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Rochford District Neighbourhood Watch
Further Neighbourhood Watch information.

Scam Alerts - 2013 (Most Recent)
(Scroll down to see all recent alerts, latest at top)

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Received   Aug 2013
This is not a new scam but has recently reappeared and has been received by many residents in Essex.
Beware of a scam email purporting to be from HM Revenue & Customs  
An Email masquerading as being from HMRC has been sent to numerous residents stating the recipient is eligible to receive a tax refund of about £300
Under no circumstances would you receive such a message in this manner from HMRC.
This is a deliberate attempt to defraud you of money by acquiring enough information to withdraw funds from your bank account. There is a form attached to the message asking for personal and financial information, which should not be completed.
HMRC would never make contact by email requesting personal details. If you receive this email, we suggest you report it to your email provider as a scam or ‘phishing’ (most email providers have a single click reporting facility) and then delete it.
The message reads as follows:

Dear Sir/Madame,
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity , we have determined that  you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 304.73 GB.
To access your tax refund, please follow the steps bellow:
- download the Tax Refund Form attached to this email
- open it in a browser (recommended mozilla firefox)
- follow the instructions on your screen
A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.
Revenue and Tax Administrator,  HM Revenue & Customs., Tax Credit Office,  PO Box 1970,  Liverpool,  L75 1WX

A Recent Arrival   May 2013
We have recently received this latest email which for shear creativity takes some beating. You will know, of course, never to respond to anything like this!  On the one side we are amazed at the stupidity of people who think we are gullible enough to fall for such rubbish, and on the other wonder how people can be daft enough to fall for such things that provoke these characters to send them out. The foreign sounding guy who rings up warning about something wrong on your computer also seems to be having a revival so just hang up on him if he wastes your time!  Remember this gem though as an example of what to laugh at:
My name is Sgt. John Samuel US ARMY serving the World and my country in the most honorable way I know I can, in AFGHANISTAN right now, in a nutshell, I am an American soldier serving in the Military with the Army 3rd infantry division. With a very desperate need for assistance,I found your contact particulars during my email search and picked up courage to contact you for your assistance.
Some money in various currencies were discovered in a room at a farm house near one of Osama Bin Laden's old house in Kabul-Afghanistan during a rescue operation, I happened to be one of the soldiers that led that operation that day, so it was agreed by Col. William E. Cole the head of our battalion that some part of this money will be shared among both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw the money first. This was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole, my brother in-law was killed by a road side bomb just few months ago, and I cannot count how many times GOD has saved my life down here.
Now i found a very reliable way of sending a trunk metallic box containing the amount of United States Dollars worth Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars(US$ 12.5 Million) as you must agree with me it  has been hell on earth trying to keep this money safe from people's eyes for all these while and with this opportunity all I need is just someone capable I can trust 100% I can send the box to.
So if you can assure me of your honesty I will go ahead and send the box to you for safe keeping till I am
back home and I will gladly give you 40% of the money.
If this okay with you please get back to me with the following so i can get the box across to you.
1. Your full name   2. Contact address  3. Telephone number  4. Occupation.
Waiting to hear from you.
Yours in Service.     Sgt. John Samue    US ARMY

School Absences – Fraud Alert   Received from NW   28th Feb 2013
Essex County Council is warning parents and schools to be aware of a fraud scam around unauthorised absences.
The Counter Fraud Team at Essex County Council were alerted today (7th February) of a parent of a pupil at an Essex school who received a phone call purporting to be from the Education Welfare Service stating that their child had not attended school that day and as a result they had to pay a fine of £340. The parent was asked to provide her credit/debit card details so that a payment could be made over the phone.
The Education Welfare Service do not phone parents demanding payment immediately over the phone.  Invoices and penalty notices are sent via the post by the Education Welfare Service and parents are then given the option to pay by phone.
Although payments can be accepted over the phone, at no time would the Education Welfare Service phone a parent demanding payment immediately over the phone.
Any parent who receives such calls should inform their school and the Essex County Council’s Trading Standards team on 0845 404 0506.

Be careful of a possible scam. A young child knocked on my door asking for sponsorship. The child was so young, I dialled 101 and called the police, thinking it was a child protection issue. They responded immediately, and a PCSO was at my door within minutes. Thankfully we are a Neighbourhood Watch road. I was able to phone various neighbours and found out that another child had been working the other side of the road, telling an entirely different story. If a child comes to your door asking for sponsorship, say no! (unless you know them, and are happy to support them as neighbours children etc).,
Note: Under normal circumstances, it is an offence to ask for donations or sponsorship if contributions are requested to be paid at the time of calling, unless the caller is in possession of a House to House Collection Permit requested by a registered charity and issued by the local authority( e.g: EFDC ,BBC or Harlow) or a National exemption granted by the Home Office. (Minimum age in each case is 16 years).

Received from NW   7th Feb 2013
Detectives have renewed an appeal to beware of bogus police officers following another incident in west Essex.
A woman aged in her 80s was tricked into giving her bank details after receiving a phone call from a man claiming to be a detective chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police.   The caller, who claimed he was DCI Charlston told the woman that she had been the victim of a fraud and that he needed all her bank details, which she provided.
The woman, who is from Chigwell, was then told that the officer would need to see her bank cards and that a courier would be sent to collect them. A man turned up 30 minutes later and took the cards. It is not yet known how much has been taken from the woman’s savings. Detectives are carrying out an investigation into the incident which was reported on Tuesday morning.

The latest warning follows an alert issued on Monday about a bogus caller claiming to be a police officer, who attempts to use the Police non-emergency telephone number 101 to obtain bank details.
That suspect is known to call people and tell them their bank details had been found in possession of arrested suspects.
In an attempt to verify that he was a genuine officer he gave the name of Sgt James Hackett (no such officer exists) and invited his intended victim to call him back urgently, within five minutes, on the police 101 number.
One victim did call him back to find out more but became suspicious because there was no dialling tone and no extension number was given. He hung up immediately. Another victim was tricked into giving details.

Inspector Paul Wells said: “We have no evidence that the three incidents are connected because the methods are not the same in all three cases. However, in each case the caller claimed to be a police officer and claimed to be investigating an alleged theft or fraud against the victim.
“It is absolutely vital that people are on their guard if they receive a call of this kind. Genuine police officers will never ask for bank details over the telephone. It is possible that one man or a group of criminals working together is using different names and different stories to trick the elderly or vulnerable. One simple rule will prevent you from falling for this kind of con and that is to never give bank details to anyone who has called you.  “The same is true of people who knock at your door. If an individual is legitimate, they should not mind your asking for them to prove who they are.”
Anyone who is contacted by a caller claiming to be police investigating a bank card fraud should contact police on 101. Anyone with information about suspicious callers claiming to be police should call detectives at Loughton CID, also on 101.

Received from NW   6th Dec 2012
'Residents in the north of Essex are experiencing "cold call" telephone enquiries offering to install house alarms for a substantial discount, £1200 being a figure most commonly quoted.The concern is the practice will move to the south of the county. It is not against the law to make these sales calls, however may I remind your members that:
1. Alarms are very effective when they are designed to meet your individual needs. This is not more expensive!!!
2. Your local crime reduction officer, Mick Armstrong, is available on 01702 423187 and will provide FREE, IMPARTIAL advice on the system best for you.
3. Many local companies will install very effective alarms for substantially less than £1200.
Best wishes
Michael Armstrong Ad.Cert.ED&CP
Crime Reduction & Architectural Liaison Officer Southend Police District & Rochford Police District'

Continue to FURTHER ALERTS reported in 2012