Fraud Warning After Wiltshire Couple Scammed By Criminals Posing As Police Officers

WiltsCommMessaging logo high thumbWe are urging people to be vigilant after a Wiltshire couple were defrauded by scammers posing as police officers.

The couple were contacted over the phone by a man who claimed to be a police officer investigating fraud.

He told them that someone had attempted to use their bank card fraudulently and even told them to dial 999 to speak to their local force.

But, he kept the line open, meaning the victims were still speaking to the fraudsters.

The victims then followed the instructions of the criminals, still believing they were police officers, and withdrew a large amount of cash, which was collected by someone pretending to be a courier.

Det Con Emma Wood, from Swindon CID, said this case showed how convincing and persuasive these types of fraudsters can be.

She said: "The victims in this case genuinely believed they were speaking to police officers and that they needed to cooperate with their requests or they could lose more money to fraudsters or even be arrested for perverting the course of justice.

"This is why it is so important that we remind people of the simple steps they can take to avoid being scammed in this way.

"Please remember, a police officer would never ask you to withdraw money and give it to them.

"They would also be able to meet you face-to-face and show you ID, and would be happy for you to verify their credentials by calling 101.

"If you receive a suspicious phone call then please hang up the phone and report it. Don't feel worried about appearing rude, it is better to be safe than sorry."

She added: "We would also like to urge people to speak to their friends and family members about these types of cases, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable - we want to protect as many people as possible."

Our crime prevention advice includes:

- If you receive a call from anybody purporting to be from the police, bank, or any organisation you did not call, please take a telephone number and then put the phone down.

- Go and make a cup of tea or do something for five minutes (this stops any fraudster from keeping your phone line open) then call a trusted friend, relative or Wiltshire Police on 101 and tell them what has happened.

- Never transfer money or give the caller access to your banking details or cards. The bank or police would never ask you to do this.

Further details about courier fraud can be found on the Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.police.uk

Dont Give A Fraudster A Christmas Treat

It's no surprise that the lead-up to Christmas - including Black Friday - is the busiest time of the year for online shopping.

But it's the busiest time for fraudsters too. Whether you're shopping for presents, buying seasonal treats or booking a break, they'll be trying to catch you out, well aware that you have a lot on your mind and are keen to bag a bargain.

So before you start your Christmas shopping in earnest, please take a few minutes to read some easy-to-follow tips to help you from giving a fraudster an early Christmas present.

Visit www.getsafeonline.org/safechristmasshopping for your top tips to enjoy a safe and happy online Christmas shopping experience.

Warning of Theft from Garages

We have been made aware of a significant number of garage break-ins resulting in the theft of bicycles and tools. Please see the following tips to help prevent thefts from garages:
- Register your valuable items such as bikes, electronics, tools etc. for free on www.Immobilise.com.unnamed2
- Take pictures of valuables and record their serial numbers and keep these safe. This information helps increase the chance of these items being returned to you if they are stolen.
- If possible, don’t store Christmas presents in the garage prior to the big day. Keep them inside the house but out of sight.
- Consider installing a Secured by Design approved anchor post inside the garage to which you can secure valuable items such as bikes.
- If your garage has an up and over door, consider installing an outer bracket and floor eyelet welded or bolted to the bottom of the door. This should be secured with a closed-shackle padlock. Alternatively if you access your garage via an internal door, you can drill a hole in the top channel above the wheels and insert a padlock into the hole.
- Never leave a garage or shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house.
- Visibly and permanently mark property using a Secured by Design-approved forensic property-marking kit.
- Think of securing windows with grills or heavy wire mesh to increase window security and the use of net curtains to deter casual viewing of the inside of your garage.

Christmas Safety

With Christmas around the corner, the thieves are out targeting the elderly. So please, please make sure purses are kept on your person and handbags closed and kept close. If anyone sees any open handbags when shopping, please approach and give words of advice.

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Community Messaging

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Have you signed up to Community Messaging?

Wiltshire Police use an email alert system called Community Messaging, also known as Neighbourhood Alert, across Wiltshire and Swindon to provide real time information to subscribing residents and businesses.

This is a free service and once subscribed you can choose what sort of alert to receive and how to receive them. This way the alerts will be tailored specifically to your interests and delivered by email, text or phone.

Read more: Community Messaging

Appeal For Witnesses After Attempted Robbery

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We're appealing for witnesses after a teenager was grabbed and punched in the face in an attempted robbery in Trowbridge.

The 16-year-old victim was walking with his friends, between Lamplighters Walk and Rutland Crescent around 8.45pm on Wednesday (25/9), when two unknown people approached from behind on bikes.

The offenders, both described as male and dressed in dark clothing with covered faces, grabbed the victim, punched him to the face and demanded he empty his pockets.

After the victim handed over cigarettes, the two suspects left the scene.

PC Barry Dalton, from Trowbridge Community Policing Team, said: "Understandably any incident of this nature is concerning for the local community but we would like to reassure them that we take reports like this extremely seriously and have swiftly started investigating this incident.

"We are urging anyone who may have seen the suspects in the area at the time, or may have dash cam footage, to come forward and help us identify these people."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote crime reference 54190095513.

Wiltshire Knife Amnesty and Crime Prevention Operation

We're launching our knives amnesty and knife crime prevention fortnight, starting today (Monday 16 September).

As part of Op Sceptre - the national knife crime prevention initiative, also launched today, bringing together police forces co-ordinating ways to tackle knife crime - we will be appealing for people to hand in unwanted or illegal knives and bladed weapons during the period of the amnesty: Monday 16 - Sunday 29 September 2019.

Read more: Wiltshire Knife Amnesty and Crime Prevention Operation

Advice For Residents Going On Holiday This Summer

Are you going on holiday soon? Here's a few precautions you can take to secure your home and possessions while you're away.

» Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries for the period you are away
» Use a timer to set lights to mimic your usual activity when you are not at home
» Consider installing a burglar alarm, and only use a company that is registered or certified with the NSI or the SSIAB
» Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your house and they could even park their car on your driveway
» Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked - this includes sheds, garages and other outbuildings. Keep ladders and tools locked away - don't make it easy for thieves to enter your property
» Mark valuable items with your postcode or take photos. You can also register your property on the national property database
» Avoid discussing holiday plans on social media. Burglars can use this information to their advantage.

If you have any information about offenders or see something suspicious, call us on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency dial 999.

Drivers Targeted With Fake Fines