Police Connect

Countywide – PPI scam warning

Police are warning members of the public to be vigilant after an attempted fraud in east Suffolk last week.

The incident occurred on Thursday 14 March, when a woman from Woodbridge received a call from a man purporting to be from the Government Regulations Claims Department in relation to owed PPI.

The victim is in the process of making a PPI claim and so believed the call to be genuine. She was advised that in order to receive her refund, she would need to go to Argos and obtain a £200 Steam gift card which is used for gaming.

Once she had obtained the card, she would then need to call a phone number in London beginning 0203 and arrangements would be made for her cheque to be delivered to her, at which point she would hand over the Steam card which would be used to pay the tax she owed.

The victim then went to an Argos in the Ipswich area to purchase the Steam card, but fortunately a vigilant member of staff informed her that this was a scam and that she should call the police immediately.

Other victims of similar frauds have been asked to purchase different types of gift card, including Amazon and iTunes.

Suffolk Constabulary is reminding residents that government departments, banks, or any other legitimate body, will never make phone calls, use text messages or email to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty and will never ask for a payment in this way.

For advice on keeping yourself safe against scams, please visit: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/crime-prevention-z.

For more information on this type of crime do visit: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-fraudsters-claiming-to-be-from-hmrc-jun17

Alternatively, report incidents of fraud to Action Fraud using their online reporting tool http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 1232040.
 
You can also sign up to the Trading Standards weekly email alert on rogues and scams targeting Suffolk at www.suffolk.gov.uk/JoinTheFight   

Cold Callers

Officers are reminding residents to be cautious when dealing with cold callers either over the phone or in person, especially callers claiming to be police officers.

Police have the following advice –

  • Never give out personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
  • If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up and call 101 using a different phone. If you can’t use a different phone, wait at least five minutes before calling back. If they are in person, check their identification and if in doubt, ring the police force to verify they are genuine.  A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check.
  • Police and banks will never ask you to give out personal details such as account numbers or PIN numbers. 
  • If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
  • Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.

Anyone with concerns about such calls should contact Suffolk Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress. Alternatively, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Distraction thefts – Ipswich

Officers are urging people to be mindful of security after a number of mobile phone distraction thefts in Ipswich over the last few weeks.  

The latest incident occurred at a business premises in Northgate Street on Wednesday 20th February. 

At around 12.30pm a man entered the shop asking for directions. While the assistant was helping the man he went behind a desk. After the man had left the shop, the assistant realised her iPhone had been stolen. 

A similar incident was reported at a shop in St Lawrence Street on the 19th February, St Helens Street on the 12th February and Neale Street on the 14th February. In each incident a person enters the shop asking for directions and a mobile phone was stolen.  

If you have any information about these thefts please contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting crime reference 37/10439/19 or use the online crime reporting link - http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something.

Thousands of mobile phones are stolen every month. By taking a few simple steps you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of phone theft.

  • Always use the security lock code on your smart phone.
  • Register your phone with the provider as they will be able to stop your phone being used if you report it as stolen.
  • When using your phone, be aware of your surroundings and do not use it in crowded areas or where you feel unsafe. 
  • Avoid displaying your phone in public. Keep it with you at all times and do not leave it unattended.
  • The 15-digit serial or IMEI number helps to identify your phone and can be accessed by keying *#06# into most phones or by looking behind the battery of your phone. Make a note of this number and keep it separate from your phone, as this number could help the police to trace ownership quickly if it is stolen. 
  • You can also register your phone free at Immobilise. You can do this by visiting this website and entering your contact details and your mobile phone's IMEI number. If your phone is lost or stolen, they can then block both your SIM card and phone. If the phone is found by the police they will be able to trace the owner through Immobilise.

If your phone is stolen:

  1. Report the theft to the police as soon as possible. They will want the following details: phone model details; phone number; and serial/IMEI number (if you have it). 
  2. Contact your service provider immediately, giving the number of the phone. The network operator will then identify the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) for the handset and arrange for it to be blocked on all networks. This means that even if the SIM card is swapped the phone will still be useless.

Theft of power tools - Ipswich

There has been a recent increase in the number of power tools being stolen from both vehicles and sheds/garages.  This has affected both tradespeople and domestic power tool owners too. 

For further advice on keeping your tools and shed/garages secure, please go to https://www.suffolk.police.uk/sites/suffolk/files/shedandgaragesecurity.pdf 

Please remember these key points:

  • If you are unable to remove tools from your vehicle when not in use, invest in after market locks and alarms for the vehicle.
  • Park your vehicle within a secure compound covered by CCTV. If you do have to leave your vehicle at home.  Park it as close to the house as possible with the rear/side doors against a wall or other vehicle. 
  • Avoid storing power tools in your shed if possible. If you have to do this, ensure that shed is robust and in good condition with no windows. Fit bars across the door to prevent it being prised open and use at least two closed shackle padlocks.  Make sure your back gate is locked and that the boundary to your garden is secure and at least 1.8m high.
  • If your tools are not registered at www.immobilise.com or otherwise identifiable, it is much easier for thieves to sell your stolen tools and also evade prosecution.
  • If you hear a vehicle alarm sounding or glass smashing, please take action. Never put yourself in danger, but if you can look out of a window or check live CCTV safely, please do and then call police on 999 if you see a crime in progress.

Help us keep our communities safe

Police advice on a variety of subjects can be accessed via

To report something, or to otherwise contact Police, use the link

To report something anonymously call Crimestoppers on

0800 555 111 or visit

Alternatively call

101 for non-urgent matters.

Always call 999 in emergencies, or if an immediate police response is required.

Police Connect Team

 

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