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Seer Green Alert 

Ringmaster Messages - Archive 2011

29 November 2011

Mail / Identity Theft

There have been a number of incidents of mail theft in the area. Financial mail and utility bills are being taken and identities are being used to open fraudulent credit cards / loans or to take control of the victims bank accounts and withdraw funds. Large detached dwellings with mail boxes on the gate post and blocks of flats with mail boxes in communal hallways are being targeted. Offenders are possibly using keys or their hands to steal mail.

A silver Audi A3 was seen in South Park, Gerrards Cross, on the 21/10/11between 1200 – 1230 hrs.
A West Indian (black) female described as 5’2” tall, petite build, tight curls very close to her head which gave the appearance of a cropped hair style, wearing dark clothing was seen with two males (one Asian, one white possibly East European) on 21/10/11 standing close to this vehicle.

The two males were seen a short time later the same day acting suspiciously next to the mail boxes in the communal hallway of Crompton Hall, South Park, Gerrards Cross. These two males are described as;
1) East European male, white skinned with a sallow complexion, medium build, brown eyes, 5’10”-6’ tall, dark brown hair swept back off his face, spoke with an accent of some kind.

2) Large Asian male, 5’10-6’ tall, broad large-ish build, black hair swept back off his face, no facial hair.

If you see anyone fitting the descriptions or vehicle above, please contact Thames Valley Police IMMEDIATELY on the emergency 999 number quoting URN 968 of the 24/11/11. If you have any further information please call Thames Valley Police on the non-emergency 101 number.
Alternatively if you do not wish to give your name you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thank you.

28 November 2011

Single Non-Emergency Phone Number 101

Having received a number of calls regarding the introduction of the new 101 non-emergency number, hopefully the following information will provide answers to the frequently asked questions:

101 is a national single non-emergency number that all police forces are going to be using by 2012 and will replace the Thames Valley Police 0845 8 505 505 (non emergency) number.

Thames Valley Police went live with 101 on 14 November 2011, alongside South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Sussex, Humberside, Greater Manchesterand West Yorkshire.

When to call 101?
You should call 101 to report less urgent crime and disorder or to speak to your local officers.

For example, you should call 101 if:

* your car has been stolen
* your property has been damaged
* you suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood
or to:
* report a minor traffic collision
* give the police information about crime in your area
* speak to the police about a general enquiry

101 is being introduced as part of the Government's wider work to improve access to the police, ease pressure on 999, and help to efficiently and effectively tackle crime and disorder.

What is the difference between 101 and 999?
You should continue to call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

How much will it cost the caller?
Calls to 101 (from both landlines and mobile networks) cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day the call is made, or the duration of the call. Everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters will now know exactly how much a call will cost them, and can be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline.

How does the routeing of the call work?
The routeing will be based on the same system as 999 calls which links a caller’s dialling code to the police force that covers that geographic area. Calls from a landline will be routed to the nearest police force that covers the area’s dialling code. If the caller is using a mobile, the call will be routed using the location of the mast that the phone is transmitting from.

Who will answer my 101 call?
Calls to 101 are answered by police call handlers in the control room of the local police force. This ensures that staff with local knowledge can answer and deal with the calls and respond appropriately.

You will not be put through to a large national call centre. When you call 101, the system will determine your location and connect you to the police force covering that area. You will hear a recorded message announcing the police force you are being connected to. If you are on a boundary between two or more forces, the recorded message will give you a choice of which force to be connected to.

I am deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, can I call 101?
Yes, you can textphone 18001 101.

What if English is not my first language?
Your local police have access to professional interpreters so they can quickly translate your call if you have difficulty speaking English.

What about reporting general nuisance or environmental issues?
You should continue to call your local council for things like:

* reporting graffiti
* dog fouling
* abandoned vehicles
* dumping and fly tipping
* vandalism.

What should I do if the 101 number is currently blocked on the phone at my workplace / college / business premises?
As 101 is a new number, some business phone systems and switchboards may not yet be programmed to recognise 101. Please contact the person who administers your phone system to request that access is opened to the 101 number.

Thank you.

24 November 2011

Distraction Burglaries - Water Board

Two distraction burglaries were reported on Wednesday 23rd November, one in Chalfont St Peter and one in Amersham. In both incidences the offenders claimed to be from the Water Board.

Thames Valley Police would like to remind people to:

• Beware of cold callers and never let people into your property
• Always check callers ID
• Ensure back doors are locked at all times
• Call a relative or neighbour

If you are in any doubt callThames Valley Police on the non emergency number 101 and state that you are responding to this Ringmaster message.

Thames Valley Police Mounted Section will be patrolling Chesham and the wider Chiltern area over the coming weeks. If you see the Mounted Section please feel free to come and have a chat.

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

Thank you.

07 November 2011

Doorstep Crime & Distraction Burglary

Buckinghamshire Trading Standards is alerting the community following an incident relating to doorstep crime and distraction burglary.

A Buckinghamshire resident has reported that he received a telephone call from a man claiming to work for Buckinghamshire County Council. The caller stated that as a result of major road works in the vicinity of the resident's home, the resident would soon need to vacate his house for 3 weeks, the duration of the alleged works, for health and safety reasons.

Furthermore, the resident was advised that Buckinghamshire County Council had made arrangements for him to be accommodated in a local motel. When the resident started to ask questions to clarify the situation the caller became abusive and terminated the call.

The resident then contacted Buckinghamshire County Council who were able to confirm that there were no plans to carry out work in the area and in any event the council were in no position to provide accommodation.

Thank you.

03 November 2011

Thames Valley Goes Live with 101 on 14 November

Thames Valley Police is due to go live with 101, the new national single non-emergency number on 14 November 2011, which will replace the 0845 8 505 505 number. Both numbers will run side by side until the end of March, but if demand for the 0845 8 505 505 number drops it may be discontinued earlier.
Calls to 101 (from both landlines and mobile networks) cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day the call is made, or the duration of the call.
Everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters will now know exactly how much a call will cost them, and can be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline
The routing will be based on the same system as 999 calls. If a caller is using a landline the routing will be based on the caller’s postcode and the call will be directed to the same area’s force. If a caller is using a mobile, the call will route using the mast that the phone is transmitting from.
If a call is made to 101 within a force area that has not yet ‘gone live’, the caller will hear a recorded message telling them to redial using the relevant non emergency number.

Thank you.

22 August 2011

Roofing & Guttering Scam

Buckinghamshire Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard against a company called MMR of 155 Station Road, London offering roofing and guttering work.

A person calling themselves Jake or James Carter has been cold-calling and advising residents that their guttering and roof needs repair. The eventual payment requested is considerably more than was quoted. The company also appears not to give cancellation rights in writing, which is now a legal obligation.

Trading Standards approved building contractors can be found by visiting the Buy With Confidence website. Companies offering services in your home must give cancellation rights in writing. Where possible get written quotations before agreeing to have the work done.

We advise people not to deal with cold calling traders.

If you have any information on this company or would like advice on your rights please call Consumer Direct on 0808 156 2259.

Visit the Trading Standards Service Website.

Thank you.

05 August 2011

Microsoft Windows Scam

A gentleman from Amersham received a phone call from someone stating they were from Windows tech support who said "We have reason to believe that there's a problem with your computer. There have been downloads of malware and spyware, and they're slowing down your computer."

It all sounded very convincing and he allowed them remote access to his computer. He has since had to spend quite a bit of time sorting out various problems and there is always the risk of identity theft.

This scam has been running for several years but still people are being tricked. Microsoft will never, repeat, NEVER, cold call people who use Windows.

If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, or anyone else for that matter, hang up. If you have problems with your computer seek out a reputable firm or someone who has been recommended to you.

Below are links to a couple of articles about this sort of scam so please take note and pass this information onto any friends or family who may be interested.

Virus Phone Scam being run from call centres in India

Microsoft speaks up on phone scams

Thank you.

27 July 2011

Counterfeit Glen’s Vodka & Jacobs Creek Wine

Following a complaint from a member of the public, we have found quantities of counterfeit Glen’s Vodka and Jacobs Creek wine at convenience stores in High Wycombe.

Counterfeit alcohol can be contaminated with dangerous chemicals such as methonal. In extreme cases this has led to blindness and death. We have previously tested counterfeit Vodka which has been found to be unsafe and may cause harm to the people drinking it.

If you have suspicions about alochol you have purchased contact Consumer Direct 0808 156 2259

Click here for more information.

Thank you.

07 July 2011

Chinese Scams

Over the past couple of weeks Thames Valley Police have received a number of calls from concerned members of the public who have been receiving correspondence from Shenzhen Development Bank in China stating that they are beneficiaries of a large amount of money and asking them to make contact; this is a scam.

Police recommend that if you receive any such correspondence, remove your personal details and dispose of it safely.
Unless a crime has been committed, police will not be able to take any action.

Members of the public are advised never to give out personal details including bank account details over the telephone or via email unless you can verify the source is legitimate.

Thank you.

27 June 2011

Council Tax Refund Scam

Over the last few days Chiltern District Council has been contacted by residents who have received telephone calls informing them that the Government has arranged refunds of council tax of £7,000 for a limited number of people. The caller reads out their name, bank account number and address. They then ask for the person's debit card details so they can arrange payment.

There is no such Government scheme, this is a scam.

If you are contacted about a council tax refund please be careful about what information you give over the telephone. If you are unsure, hang up and call our revenues team on 01494 732074.

If you are entitled to a council tax refund, the council will send you a letter showing how much you are owed and will then send you a refund using information we already hold.

Thank you.

17 June 2011

Roof Exchange UK Scam

This is a report from Bucks Trading Standards

We have reports of a company called Roof Exchange UK who have been cold calling in the South of the County, but they could be operating in other parts of Buckinghamshire.

A person calling himself James Smith, will cold call on the home owner and state that the roof needs some repair. He may offer to repair the roof for a small fee, then after some work has been completed he will say there are other problems with the roof and the price will increase considerably.

The company also appears not to give cancellation rights in writing. We advise people not to deal with cold calling traders.

If you are approached by a Mr. James Smith of Roof Exchange UK, please contact the Police immediately - they in turn will alert Trading Standards.

Building contractors can be found by visiting the Buy With Confidence website. Traders on the BWC website have all been Trading Standards approved. Companies offering services in your home must give cancellation rights in writing. Where possible get written quotations before agreeing to have work done.

Click here for doorstep selling information.

Thank you.

16 June 2011

Next Mail Order Scam

A lady in Amersham has made me aware of a new type of scam/fraud to be aware of. This is her account of the incident.

"I was out for about 30 minutes this morning and returned to find two parcels from Next addressed to me at my address. I have never bought anything from Next. However I opened one parcel to find children's clothing and men's shoes and polo shirts. I phoned Next and they eventually said they would put a stop on the account etc. and the courier would come in the morning to collect the parcels and they would also send me a letter confirming all this. I also phoned my credit card people to find out if the card had been used but luckily it had not. A few hours later a man (Afro Caribbean and not speaking English very well) came to the door and asked for two parcels delivered to me. I would not let him have them and he went away.

I am nearly 80 years old and live on my own and was very worried that he might come back again - he has not so far! However I have now had two phone calls with nobody on the line and 'answer withheld'. I just hope the courier comes early tomorrow as I am worried stiff that the man will come back again."

Next is a Mail Order company and you do not need an account to place and order. It is simple to obtain a persons name and address and use it to order the goods. The fraudster then places the order and can elect for the packages to be left (eg in a porch, recycling bin etc). Knowing the time scale for the delivery (Next offers next day delivery) they will call round and collect the items.

If the lady had not returned and found the packages, the man would probably have collected them and vanished leaving the victim with a hefty bill to pay.

I have spoken to Next and apparently this sort of thing has happened previously in Romford, Essex so maybe South Bucks is the latest target.

If you receive such a package notify the company straight away. Also if you notice a package on a neighbour’s doorway it is a good idea to take it home and return it later.

When arranging collection of goods always check the persons ID. Next only use a company called Hermes for their deliveries and collections.

If someone else calls do not hand over the package but call the police straight away on 0845 8 505 505. Try to get a good description of the person and note if any vehicle is involved.

Thank you.

24 March 2011

Security Firm Scam

The following is copy of an email I received this week from a resident in the Missenden/Kingshill area which is illustrating the persuasive skills of the salesman.

“My elderly neighbour and I were nearly caught in a possible scam, by a security firm. Initially my neighbour received a phone call from a call centre promoting alarm systems in the area. She agreed for their salesmen to visit and also arranged for her son to be there.

Their representative called the following day and after visiting her called at my house. He said we had been chosen and selected for a very restricted special offer, to install their equipment, which was supposed to cover medical issues, as well as police and fire emergencies.

They said they were working in conjunction with the Police and if we signed up and paid for five years, there would be no further charges and everything would be serviced FREE.

They said they were only in the area until the weekend, and we would save £1,000 by signing up with them now. It would all be put into place within 48 hours, as they were shortly leaving this area.
It sounded so very genuine, and he was very persuasive.

We both agreed to join the scheme. However, afterwards I contacted my son, who looked into it, and said that the firm were currently under investigation by Watchdog. I managed to stop my cheque. My neighbour also managed to get her son to cancel her agreement.

It is probably not worth reporting - but perhaps a warning not to agree to anything like this in a hurry, without first getting it properly verified.”

Please Note:
It is ALWAYS worth reporting and in this case contact Consumer Direct (Trading Standards) 08454 04 05 06. They can advise you of your rights.

Whilst the firm in question may be perfectly genuine and the alarm system meets British Standards, NEVER feel pressurised into signing an agreement.

2) Do not make snap decisions. Take time to talk to someone you trust before you make a decision.

If you change your mind about a purchase above the value of £35, you have at least seven calendar days to cancel the contract (the 'cooling-off' period). It does not matter whether you invited a trader into your home or not

Click here for more information about Doorstep Selling Regulations.

Thank you.

18 February 2011

ATM Scam

I am sure you are all aware of the need to be wary when drawing cash from ATM machines but have a look at this link below re theft at a cash till.

The speed and simplicity of this crime is impressive and I defy anyone of us not to fall for it - unless we had watched this video !!!

When withdrawing cash, please be very aware of anyone that comes within you body space.

Thank you.

21 January 2011

Scams in Buckinghamshire

We receive information that we share with the public in the hope they do not fall victim to one of these scams. If we have published information about a particular scam and we have the powers to do so, we are likely to be carrying out investigations. Unless you have been a victim or you can provide us with extra information concerning the scam there is no need to contact Consumer Direct. Do not respond to the scams.

1) Tax refund scams
A number of emails are circulating purporting to be from HM Revenue & Customs who are aware of the various scams and carry a comprehensive list of scams on their website.

HM Revenue & Customs state they would not inform customers of a tax rebate via email or invite them to complete an online form to receive a rebate of tax.

Do not visit websites from any unsolicited emails.
Never give personal or bank details to unsolicited emails.

2) Telephone scam, computers and mobiles

If you receive a telephone call from a company purporting to be from 'Windows Support Team' or 'Microsoft Support Team', be suspicious. They claim your home computer or laptop is running slowly or maybe experiencing problems due to hidden viruses. You will be asked to log on to a remote website which allegedly enables the representative to access their computer and work on it. At this point, it will look like the seller is working on the computer, but in reality they will do nothing of significance. They will ask for a fee via credit or debit card - this can be as much as £200.00.

A similar scam also operates for internet enabled mobile phones.

Never give your bank details or credit card details to any unsolicited seller over the telephone, no matter how authentic they sound.
These calls often come from outside the UK, making it very difficult to get redress.

You can contact Consumer Direct (Trading Standards) on 08454 040506 or through their website.

Thank you.

17 January 2011

Scam Alert - Rogue Traders

We have had a report of rogue traders operating in the Amersham area.

On 4 January a white male called at a property and told the occupants there was a small hole in the roof and offered to repair it. The aggrieved accepted the offer but instead of repairing the roof the hole was enlarged. The “builder” was initially paid £1,000 to purchase materials and then a further £1,500 for scaffolding.

The following day he contacted the occupants and asked for a further £3,500 to complete the work. The aggrieved went to the bank to collect the money but they were concerned and called the police.

The offender is described as white, skinny and with an irish accent. He was driving a van with R B Builder on the side.

Please be wary of any cold callers offering to do work. It could be gutter clearance, tree or hedge trimming, driveway repairs etc.

• If a trader knocks at your door do not agree to on the spot house repairs, or sign anything on the spot.

• Be wary of special offers or warnings that your house is unsafe.

• Do not make snap decisions. Take time to talk to someone you trust before you make a decision.

• Tradesmen are obliged by law to provide written quotes which include contact details and a seven day cooling off period.

• If in doubt, call Consumer Direct (Trading Standards) on 08454 040506 or visit their website.

Please pass this information onto family and friends. If you know of someone who may be vulnerable offer them your contact details in case they have a problem. If you notice your neighbour is having work carried out take time to check if they are bonafide.

If you think there may be a crime in progress call 999.

Thank you.