingrove in Maidenhead:
 
I noted in your recent alert message for Maidenhead, you mentioned two ‘Pinnacle’ mountain bikes, stolen on the 11th.You also mentioned that the aggrieved, had supplied the frame numbers.
Just to let you know, I recovered those bikes and was able to return them to their rightful owners, because we had the frame numbers, which I used to identify the bikes.
I have posted this on Facebook, but please feel free to report this on TVP Alerts.
The bikes had been hidden in dense woodland and were spotted, by a local resident who reported them to us. We are really grateful they took the trouble to do that, as I do not think we would have found them otherwise, as they were well hidden. Unfortunately, we haven’t caught the thieves, but at least the bikes were returned.
 
Can you remind people, about several things:
Can everyone put their bikes up against a wall and photograph them !!!  As you will see from reports, sometimes the only thing owners know about their bikes is the colour - and - sometimes they are vague about that !  Do it on your mobile phone and email the photos to yourself.  That way, you can email them to us, if the bike goes missing
Make a note of the frame numbers.  The frame number is stamped into the metal underneath the bike, between the pedals.  Again, reach down and photograph it.  We recover bikes all the time and rarely have a means of searching the police computers for them - to return a bike, the owner has to prove it is theirs either with an identifying photo, unique details or much more easily - with the frame number.
Register the bike, either on www.immobilise.com or www.bikeregister.com.  That way if the bike is recovered in another police area, it can be identified and returned.
If your bike is stolen - TO REPORT IT TO US !  We recover dozens of bikes each month, hidden in woodlands or bushes, which have been stolen, but which are never reported as stolen, to us.  If we cannot identify an owner and as the yard gets full of them, we send them off to auction.  All monies received, go towards the ‘Police Property Act Fund’ and spent on good causes.
 Regularly check and update your Home Insurance policies.  The owners of these expensive recovered bikes, were relieved to have them returned, as they had brought them since their last insurance update and they were not covered.
People should also make sure their sheds and outbuilding - including their contents - are also covered by their insurance policies, especially these days where people are spending much larger amounts of money on their bikes, garden tools and equipment.
If you are storing valuable items in a shed, make sure it is secure.  Sheds generally are very flimsy objects and can easily be forced.  The two recovered bikes had been chained up inside - but you have to ask - chained to what !  If you are going to do this, a very smart member from Ascot, suggested sinking the chain into a bucket, then filling it with concrete, making it almost impossible to take the bike, without cutting it free - which is a noisy business.
If you are storing valuable bikes / tools in a garage, think about sinking and concreting in a locking post into the floor and securing items to that.
Think about a shed / garage alarm.  These are now extremely inexpensive.  They are battery operated, so need no wiring, simply sit on a shelf, are fobbed on and off as you go in and out, have a heat an motion sensor and sound at 110 decibels.  In the early hours, that is deafening.  These are easily purchased from DIY stores or large online retailers
You could simply attach empty tin cans to any chain, so that if things are moved, it is noisy !
Think about ‘alarmed padlocks’.  These are turned on and off by reversing the ring.  They have a trembler mechanism.  There are several versions with several sizes of large rings, to fit around bike handlebars / tools.  I have had feedback that they are not reliable, if left outside in the rain, but work perfectly inside.  These are not operated by a removable battery, so once they go off, they sound until the internal charge is exhausted and they have to be replaced - but, they are really good and very easy to use.
All these items can also be used in the back of transits and vans, to protect, valuable tools !!!
 
PCSO C9902 Mathew Wingrove | Maidenhead South | Windsor and Maidenhead LPA
 
CATALYTIC CONVERTERS:
 
This went out in Windsor - but is useful for everyone:
 
15/1  Wednesday 1.50 a.m.  St Andrews Crescent.  A witness was awoken by a noise of what appeared to be machinery outside.  They went to look out and saw their neighbour’s car jacked up.  A man wearing a balaclava was then seen to walk away carrying something and the car was no longer jacked up.  He climbed into a large waiting hatchback, which then drove away.  The neighbour later reported the catalytic converter had been cut from his Honda Jazz exhaust pipe.  Some catalytic converters contain more precious metals, particularly platinum, than others, so it is those cars which are targeted.
Honda Jazz’s are particularly targeted.  If you have one of those cars targeted, always park it tail in against a wall / garage door, to make it as hard as possible to jack the car up and remove the box.  Using a battery cable free small angle grinder, it takes only seconds to cut through an exhaust pipe either side of the converter, which then drops off !  Also if you have a targeted car, pay particular attention to where you park and check it regularly, particularly, if your exhaust sounds noisy.  At today’s morning briefing, our Force CID reported that this is a particular and growing problem, in the surrounding police areas.  As they put strategies and campaigns in place to prevent it, they may displace the problem to us - we need to be therefore even more careful.  It is a difficult issue as they are so easy to cut and steal - but the process is very noisy - cutting through metal.  SO - if you hear something that sounds like a metal pipe being cut - anywhere - have a look and make contact with us, if you ever see a car in a strange place, jacked up at the rear.
 
TRACKER SYSTEMS:
 
This went out in Windsor but is useful advice:
 
14/1  Tuesday 7 p.m.  High Street.  A Honda motorbike, belonging to a delivery driver making a delivery stolen.  As it had previously been stolen, it had been fitted with a Tracker system.  A colleague checked their computer and could see the bike had been taken and hidden behind the Leisure Centre.  It was then recovered.  Mentioning Tracker systems, brings up several issues we don’t talk about much anymore.  All expensive, performance cars and motorbikes, should be fitted with a Tracker system and some insurance companies make it a condition of insurance.  There are several levels of cover.  The basic is really good, but the more expensive versions - there are monthly payments - tell you if your car has been stolen and can ever track the car, once inside a metal shipping container, which the cheaper versions cannot.  If you have a performance car, ‘Trackers’ are built in during the manufacturing process, by the manufacturers, to make them difficult to find and remove.  They are then, turned on when you take out a contract.  If you car is stolen and you have not activated the Tracker, it may be possible to pay the fee and Track the car.
Tracker software is also really useful for mobile phones and laptops.  Apple products have the App / Software built in and it only needs to be activated.  Please do that as soon as possible, if you haven’t already - ‘Find My Phone’ !  Other devices may need an App, but it is a simple process and once you have your password, you can track a device from other devices like a home computer / laptop.  The tracking only operates, if the phone is turned on.  Thieves therefore turn the devices off immediately.  If they happen to be turned on to restore the device to factory settings, it will show up for a second.  Tracking, used to be triangulated using mobile phone masts and was not accurate to a small area.  That has all changed.  It now GPS tracks the device, using the mobile phone masts, but all the domestic and business internet wifi and other people’s devices in the area !  Just like using your mobile phone as a Sat Nav, it uses everyone else’s phones in cars to plot both your and their location and speed - to show you areas of congestion.  It is measuring their speed in front of you to calculate your journey time and show you red areas of congestion ahead to re-route you !
 
 
CRIME
MAIDENHEAD CENTRAL:
maidenheadcentralnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
NO CRIME TO REPORT.
 
RIVERSIDE & BELMONT:
NO CRIME TO REPORT.
 
MAIDENHEAD WEST
maidenheadwestnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
BISHAM, COOKHAM, HURLEY, THE WALTHAMS, LITTLEWICK GREEN & KNOWL HILL:
5/1 - 13/1  Farm, Littlewick Green.  Trailer stolen from a barn - No sign of forced entry.
13/1  Monday 7 p.m. / 10.30 p.m.  High Street Cookham.  Car windscreen smashed  - LAPTOP, earbuds, Mont Blanc pen, cash and a black back pack stolen.
 
PINKNEYS GREEN & FURZE PLATT:
11/1 - 13/1  Saturday 10 a.m. / Monday 5.30 p.m.  Whitchurch Close.  Garage break.  Entry through a large hole made in the roof.  Searched but nothing appears to have been stolen.  They forced the door from the inside to exit.  A garden fence was also damaged.
 
MAIDENHEAD SOUTH
maidenheadsouthnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
BOYN HILL, COX GREEN & WOODLANDS PARK:
11/1 - 13/1  Saturday 5 p.m. / Monday 7.30 a.m.  Dunwood Court, Boyn Valley Road.  Car vandalised - badly keyed down both sides and rear windscreen wiper broken.
 
OLDFIELD, BRAY & HOLYPORT:
15/1  Wednesday 3.15 a.m.  Service Station, Braywick Road.  The attendant received a phone call at 3.15 from a man who said he was the area manager.  He asked the attendant, to bag up all the tobacco & cigarettes, the phone top up cards, a case of red bull a case of Lucozade and the cash from the till.  He said he needed it for another areas service station and would send a courier for it.  At 3.15 a.m. a white car arrived and parked up.  A man got out came to the service area, collected the items - and drove away.  Are you ahead of me Huh  It was a scam !  If you work in a local business can you alert the management to this case and make the staff aware. And to be on their guard.
14/1  Tuesday 11.30 p.m.  Farm, Ockwells Road.  A farmer reported seeing lights and hearing gunshots, in one of his fields.  He was concerned that there were a lot of deer in that area and it could be poachers.  He went to investigate and found a car stuck in the mud, whith part of the bumper partially ripped off.  The police attended and found the car, but the men had made off.
 Please consider using our online reporting system but please note this reporting tool is not for use where a crime happening right now, the suspect is still at the scene, or anyone seriously injured or in immediate danger.
 
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