Posts

Counterfeit Bank Notes [#248585189]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police.

This week, counterfeit £50 Royal Bank of Scotland notes have been used in our area.

The offenders have made small value purchases at stores, paying with the forged notes and then receiving legitimate change in return. Officers are investigating and will be working to identify the source of the fraudulent cash. We would urge traders and shoppers to be vigilant and where possible traders should ultraviolet light scanners to check the authenticity of notes.

What to do if you receive counterfeit currency

  • If the notes have been passed and the suspect is not present, this should be reported online at www.westmercia.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ or by calling 101.
  • If the suspect is present at the location or still nearby, consideration should be given to calling 999.
  • Counterfeit notes should be retained and provided to the police as evidence, ideally inside a plastic wallet or paper envelope to preserve potential fingerprints.
  • If there is CCTV footage of the suspect available, this should be downloaded and provided to the police together with the counterfeit currency.
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Weekly Fraud Update From West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – 22/04/2024 [#247225131]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police

WORLD PASSWORD DAY – 02/05/2024

World Password Day was created to raise awareness for the critical need for good, strong Passwords. With the increasing occurrences of online security threats, and the opportunities to steal your identity, creating strong and diverse passwords is essential. So, use that day to look at and, where possible, improve your own passwords starting with your email accounts.

What’s in your Inbox?

Take a look through your email inboxes – personal and work ones – to see what personal and other confidential information is in there. Remember that once a fraudster has access to your email account, they can access other personal accounts, and often be able to change your password to gain access to those as well.

How can you protect your email account passwords ?

The latest Government statistics show that only 35% of people in the UK are following advice to use strong passwords made up of 3 random words.

To increase your own security and online safety, using a password made up of 3 random words e.g. applepenfish, creates a stronger password. this can then be made more complex by adding symbols or numbers.

Always avoid using the same password for every account, and especially birthdays, family names, pet names or your football team. “Password” and “123456”, which head up the list of most common passwords, should never, never be used.

Also:

Make sure you use a different password for your email – and also every online account you have whether it is financial services, online shopping or social media platforms. This is because if you do use the same login details, and one of your accounts is compromised or the website hacked, criminals have easy access to all your accounts.

Where offered, use two-factor authentication (2FA / MFA) to confirm that you are actually you. The site you are logging into will send you a PIN by email or text which you need to enter in order to gain access.

Don’t log in to your email or other confidential online services when using unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots. This could be intercepted by either unsecured or fake Wi-Fi, capturing your details.

Can’t remember all those passwords? You’re in good company … most people can’t. Use a reputable password manager which not only stores all your passwords in one place, but can also help you set up secure passwords that are difficult to guess or crack.

Last but not least: it may sound obvious, but don’t share your email or any other passwords with anybody else, however reliable or trustworthy you believe them to be.

Please feel free to share this information with any family, friends, or neighbours you think it may be able to assist

Take Five to Stop Fraud

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

ALWAYS REMEMBER:

  • Avoid disclosing security details
  • Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic
  • Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number
  • Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests
  • Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams

If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number – 159 – to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks

New Community Speed Watch Scheme set up in Bewdley! [#246423049]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police.

Community Speed Watch is a community driven road safety initiative, coordinated by West Mercia Police but managed and run by volunteers in the community. It has now been running for 8 years in West Mercia and we’re reminding local residents about the scheme and how you can get involved as a volunteer if speeding traffic is causing concern.

The scheme involves trained volunteers monitoring the speeds of vehicles with approved, hand-held speed measurement devices. Where vehicle speeds are found to be inappropriate, a letter is sent to the registered keeper by the police with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed when driving in the future.

A Community Speed Watch scheme is initiated when ‘speeding traffic’ has been identified as a community road safety concern by a parish council. Therefore, it’s important to raise any concerns about speeding traffic to your local parish council in the first instance.

In areas where community concerns about speeding are raised, speed data will be collected by West Mercia Police to determine the nature of the problem and action will be taken accordingly.

To find out more, including the criteria that must be met before a CSW scheme can be established, visit: https://www.westmercia.police.uk/news/west-mercia/news/2022/february/could-you-make-a-difference-to-the-safety-of-the-roads-in-your-community/

We have been working with the Town Council and members of the community to set up a Community Speed Watch scheme in Bewdley. We are delighted to say we have 12 volunteers who have today completed their training and will soon be heading out to identified sites of concern in and around the town centre.

As part of our continued support towards the Local Policing Charter, we look forward to working with local communities and enabling them to take an active role in addressing concerns about speeding traffic.

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Is speeding traffic affecting the quality of life in your community? [#244430663]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police

Community Speed Watch is a community driven road safety initiative, coordinated by West Mercia Police but managed and run by volunteers in the community. It has now been running for 8 years in West Mercia and we’re reminding local residents about the scheme and how you can get involved as a volunteer if speeding traffic is causing concern.

The scheme involves trained volunteers monitoring the speeds of vehicles with approved, hand-held speed measurement devices. Where vehicle speeds are found to be inappropriate, a letter is sent to the registered keeper by the police with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed when driving in the future.

A Community Speed Watch scheme is initiated when ‘speeding traffic’ has been identified as a community road safety concern by a parish council. Therefore, it’s important to raise any concerns about speeding traffic to your local parish council in the first instance.

In areas where community concerns about speeding are raised, speed data will be collected by West Mercia Police to determine the nature of the problem and action will be taken accordingly.

To find out more, including the criteria that must be met before a CSW scheme can be established, visit: https://www.westmercia.police.uk/news/west-mercia/news/2022/february/could-you-make-a-difference-to-the-safety-of-the-roads-in-your-community/

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£6.7 million lost to Ticket Fraud in 2023 [#244086497]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police

New data released today by Action Fraud reveals £6.7 million was lost to ticket fraud last year. https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ticketfraud

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service, has launched a ticket fraud awareness campaign, warning people to be alert to fraudsters trying to catch out people planning for popular and sold-out events. Last year more than 8,700 people reported they had been a victim ticket fraud, with a total of £6.7 million lost. This works out to an average loss of £772 per victim.

How to protect yourself from ticket fraud:

  • Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
  • Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering the money if you become a victim of fraud.
  • The password you use for your email account, as well as any other accounts you use to purchase tickets, should be different from all your other passwords. Use three random words to create a strong and memorable password, and enable 2-step verification (2SV).
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets.
  • Is the vendor a member of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. For more information visit star.org.uk/buy_safe.

Report ticket fraud

If you feel at all suspicious, report the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at report@phishing.gov.uk. For more advice on how to stay secure online, please visit cyberaware.gov.uk.

Find out how to protect yourself from fraud: https://stopthinkfraud.campaign.gov.uk

If you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, victims of fraud and cybercrime should report to Police Scotland on 101.

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Weekly Fraud Update From West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – 16/04/2024 [#243507326]

The following update is posted on behalf of West Mercia Police.

WORKING FROM HOME SCAMS

WHAT IS IT?

An offer to make easy money by starting your own business by working from your own home. The scheme organiser will make you pay an advance fee, avoid paying you for the work you’ve done, make you buy worthless products or make you sign up others to the scheme before you’re paid.

PROTECT YOURSELF

Any advert that tells you that you can sit back and let a business run itself is a good sign that fraudsters are at work. Be wary of paying money in advance, the majority of legitimate employers should not require you to pay anything to start working for them.

If you’ve got involved with a scheme you suspect is fraudulent, keep any relevant letters, emails or documents as evidence. Don’t get other people involved.

SPOT THE SIGNS

You’ve seen an advert online or via social media that says you can earn a specific or minimum amount of money by running your own business.

Then you are told to call a mobile number (beginning with 07) or respond to a web-based email such as @yahoo or @gmail. Genuine businesses usually advertise a landline number and/or their own email domain.

The reasons given to pay up front are various, such as to register, buy customer leads, set up a website, buy products to sell, or get an instruction manual.

HOW IT HAPPENS

A letter, advert or website asks if you’re interested in making easy money by working from home, or setting up your own online business. The scheme looks very flexible and easy to work with, offering you the opportunity to choose when you work and enabling you to fit your work around your existing life, but may involve paying a fee to get you started.

The work itself could involve filling envelopes, assembling products or selling goods or services through your own website. In some cases, fraudsters may tell you there are faults with what you’ve done to avoid paying you. In other cases, the products you’ve bought or made are worthless.

Many of these business opportunities only allow you to earn money if you introduce more people to it. These are known as Pyramid Schemes.

Fraudsters may eventually sell your details on to others, so be alert to offers elsewhere.

SOURCE: ACTION FRAUD


STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

ALWAYS REMEMBER:

  • Avoid disclosing security details
  • Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic
  • Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number
  • Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests
  • Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams

If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk.

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number – 159 – to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks

Warning after thefts and attempted thefts of sheep in north Worcestershire [#240960619]

The following is posted on behalf of West Mercia Police

Farmers are being warned to be extra vigilant following three recent incidents of sheep theft and attempted sheep theft in north Worcestershire.

Officers from our Rural and Business Crime teams have issued the warning following reports that there have been several incidents in the Iverley area, whereby a pregnant ewe was stolen, a few weeks after two lambs were stolen and there was a further incident when another attempt was made to take lambs from the same location.

On the first occasion it is suspected the thieves discovered the ewe was pregnant, so they abandoned her in a lay-by miles away in Brierley Hill. Fortunately, another farmer found her and returned to her owners.

On Sunday 24 March thieves attempted to steal lambs from a farm in Upton Warren, near Bromsgrove, however the would-be thieves were disturbed by a member of the public and although they tried to flee with the lamb it was left behind. A couple of days ago, two Rams worth around £500 each were reported stolen from a farm in Wildmoor, near Bromsgrove.

Sarah Sceats, Rural and Business Crime Officer for North Worcestershire, said: “We are urging farmers to be extra vigilant of their livestock following these recent incidents.

“We are advising them to take the time to check the perimeters of their land are as secure as possible and, where practical, to keep sheep and lambs as close to the farm as they can.
“You can find further advice on our website on protecting your livestock at Rural crime prevention | West Mercia Police.”

It is believed the thefts and attempted thefts could be for the illegal sale of meat on the black market. Meat bought from criminal sources would not meet the safety standards of shop-bought products.

“We would further warn potential thieves that stealing lambs at this time of year is not only a criminal offence but that in any case they would also not be getting much meat on the bones and that it is also cruel to separate them from their parents which can be particularly distressing for the ewes,” Sarah added.

  • If you live, work, or visit rural communities you are our eyes and ears so you might want to consider joining one of our Rural Watch schemes – a free scheme set up to support communities in the fight against rural crime.
  • Join our police officers and a network of people who share information about crimes in rural areas at Rural Watch | West Mercia Police.
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Weekly Fraud Update From West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – 09/04/2024 [#240775526]

CYBER PREVENT & PROTECT INFORMATION

This week’s update has a slightly different look as we promote a series of Webinars which are available for all to benefit from. Whilst the links show as “Teams” , if you do not have access to MS Teams on your computer it should still link in to your browsers for access.

PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CARERS WEBINAR SERIES – APRIL 2024

We are hosting three webinars directed at Parents, Guardians and Carers. One focusing on the Prevent Network and how referrals can be made if they have concerns and two focusing on the Protect Network, giving advice on how to keep families safe online. These are presented by West Mercia’s Force Cyber Crime Unit, in conjunction with the West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit.


CYBER PREVENT LIVE INFORMATION SESSION FOR PARENTS, GUARDIANS & CARERS

A live online session giving advice on how to make a referral into the Cyber Choices programme; an explanation of how it operates and what to look out for with children in your care.
29th April 2024 at 6pm – https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/e3722958-b96b-40ba-954a-f7851ac5caad@dd7d99f4-65c4-4822-bf7b-75d61ebc8f4a

CYBER PROTECT LIVE INFORMATION SESSION FOR PARENTS, GUARDIANS & CARERS

A live online session giving advice on how to keep yourself and your family safe online. This will be presented by West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit Prevent Team in conjunction with West Mercia’s Force Cyber Crime Unit.

24th April 2024 at 6pm – https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/244797bd-f3db-43c2-81f0-b4e9be0d6fad@dd7d99f4-65c4-4822-bf7b-75d61ebc8f4a

8th May 2024 at 6pm – https://events.teams.microsoft.com/event/fb7f9e84-9df4-453a-a5d7-6a1002ed9c7a@dd7d99f4-65c4-4822-bf7b-75d61ebc8f4a


Take Five to Stop Fraud

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

ALWAYS REMEMBER:

  • Avoid disclosing security details
  • Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic
  • Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number
  • Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests
  • Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams

If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number – 159 – to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks

Logo for Neighbourhood Matters and the crest of West Mercia Police

Police Surgery 10th April [#239663187]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police.

We are encouraging the public to have their say. Come and speak with the team. We will be on Load Street, Bewdley (outside the Museum) on Wednesday 10th April between 11:00am and 12:00 midday.

Our police surgeries give you the opportunity to raise any concerns and to find out what we are doing to tackle the issues that matter to you.

Everyone is welcome and it would be great to see you there.

Logo for Neighbourhood Matters and the crest of West Mercia Police

Sheep Thefts [#238857164]

Posted on behalf of West Mercia Police.

West Mercia Police have become aware recently of Sheep/Lambs being stolen from Farm Areas across the Bromsgrove district.

During March Shropshire, also had incidents of Sheep being killed. At this time we don’t think these are linked but please be aware and take any necessary precautions to protect your livestock.

Please can we ask you remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour around farms to us. Should anyone have any information on the recent thefts please make contact with West Mercia Police.