Category: Crime Prevention

Monthly drop-ins

We now run monthly drop-ins.

17. July2021 

21. August 2021 

18. September 2021 

16. October 2021 

20. November 2021 

18. December 2021 

17:00 – 18:00, The Glasshouse, 161 Old Ford Road, London E2 9QB, Map. 

  • Learn how to report crime ASB online using your phone, tablet, computer
  • Speak to police constables
  • apply to become a member of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association
  • Discuss your local watch development
  • order / pickup pre-ordered posters/stickers

31. August 2021, public meeting. See details

For all meeting dates please see the THNWA calendar, which also shows other events like the Knife prevention courses for parents, run by One Housing or Fraud and Cyber crime courses.

Vaccine passport scam

Scam emails have been sent impersonating the NHS, regarding applying for a Covid vaccine passport. One had the email subject “We are happy to introduce Digital Coronavirus Passports” the contents is as follows;




Clicking on the “Get Digital Passport” link takes you to a convincing but fake NHS website that asks for personal and payment details. (For a “process fee”)

The website has since been taken down, but to reiterate your vaccination status is obtained FREE through the NHS App, NHS website or via phoning the NHS on 119.

How to get your COVID-19 vaccination status

There are different ways to get your COVID-19 vaccination status:

Get a digital version

You can get a digital version using the NHS App or NHS website. You will need to set up an NHS login to do this.

Digital versions can be downloaded as a pdf or sent to you in an email.

You can get a digital version by:

 Get a paper version
(You can request a letter 5 days after having your 2nd dose of the vaccine.)

  • You can ask for a paper version of your COVID-19 vaccination status to be sent to you in the post.
  • You should get this within 5 working days.

You can get a paper version by:

More information can be found on the gov.uk website;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad

WhatsApp account compromise

WhatsApp account compromise

Criminals are targeting WhatsApp users, taking over accounts and trying to defraud or hack their friends too.

How the hack works

The criminals abuse the legitimate process of transferring a WhatsApp account from one phone to another.  They use an already compromised account to message the account owner’s contacts. The criminals impersonate the owner of the hacked account and usually claim that they are having problems receiving a six-digit code, and asking if they can send it to the friend instead (or that they have sent it to them by accident) they then request the friend tell them the code or forward it on to them. The code is the WhatsApp verification code for the new victim—by sending it to their friend they are really sending it to the criminal who is then able to transfer the new victims WhatsApp account to the criminal’s phone.

What follows next is normally the criminal impersonating the victim and requesting money from their contacts (usually for an emergency but always on the promise of being repaid) or the criminal will use the compromised account in the same manner as before to hack more and more accounts.

No matter the claim, you should never share your WhatsApp SMS verification code with others, not even friends or family. Sharing codes can cause you to lose your account.

Learn more here: https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/account-and-profile/stolen-accounts/

If you’re unfortunately tricked into sharing your code and lose access to your WhatsApp account, read the instructions below on how to recover your account.

Please note, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and messages are stored on your device, so someone accessing your account on another device can’t read your past conversations. But they will be able to read and reply to any new messages you receive and post in any groups you are a member of.

How to protect yourself

  • If you receive a suspicious or unexpected message from a friend or “mutual” on WhatsApp (or any social media), contact them via other means to check the message is genuine.

  • Never share any codes or pin numbers.

  • Set up 2 factor authentication (2FA) It’s quick and easy to set up and adds another layer of security to your account.
    WhatsApps website https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/verification/about-two-step-verification gives a guide on how to turn on 2FA – open WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.

  • Don’t give your login details (email/number & password) to anyone. Only enter your login details on the official website or app.

  • Be extremely weary of sharing your phone number or email address over social media. / Instant messaging.

  • Always double check friend requests or “being added” by contacts and don’t accept them from people you don’t know.

  • Always challenge requests for your information.

How to recover your account;

Sign into WhatsApp with your phone number and verify your phone number by entering the 6-digit code you receive via SMS..

Once you enter the 6-digit SMS code, the individual using your account is automatically logged out.

You might also be asked to provide a two-step verification code. If you don’t know this code, the individual using your account might have enabled two-step verification.

You must wait 7 days before you can sign in without the two-step verification code.  Regardless of whether you know this verification code, the other individual was logged out of your account once you entered the 6-digit SMS code.

More information can be found here; https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/account-and-profile/stolen-accounts/

How to update WhatsApp

You should keep WhatsApp (and any other apps on your smartphone) up to date.

Download software updates as soon as they are available, these are normally security updates which are fixing potential vulnerabilities in the apps software.

Android

Visit the play store, click on menu and choose ‘My apps and games’. Tap update next to the WhatsApp messenger.

iPhone

Visit the app store, click updates and refresh. Tap update next to the WhatsApp messenger

Windows Phone 8.1

Visit the store and select menu. Click on ‘My apps’ and select WhatsApp to update.

Windows Phone 10

Visit the Microsoft store and click on ‘Menu’. Select ‘My Library’ and tap ‘Update’ next to WhatsApp.

Royal Mail scam

Royal Mail scam

We’ve seen a rise in “Royal Mail” delivery scams over the last week.

Victims are receiving texts or emails purporting to be from Royal Mail claiming a package requires a small payment to be delivered. (along with other similar narratives)

Clicking on the link and providing your details leads to your money and/or identity being stolen.

There are some good examples of (some quite convincing) scam messages on the Royal Mail website.

I encourage everyone to have a look. https://www.royalmail.com/help/scam-examples

Here are a few:

Remember that numbers can be “spoofed” or disguised to look like they’ve come from a another number.
Which also means that if you have genuine messages on your phone from an organisation (e.g. from Royal Mail), a spoofed message will appear alongside it (as your phone can’t tell the difference between them)
Text message saying a parcel is ready for collection. A link takes you to a fake web site (royal-mail.cloud) where you’ll be asked to make a payment.

Please remember the same rules apply;

  • Don’t click on links/open attachments in unexpected emails or texts.
    Clicking on unverified links or attachments in emails or texts can give criminals access to your devices.
  • Always question requests for personal information.
    Criminals will try all sorts of stories to get you to part with your money or data, Never give information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. (no matter who they claim to be or what they know about you)
  • Your bank, or other official organisations, will never ask you to share personal or financial information over the phone, or via text or email.
    If you need to check that it’s a genuine message, contact them directly via a number you know to be correct. (A genuine organisation won’t mind you double checking, or taking time to think)
  • Report suspicious emails you have received but not acted upon, by forwarding the original message to report@phishing.gov.uk
  • Report suspicious texts you have received but not acted upon, by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.
  • If you have acted upon a message you have received, and you think you may be a victim of a fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040 as soon as possible.
Protect yourself against car crime

Protect yourself against car crime

Tips to keep your car safe

Following 3 simple steps (leave your car locked, well-lit, and empty) will help to keep your car safe, but there are further steps you could take:

  • Store car ownership information at home, not in your car
  • Secure number plates with anti-theft screws available from car accessory stores
  • Keep your car keys out of sight in your home 
  • Use a Sold Secure www.soldsecure.com approved anti-theft device on your car. You can search for suppliers on www.securedbydesign.com 
  • When parking in a car park, look for a ‘Park Mark’ www.parkmark.co.uk indicating the car park meets recognised security levels 
  • Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels
  • Secure items outside of your vehicle. Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.

Catalytic Converter theft

Catalytic converters are targeted because of the precious metals that they are made with, namely rhodium, platinum and palladium. Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers. Taller vehicles are more vulnerable as the catalytic converters are easier to access.

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen you could

  1. Purchase anti-theft products such as Catloc – Sold Secure approved product (find out more about Catloc’s Secured by Design’s Police Preferred Specification here)
  2. Park to restrict access to the underneath of the car
  3. Ask your dealer to weld the catalytic converter to the car
  4. Fit a tilt alarm
  5. Register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of

For more information on catalytic converter theft, have a look at this BBC One Inside Out Catalytic Converter Theft video from March 2020.

Keyless car theft

Keyless car theft – also known as relay theft – is relatively simple.  With a relay amplifier and a relay transmitter, a thief can detect whether the car has keyless entry. Working in pairs they identify a house with a car parked nearby and one person stands by the car with a transmitter, while a second waves an amplifier around the perimeter of the house. If the car key is close enough the amplifier will detect its signal, amplify it, and send it to the accomplice’s transmitter.

This transmitter then effectively becomes the key, and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby. The thieves can then open the car, get in and drive away.

The whole process can take as little as 60 seconds and can be completed in near silence.

TOP TIPS TO AVOID KEYLESS THEFT

To avoid keyless car theft remember DISTANCE, SIGNAL, STEERING WHEEL.

  • KEEP KEYS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE CAR: Keeping keys far away from doors and windows. This will minimise the chances a thief will be able to find and amplify the key’s signal and is general good practice.
  • BLOCK  OR TURN OFF THE SIGNAL: Consider purchasing a Faraday pouch to keep your car key in. These pouches contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing crooks from being able to detect and amplify the signal. Check your manual or speak to your dealer to find out if your key can be switched off
  • STEERING WHEELOCK: Consider using a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post, or even a wheel clamp

For more information and further tips look at this ‘Keyless could be Carless’ information sheet from West Yorkshire Police

Information for the PCC

Information for the PCC

Neighbourhood Watch Network

1.            Introduction

1.1          Neighbourhood Watch is the largest crime prevention volunteer organisation in England and Wales with over 2.3m members and 90,000 street coordinators, with a well-known and trusted brand which is recognised by 95% of the population. Volunteers are supported locally in most police force areas by a sustainable infrastructure of Force Area or Borough Associations and nationally by a small, dedicated Central Support Team within the Neighbourhood Network (NWN) charity who provide volunteer training, share effective practice, and develop and share crime prevention toolkits, campaign material and other resources.

1.2          The primary aim of Neighbourhood Watch is to reduce crime and fear of crime by working in partnership with the police, councils, local partners and community groups on crime prevention initiatives. Volunteers also share crime prevention advice and help neighbours to act upon it, thereby building communities that are more resilient against crime. We focus on sustainable and impactful outcomes, giving our volunteers the tools and support to be active in their neighbourhoods, connect with one another and work together with their community members to make committing crimes in their area more difficult. 

2.            Crime Prevention

                Many of our volunteers have received training, either from their local police force, partners or from NWN, to equip them to actively implement and share knowledge of specific crime prevention techniques to complement the activity of neighbourhood policing teams. While historically the focus of local groups has been on neighbourhood crimes such as car crime, anti-social behaviour, burglary and fraud, Neighbourhood Watch also has a role in supporting the identification and reporting of hidden and high harm crimes affecting neighbourhoods. There are a range of toolkits on the Our Watch website providing information and resources to assist local Neighbourhood Watch groups to raise community awareness of the signs and symptoms of these crimes and how to report concerns. https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/crime-prevention/crime-types

3.            Resilient communities, long-lasting impact 

                Neighbourhood Watch is about connecting neighbours, enabling them to set up self-supporting networks through Neighbourhood Watch schemes and other models of local engagement. Although crime occurrences are a key factor for neighbours starting or joining a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, the activity of Neighbourhood Watch groups also increases community spirit and neighbourliness, leading to more resilient, cohesive communities that can better face future challenges, as evidenced during the Covid-19 response.

4.            Volunteer base 

Our strongest asset is our committed, engaged and motivated hyperlocal volunteers who have links into their community and partner organisations. There are very few parts of England and Wales where Neighbourhood Watch does not have a presence or reach. Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, bringing with them a range of skills. They share crime prevention advice and good practice with their communities and between themselves and act as a catalyst for community action to address local issues affecting their community. We equip our volunteers with the tools, training and opportunities to connect with their neighbours, partners and other local groups to enable them to become active within their communities

Many participate on local and national Working Groups to identify how NW can help tackle issues such as Rural Crime and County Lines with relevant partner agencies. NWN helps share that knowledge through our website, monthly newsletters, social media and other communication channels and provides tried and tested, evidenced-based solutions across England and Wales. 

5.            Evidence-based flexible approach 

Neighbourhood Watch is flexible and adaptable to the needs and characteristics of local communities. We employ measurement tools and commission research to identify what works and any challenges Neighbourhood Watch is facing to assess our impact, learn from experience and support our local areas to make improvements.

6.            Neighbourhood Watch Crime and Community Survey

National results from the Neighbourhood Watch Crime and Community Survey 2020 which received more than 32,000 responses from both NW members and non-members, show that members of Neighbourhood Watch consistently feel safer and more connected within their community. Headlines results show that-:

•       Those who live in a Neighbourhood Watch area are more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their personal safety than those who don’t (59% vs 45%) with NW members in those areas more likely to be satisfied with their personal safety than non-members (63% vs 45%).

•       Those living in a Neighbourhood Watch area less likely to say that crime has increased than those who don’t (32% vs 43%). Neighbourhood Watch members living in those areas are even less likely to think that crime has increased (28%), and significantly more likely to think crime has decreased or remained stable (62% vs 42%).

•       Neighbourhood Watch members are more likely to agree that they feel part of the neighbourhood than non-members (87% vs 75%) and are much more likely than non-members to very strongly agree that they feel part of the neighbourhood (47% vs 29%).

•       Both members and non-members are likely to act on crime prevention advice they receive from Neighbourhood Watch, with 91% of Neighbourhood Watch members and 83% of non-members usually or sometimes acting on that advice.

The national and regional reports can be accessed here:-

7.            Impact

NWN published our first Impact Report in 2020 outlining our achievements, locally and nationally, alongside data and case studies highlighting the impact these have had on reducing local crime and improving community well-being.

8.            Projects

8.1          We are in the process of rolling out fraud prevention and support initiatives. The Communities that Care project is very much targeted at hyperlocal implementation – neighbours helping neighbours – and covers all fraud types, while the Cyberhood Watch Ambassadors programme focuses on cybercrime and is a more strategic role, including acting as a local spokesperson for community led cybercrime prevention.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/communities-that-care

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/attend-event/cyberhood-watch-initiative

8.2          We have recently introduced the role of Community Champion to give an additional option to those who wish to support crime prevention and community work in their local area, as an add on or alternative to the traditional Neighbourhood Watch street coordinator role. We are trialling this role currently in the London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham and in N Yorkshire with a view to rolling it out more widely if it proves successful.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/community-champions

8.3          Our acceleration projects in Middlesborough, Anglesey, Norwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and the West Midlands are testing ways of diversifying the way that NW communicates and interacts with communities in high crime areas and with students and other young people. Working closely with Community Organisers, local Councillors, PCCs and residents, the projects involve listening campaigns with local residents, actively recruiting and training volunteer community organisers, building community frameworks, student surveys, co-development of a young people’s project with young people and working within areas of deprivation with hard to reach communities. The project reports will be available in February 2021.

9.            Campaigns

9.1          Over the past 12 months NWN has been running our own bespoke campaigns on aspects of crime prevention, targeted at either specific demographics at most risk of the particular crime type and/or areas where the crime type is most prevalent. We are planning our next campaign on vehicle crime in March 21 and will focus on Cybercrime in June 21 during National Neighbourhood Watch week. Going forward we plan to run at least 3 crime prevention campaigns per year.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/protect-your-paw0rd

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/safety-neighbours-campaign

9.2          Our annual Neighbour of the Year award, run in conjunction with the Coop Insurance is gaining in popularity and featured on the One Show this year. We have now extended it to include a Young Neighbour of the Year, as well as continuing with the regional Neighbour of the Year awards.

10.          Covid 19 support

In addition to sharing information and prevention advice about the scams that are being perpetrated in relation to Covid-19, we have also been collecting and sharing local stories about the support that Neighbourhood Watch groups have been giving to their communities during the pandemic and running campaigns to thank all the volunteers who have worked so hard to help people out and encouraging communities to stay connected with our Calling Tree campaign.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/thank-you-volunteering

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/calling-tree

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/news/neighbourhood-watch-response-covid-19/covid-19-community-response-stories

11.          Strategic Development Coordinator

Devon and Cornwall’s PCC has funded a specific role to support the development of NW across the force area over an initial 2 year period. This role sits within Devon and Cornwall Community Watch Association and has strong links to NWN as we manage the finances and HR function related to the role. It has proved really successful in advancing the development of community crime prevention through NW and other Watch schemes in the two counties and has attracted interest from some other police forces. The OPCC has now extended the remit and funding of the post to include support for implementation of some of the Safer Streets work across the force area.

12.          The Future of Neighbourhood Watch

A new 5 year strategy for the development of Neighbourhood Watch across England and Wales has recently been published. The strategy outlines our aspiration to build on our current strengths to become: –

  • The authoritative voice on community-based crime prevention
  • The most popular gateway for citizens to engage in their locality and
  • A recognised contributor to community health and wellbeing

The full Neighbourhood Watch Strategy 2020/2025 can be read here

The neighbour you get to know

The neighbour you get to know

  • is less likely to get involved with criminals
  • is less likely to be exploited by criminals
  • is probably less paranoid
  • will help improve community safety

Community anonymity can help produce paranoia in people, so that school children for example may believe those who tell them they need knives to protect themselves because there is danger around. That myth can be broken down by simply talking to neighbours and this connection produces a greater feeling of security in people and also children.

Saying Hello can bring so many advantages like

  • community cohesion
  • harmonious relationships
  • helping each other out and that in turn can lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint because if neighbours who know each other can help each other out, they all need to purchase less and throw less away.

Isolated people are more likely to fall victim to scammers of all kind. Scammers collect money from people, which avoids taxation. Every penny spent on a scammer is a penny less for our NHS, our schools and our police services.

Criminals target lonely, vulnerable people to use their homes to store drugs, weapons, as base for heists, storing explosives.
If they see that neighbours talk to each other, they would not bother invading your community. Every property used by criminals makes our communities weaker.

We want our co-ordinators to get to know their neighbours. Start a watch in your block, your street and once you got to know those neighbours, start to get to know other co-ordinators and combine efforts, run events and make your community stronger.

Apply for membership in the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association

Fake job listings scam

Fake job listings scam

Criminals are using the potential rise in unemployment as an opportunity to advertise fake job listings that require little skills or qualifications and offer high salaries.

Applicants are generally asked to pay an upfront fee to cover the cost of DBS checks or training programmes for jobs that don’t exist, with job descriptions taken from genuine companies to convince you they’re real.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Make sure you conduct your own due diligence before applying for any jobs and avoid sharing your personal information such as your National Insurance number and passport details unless you’re absolutely certain both the company and role are genuine.

If you’re concerned about a job scam you can report it to a trade association such as the REC, APSCo or TEAM, and to SAFERjobs using their online reporting tool#TakeFive#StopChallengeProtect