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Seer Green Alert 

Ringmaster Messages - Archive 2010

21 December 2010

Winter Weather

In view of the heavy snow fall, the possibility of more to come, along with sub-zero temperatures, Thames Valley Police, with its partners in the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum, is advising people to take steps to keep themselves safe.

Before setting out, drivers are being asked to check the road conditions and ask themselves whether their journey is absolutely necessary. If they feel they have to travel, they are asked to heed the following advice:

Prepare yourself for the journey: check road conditions, plan your journey before setting out and leave extra time for the journey if travel conditions are poor. Use major roads where possible.
Pack warm clothes and blankets, boots, food, drinks, a fully-charged mobile phone, a torch, jump leads, tow rope, first aid kit, warning triangle, de-icer and a shovel. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to a rrive.
Prepare your vehicle for your journey - make sure your vehicle is well maintained, that all lights are clean and bulbs are working, that it is clear of snow and ice (particularly the windscreen) and that your tyres are at the correct pressure and depth tread. Use antifreeze and screen wash and ensure the battery is reliable.
Drive safely, even where roads have been treated. Even if there is no snow, driving conditions are expected to be difficult, with black ice likely.
Keep your distance from the vehicle in front, avoid hard braking or acceleration and steer gently. Avoid wheel spins by using low revs and the highest gear possible. If you skid, ease off the accelerator, and try to avoid braking hard.
If you get stuck in the snow, an old rug or mat under a slipping wheel should provide traction to help get you out.
Drivers are urged not to abandon their vehicles, especially where they may obstruct emergency service vehicles and major roads or moto rways. If they do, the vehicles may have to be removed and it will be the driver's responsibility to pay for the cost of recovering them.

To find out which roads are being treated, please refer to your local authority's website. However, drivers are urged to drive with care, even on those roads that have been treated.

View the Highways Agency website for up-to-date information on road conditions on England's motorways and trunk roads, or call 0300 123 5000.
Visit the Met Office website for information on weather conditions, or listen to local radio.
Residents are reminded to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may be in need of assistance, whether it's by clearing a safe pathway or helping to keep them warm.

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home, as long as you clear it carefully. Use salt or sand, rather than water, which is likely to ref reeze and turn to black ice. Don't use salt from salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear. When you're shovelling snow, take care to put it where it won't block people's paths or drains. For more guidance on clearing paths yourself, go to the Directgov website.

The public are reminded that emergency calls for ambulance, police and fire services should be made in genuine emergency situations only.

If you are feeling poorly, choose the right NHS service to help you get well. The NHS is giving the following advice:

* If your GP surgery is closed, you can call the Out of Hours Service on 0845 345 8995 and get advice, or a doctor may call you
* If you do have to make journeys out, please make sure that you have appropriate clothing and footwear to help prevent unnecessary slips, trips or falls
* If you are unfortunate and do slip or trip, remember minor injuries units may be the best and fastest place to go for treatment

For more information, visit the NHS Direct website.

Thank you.



14 December 2010

Witness Apeal - Chalfont St Giles

Police are appealing for witnesses to an incident in Chalfont St Giles on Saturday 12 December.

The incident of affray took place sometime between 8pm and 10pm outside the Merlin's Cave public house on The Green in Chalfont St Giles, and involved a verbal altercation between two women. It resulted in one of the women being struck and sustaining a cut to the face.

Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to contact PC Mark McCafferty at Amersham Police Station on 0845 8 505 505 or, if you do not wish to give your name, via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Thank you.



23 November 2010

Scam Alert - Parcel Delivery

I have received a loads of emails this week relating to a Parcel Delivery scam which is currently doing the rounds. The message starts ...

"A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate number). This email originated in 2005 and the number no longer exists.

Please be wary of forwarding on emails, even if they sound plausible or appears to come from a reliable source.

There are two good websites which give up to date information about hoaxes and scams so check them out first. Alternatively copy a few of the words from the message into Google and search that way.

www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp

www.hoax-slayer.com

Thank you.



19 November 2010

Scam Alert - Unsolicited Phone Calls

Some people have received unsolicited phone calls from a computer company (one claimed they were from Microsoft Windows). The caller implied they had identified faults on their computers and offered to run checks remotely. However, once the crooks have gained your trust, they attempt to steal from you and damage your computer with malware including viruses and spyware.

The following two websites give more information about this:

http://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/phishing/Msname.aspx

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/18/phone-scam-india-call-centres

Do ensure you have good protection for scanning your computer for malware or viruses and keep it up to date.

Be suspicious of any cold calling, whether by phone, email or at the door and under no circumstances provide them with any personal information.

If you have any information in relation to this message or wish to report any suspicious incident please contact the police IMMEDIATELY on 0845 8 505 505 and state you are responding to this Ringmaster message, or if you believe a crime is in progress call 999.

Thank you.



28 October 2010

Scam Alert - Utility Companies

We have been informed by several energy supply companies, such as EON and British Gas, of a password security system which many companies operate. This also applies to water companies.

The system is available to domestic customers, who can register a password against their account. Anyone then calling at your door, claiming to be from your energy company, reading meters etc, can then be asked for this password to confirm they are genuine. If they aren't able to give you the password, do not allow them access to your property.

This system could be valuable for elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours who are more likely to become victims of distraction burglars. Please contact your individual companies to find out if they operate such a system - the numbers will be available from your utility bills.

If you have any information in relation to this message or wish to report any suspicious incident please contact the police IMMEDIATELY on 0845 8 505 505 and state you are responding to this Ringmaster message, or if you believe a crime is in progress call 999.

If you have information about crime but do not want to speak to the police, contact Crimestoppers anonymously or call 0800 555 111.

Thank you.



05 October 2010

Scam Alert

In the last few days, residents in Chesham have been receiving calls from anonymous numbers stating that they have had a band reduction and are due a refund on their council tax. Callers have been asking for bank details and requesting that residents ring them back on a premium number.

Please remind all watch members not to give banking details over the phone and to report any suspicious phone calls that they receive on the Thames Valley Police non-emergency number 0845 8 505 505.

Thank you.



02 August 2010

Scam Alert

Please be aware of a company called SAS Fire and Security (that also uses the name Crime Research UK) who have been calling residents, offering monitored alarms either free or at a very nominal cost.

This company have been operating in other areas of the country and may claim to be approved' by Crimestoppers, the Police, Government or Local Authority. This is untrue as non of these organisations will promote a specific company.

Whilst the alarms offered are either free or for a nominal cost the company charge an ongoing maintenance fee which is very high and a high cancellation charge.

Residents are encouraged not to divulge any personal or sensitive information over the phone to any unexpected / cold callers. Do not make an appointment for sales people to call at your premise and pass this advice on to any elderly or vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours.

Signing up for the Telephone Preference Service can help to cut down on any unwanted / unsolicited sales calls. You can do this online or by telephoning 0845 070 0707.

Further information and advice can be obtained from Consumer Direct or by calling 08454 04 05 06. You can also contact Thames Valley Police via 0845 8 505 505 or in an emergency dial on 999.

Thank you.



08 July 2010

Scam Alert

A resident in South London has reported a possible scam taking place in his locality.

A man claiming to represent 'Neighbourhood Watch Support' telephoned to say that a Neighbourhood Watch brochure was going out to all the local residents. The caller was encouraging local businesses to advertise in this brochure.

The resident agreed to place an advertisement and later received a further phone call from a company calling itself 'Business Community Support Multimedia'. The caller took some details over the phone.

At a later date the resident received a letter with a 'proof' for the advertisement. Apart from the name of the business and the contact phone number, every detail was incorrect. The accompanying letter said that unless any amendments were received within five days (by phone, e mail or fax) they would assume that the details were correct and place the advert.

The resident tried several times to contact the company by email and phone but to no avail, finding his emails unanswered and his phone calls cut off. Luckily he had not yet paid any money for the advertisement.

We would like to make it clear that there is no such organisation as 'Neighbourhood Watch Support' and the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network does not produce any such local brochures nor contract Business Community Support Multimedia to do so.

If you have any concerns, questions or issues you would like to raise relating to this, please contact Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England and Wales) on enquiries@nationalnhw.org or 0116 229 3118 and do not agree to anything over the telephone or on your doorstep.

Thank you.



28 June 2010

Scam Alert
OPERATION ROGUE TRADER DAY - 30 JUNE 2010

Operation Rogue Trader Day is part of a week-long campaign to warn people about the dangers of rogue trading and doorstop crime.

Rogue traders usually show up unannounced on people's doorsteps and offer to do work like gardening or fixing the roof for a minimal fee. The work they carry out is often sub-standard or not required at all, and ends up costing significantly more than the original quote. They often choose elderly and vulnerable victims because they see them as 'easy targets'.

Police work closely with Trading Standards and other partners to catch rogue traders and to help educate people to prevent them from becoming victims of crime but they need YOUR help.

Police need to know if they are in the area, so if someone knocks on your door offering tree pruning, hedge trimming, gutter cleaning, etc please call the police non emergency number 0845 8 505 505 straight away. Try to obtain vehicle registration numbers and description of occupants if possible and the direction of travel.

Above all avoid agreeing to any work being carried out until you have received a written quote and had time to consider the contract.

Thank you.



16 April 2010

Scam Alert - Yodel

Please be aware of a computer virus currently circulating through unsolicited emails claiming to be from Yodel. These emails ask the recipient to open an attachment in connection with delivery of a parcel. Please be aware that it is not from a Yodel company and the content is false.

If you have received this email, do not open the attachment as it contains a virus which may harm your computer.

Whist it is not standard policy to circulate information about spam or hoax emails via Ringmaster the information below provides some good advice about actions you can take to protect yourself.

* Never open an email that you do not recognise, just delete it
* Never click on a link within an email unless it is from someone you know and trust
* You are advised to ensure that you have an active personal firewall and up-to-date antivirus software running on your system at all times. This will help detect and remove these types of threats.

For further advice and assistance, contact your Internet Service Provider.

Useful information on all aspects of data security and how to protect yourself can be found at www.getsafeonline.org.

Thank you.



19 March 2010

Scam Alert - Alarm Systems

We have been informed older people are being targeted by companies selling alarm systems. The salespeople who visit are fast talking and give lots of figures and statistics about crime which is frightening the older people. The product demonstrated is free, but the maintenance and monitoring runs into thousands of pounds.

Buckinghamshire Trading Standards operate the Buy with confidence, which is a list of approved local traders. Click this link for more information.

Doorstep selling, also known as cold calling, is when someone comes to your front door or telephones you without prior arrangement and then tries (often persistently) to sell you something. Visits to your home to follow up a cold call telephone call, where the visitor then tries to sell to you, are also covered by the same rules.

Cold callers include, amongst others:

  • Driveway contractors
  • Roofing contractors
  • Burglar alarm sellers
  • Double glazing sellers

If you are unexpectedly subjected to a sales pitch at home the law protects you if you purchase, provided the contract you enter into is for more than £35.

What you can do

* Never let an uninvited tradesman into your home
* Think carefully before entering into any agreement either written or verbal
* Check the internet, see if the company is known
* MoneySavingExpert.com has forums that may give information about various companies
* Get at least three separate written quotations
* Only use companies that have been recommended by a friend or relative
* If you hear about a rogue caller tell everyone you know, especially the elderly or vulnerable.
* Say no. In the cold light of day your purchase will look less of a bargain and may be of substandard workmanship.

Useful links:
* Consumer Direct
* Buy With COnfidence
* Trading_Standards Cold Calling Scams

Thank you.


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