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14th May 2024

Whilst we have highlighted Romance Fraud in previous messages, it continues to target vulnerable victims with resultant harm not only to their finances but also their emotions, mental health and general well-being. So, the message is worth repeating.
Once they have gained your confidence and trust through their fake profile, they may create heart rending pleas about personal or family problems, and emergencies which need finance. These play on your better nature and, may even create a guilt complex in you, if you do not send them money which they usually require urgently.

Are any platforms safe?

Fraudsters continue to target users of popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as dating sites such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.
Messaging sites such as Google Hangouts and WhatsApp may also be used to find unsuspecting victims. Scammers are usually quick to persuade you to move off Social media sites, where they may be blocked, and on to messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.

As well as conventional dating platforms, online Gaming platforms may be used to seek potential victims since there are fewer protective measures in place.

Who are their targets?

Females over 40 years are common victims, as well as younger males, but users also need to be aware on age-related dating platforms too.

How does it work?
Basically, criminals will go to great lengths to gain the victim’s trust by claiming they are in a genuine relationship and this is built up over time
• They will manipulate and exploit the victim to the extent they are persuaded they are in a real and genuine relationship
• Then, when they ask for money, the victim is convinced there is no problem with the request
• The requests can be very emotive citing reasons such as medical emergencies, travel costs, payment of fines or taxes, or even claiming their bank account has been frozen

Tell-tale signs a friend or family member is involved in a Romance Scam
• They may be very secretive about their relationship or provide excuses for why their online partner has not video called or met them in person.
• They may be unwilling to discuss their online relationship
• They may express very strong emotions and commitment to someone they have only just met
• They have sent, or are planning to send, money to someone they have not met face-to-face. They may take out loans or withdraw from their pension to send money.

Stay safe
• Never send money to someone you have never met in person
• Never part with your bank or personal details to strangers online however genuine they claim to be
• Always seek advice from somebody trusted before parting with any money in any format, whether it is bank transfers, PayPal, Gift Cards or bitcoin currencies.
• Profile photos are very often fake, you can research any image by doing a “Reverse Image” search to find photos that have been copied from elsewhere.
• Never share images of yourself that you would not want your own family and friends to see

And finally
In the event that you have been scammed, beware subsequently of emails and messages claiming to be from Fraud Recovery Firms, as highlighted in last week’s message. This may well be the criminal using another tactic to gain monies from you.
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Please feel free to share this information with any family, friends, or neighbours that you think it may be able to assist.

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Take Five to Stop Fraud

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

ALWAYS REMEMBER:
• Avoid disclosing security details
• Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic
• Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number
• Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests
• Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams
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If you’ve fallen for a scam,
report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number - 159 - to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks.

30th April 2024

The footpath above the Highley railway station carpark, is where several diseased Ash trees are to be felled.
Scheduled contractors carrying out the job have been delayed due to broken machinery and a traffic control system will be in place along Station road whilst the job is being carried out.

Many thanks

29th April 2024

We are working hard to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Cleobury Mortimer and Highley

Following reports of abandoned Vehicles in Cleobury Mortimer Police have seized a vehicle for having no road tax

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable activity that causes harm to an individual, to their community or to their environment. This could be an action by someone else that leaves you feeling alarmed, harassed or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder or public nuisance.

Examples of anti-social behaviour include:

Nuisance, rowdy or inconsiderate neighbours
Vandalism, graffiti and fly-posting
Street drinking
Environmental damage including littering, dumping of rubbish and abandonment of cars
Prostitution related activity
Begging and vagrancy
Fireworks misuse
Inconsiderate or inappropriate use of vehicles

If you are experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour, or have any concerns about it, or other community safety issues, you should contact your local council or report this to us online. In an emergency, if you or your property are at risk or a crime is in progress call 999.

The police, local authorities and other community safety partner agencies, such as Fire & Rescue and social housing landlords, all have a responsibility to deal with anti-social behaviour and to help people who are suffering from it.

If you have information ASB please let us know using the online ‘Tell Us About’ form on our website www.westmercia.police.uk,

If you aren’t comfortable contacting us directly, you can pass on information anonymously to the independent charity, Crimestoppers, by calling 0800 555 111 or by visiting their website: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

29th April 2024

We are urging people to particularly vigilant to burglaries as the warm weather arrives. During the summer months, doors and windows are often left open, making homes an easy target for thieves.

There are some simple but effective ways that you can protect your property:

Keep front, patio and back doors closed and locked when you are elsewhere in the house or the garden.
Keep garden gates locked when you are away from the property.
Ensure that windows and external doors on the ground floor are locked at night, and all doors and windows are locked when you are out of the house. Even a small window could provide a burglar with an opportunity to reach through and open a larger window to gain access.
Remember to close downstairs windows when leaving a room, to deter the opportunist thief.
Find out about property marking schemes such as Smartwater If an item is marked it will be much harder for a thief to sell on. Also, if recovered, stolen items can then be returned to their rightful owner.
Look out for your neighbours' property if they are away for a few days.
Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is good way to meet those living on your street. Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators help to keep the local groups informed of criminal activity in the community, pass on crime prevention advice and help resolve local issues. Local members are encouraged to keep an eye on what's going and pass on details of suspicious activity.