Warning of loan shark dangers in Cambridgeshire

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Cambridgeshire County Council is lending its support to a national campaign aimed at tackling loan sharks and raising awareness of where people can seek help. The campaign is being led by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks. They also provide specialist support for people affected by this crime. A loan shark is someone who lends money without authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They often tend to initially appear friendly and helpful but can then turn to violent and aggressive behaviour to force victims to repay the loans with huge interest and extortionate penalties. It’s not always easy to spot a loan shark as they come in many different guises and will at first appear friendly, just part of the community. It’s when you can’t pay that they will turn on you. They could be a regular from the local pub, a parent in the school playground or a friend of a friend. Loan sharks prey on people at their most vulnerable. Borrowing from a loan shark can seem like an easy option but often it will lead to a vicious cycle of threats, intimidation and spiralling debts. You will usually find these predators lurking in communities, but they also operate on social media, using dating sites and online groups to find, threaten and control people in debt. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for that a lender is acting illegally: Giving you no paperwork or agreement on a loan Refusing to give you information about the loan Keeping items such as your passport and bank card until the debt is paid Taking things from you if you don’t pay on time Adding more interest or charges so the debt never goes down Using intimidation or violence if you don’t pay Starting off by being your friend but quickly turning nasty If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, it is important to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is no shame in seeking help. It may seem like a difficult step to take, but there is support available from the England Illegal Money Lending Team. Credit unions are a safe and legal alternative than borrowing from a loan shark, find out more about the services on offer locally by going to www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk. Why join a credit union? ✔️ Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations, existing primarily to serve the needs of their members and the communities in which they operate. ✔️ It’s easy to find a credit union that you’re eligible to join. To become a member of the Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union, you need to live or work in Norfolk, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire. ✔️ Credit unions help members save and manage their money ethically and responsibly. They offer savings and loans at affordable rates, and just like with banks and building societies, your savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). ✔️ Credit unions may be more willing to offer you a small loan if you have poor or no credit rating. Banks, along with other loan providers, may be reluctant to lend you money for this reason. It’s easy to check that a lender is authorised before considering a loan by visiting the Financial Services Register online at https://register.fca.org.uk/s/ Residents who believe they may be involved with a loan shark or suspect that one is operating in their area can report it to the Illegal Money Lending Team by calling 0300 555 2222, emailing reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or filling out an online form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Follow us on Twitter| Facebook|Cambridgeshire.gov.uk/against-scams CCC PCC

Energy Company scam Alert forwarded from Cambridgeshire Police

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Cambridgeshire Police Fraud Alert –

Energy Company Scams
Energy companies are closing at unprecedented rates and with more than two million customers being affected, this is just another opportunity for fraudsters to exploit.

There is limited information that fraudsters are sending fake emails purporting to be from a solicitor on behalf of a recognisable energy supplier, these emails claim to be collecting outstanding payments and may make reference to your account being taken over and managed by another energy company. Like most phishing communications they not only intend to appear genuine, but they also install fear, anxiety, stress, a sense of urgency and a veiled threat such as legal action and disconnection of supply.

If you receive any such email or message:
STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before replying, parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try and rush or panic you.
PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Do not reply to the suspicious communication or use the contacts details provided.

Do not open any attachment or click on any link.

Contact your current and genuine energy supplier using your previously tried, tested, and trusted means, this is either an app, website or contact telephone number from a genuine previous bill.

They will soon confirm or deny whether the communication is a scam or not.
If you receive a suspicious email forward to report@phishing.gov.uk or text to 7726
Ensure any suspicious communication is deleted from your device.

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Scam in Focus -Romance Scams
Romance Scams. 
What is a romance scam?  It is when someone uses an online dating site to develop a relationship with someone for the express purpose of extracting money from them.  
How does someone become a victim? The scam is run over a long period of time, forging a relationship, gaining trust, until they feel the victim is sufficiently enamoured with the scammer to send money when it is asked for. 
Signs: – A friend or family member may be involved are they exhibiting secretive behaviour, making excuses why they haven’t met in person, Sudden and strong attachment to someone they haven’t met, and have only just started talking to.  These are some of the things to look out for.
Remember, these people are professional relationship builders.  They will make you feel special and say all the right things because that is how they gain your trust and build the relationship with you. 
How to protect yourself: – Alarm bells should ring If- 
You like the person and they ask you to chat off the site.   
You attempt to arrange to meet, but they keep making excuses why they can’t.  They will usually be out of the country for some reason, and it will all sound very plausible.    
If they ask for money or any personal documentation, then that is a sure sign the person is not on the dating site genuinely. 
If you find yourself getting really defensive about questions from loved ones and friends.  If they are concerned there is probably a legitimate reason, especially.   
Conduct a reverse image search on one of the search engines. If the search engine returns an image like the one seen on the dating profile, do a bit more research around the picture.  It could be a photograph from a company website.   
“Why would someone wait this long to scam me”.  The longer the scam goes on the more you will get attached to the person, the more money you are likely to spend.  Remember that the sums sent from a single person have been £30,000.  This is a good yearly wage, and  this is multiplied by the number of people they are scamming, they can scam several people at the same time. 
Examples of the type of job they will have: – Remember, they will be working out of the country so they may be on an oil rig, be a doctor working abroad, or they could be in the military.  They need to be out of the country as a reason why they can’t meet you, and then when they ask for money, for example, they need money for a flight home, or to pay medical fees, or they have lost their credit cards, it will all sound plausible.  
Payments: – Credit cards, banks and Paypal all have ways of protecting their customers, and transactions can be reversed. So, you will be asked to send money via ways where the receiver can remain anonymous and the transfer is not reversable. If you haven’t heard of their way they are asking you to send money, or it isn’t something you have done before, then it is another red flag. 
At the end of the day this is a job to these people.  So another tell tale sign is they only chat with you their equivalent of 9-5, don’t forget they live all over the world in different time zones, so it may look like they are chatting when they get home from work, but in reality they are in a different time zone.  English may not be their first language so if they are saying they are from Wales, and their English isn’t good, then that is another flag that something may be wrong. 

Partner in the spotlight – Nat West
This months partner in focus, we look at Nat West and how they are working through these difficult times.
The role of a Customer Support Specialist at NatWest is primarily based in the community so our local Community Banker Bernadette Merry has had to adapt her way of working during the coronavirus restrictions. However she is still very much able to support you and the wider community at this time.
Nat west

Bernadette now offers workshops on Fraud & Scams and Digital Safety via Zoom. This is available to any community group or charity – they don’t need to be a customer of NatWest.
Another valuable offer from the Customer Support Specialist is to offer support and coaching for customers who wish to register for and use NatWest’s Online Banking services, mobile app and video banking which will help them to do most of the things they’d usually do in branch without having to leave their homes.
Two new dedicated customer support lines have also been put in place and the links below provide more information about how they can help.
Over 70’s and extended isolation  line – 0800 051 4176 (Relay UK 18001 0800 051 4176)
NHS Workers line – 0800 046 2418 (Relay UK 18001 0800 046 2418)
If you would like to contact the Customer Support Specialist for your area, please contact Bernadette Merry 

Concessionary Fare Passes Renewal

The Combined Authority is aware that over the next eighteen months the number of renewals of the concessionary bus passes is going to be potentially very high. It is the responsibility of the pass holder to check when their pass is up for renewal and then to contact the Combined Authority to get a new one. In order to aid the pass holder we have set up an online form which allows people to easily renew online. This online form can be found at Free Bus Passes – CPCA Transport (cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk) . If people have any problems with the online form then they can also call the number on the back of their passes

Scam Warning

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Scam Alert forwarded from Cambridgeshire Police

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Scam Alert forwarded on from Cambridgeshire Police
Please be alert to the suspicious email (detailed below) that has been received today by a resident within Cambridgeshire, it exploits the briefing at the weekend by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In the suspicious email note the ‘From’ address.
The official domain name of the NHS is @nhs.uk NOT @pcr-nhs-test.co.uk
There is no such thing as an OMICRON PCR TEST.
Omicron is a variant of Covid, and a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, detects the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the human body.
The official sources make NO reference to an ‘Omicron PCR test kit’ because it does not exisit.

The wording in the suspicious email is not what I would expect from the NHS or gov.uk, it refers to NHS scientists, which I find VERY odd due to the private sector developing the vaccine.
It asks the question ‘What happen if you decline a COVID-19 Omicron test’? There is no ‘s’ after the word happen, poor grammar which I would expect from an official genuine sender.
You may also note in the body of text, that they also spell Omicron, OMICORN.
Spelling, grammar, all the red flags are in this phishing email.

If you wish to find out more about the variant Omicron or forms of testing, then visit the genuine websites www.gov.uk or www.nhs.uk

If you receive any suspicious email please forward to report@phishing.gov.uk
Avoid clicking on links instead, visit the genuine official website or genuine app of the alleged sender.


From: NHS (ontact@pcr-nhs-test.co.u)
Sent: 30 November 2021 08:43
To: Subject: Get Your Free Omicron PCR test – Apply now to avoid restrictions
Get Your Free Omicron PCR today to avoid restrictions

NHS scientists have warned that the new Covid variant Omicron spreads rapidly, can be transmitted between fully vaccinated people, and makes jabs less effective.However, as the new covid variant (Omicron)has quickly become apparent, we have had to make new test kits as the new variant appears dormant in the original test kits.
What happen if you decline a COVID-19 Omicron test?
In this situation, we warned that testing is in the best interests of themselves, friends, and family. People who do not consent or cannot agree to a COVID-19 test and refuse to undergo a swab must be isolated.

How to request a Free Omicron PCR test?
You can order your Omicorn pcr test via NHS portal by clicking the link below:


What happen if you are positive?
If positive, they must isolate for 10 days and should be reported to Public Health England.

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This email was sent to email@willinghampc.org.uk using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Cambridgeshire County Council ·Shire Hall, Castle St ·Cambridge CB3 0AP, UK

Scam Alert

Casp View as a webpage scam warning Emails impersonating UK supermarkets and high street stores Fake marketing surveys promising gift cards of up to £100 for filling them out have been impersonating the likes of ASDA, Morrisons and Tesco. Fraudsters have been posing as these well-known supermarkets in order to gain your trust and send you on to potentially dangerous websites. ASDA phishing email This email is designed to make you follow the link by promising a large reward in return for doing very little – a common phishing tactic. But this ‘survey’ is not being run by ASDA.  Morrisons phishing email Using the same tactics, the fake Morrisons version promises a £90 reward. Tesco phishing email The Tesco phishing email is just like the Morrisons one with different logos. Tesco has a dedicated email for customers to forward phishing emails to: phishing@tesco.com. It also has a guide on how to identify scam emails posing as the brand. Now, according to the organisation “Which”, which has been highlighting this issue recently (and alerting the companies concerned), emails are circulating promising Primark gift card ‘rewards’, these are fake and have absolutely nothing to do with the high street store.  Primark phishing email As is often the case, the phishing email is promising big rewards for doing very little – in this case  ‘Primark Rewards’ in the form of a gift card for £1,384 – saying that you need to ‘activate the delivery’ in order to receive them. But clicking through on scam emails like these is only likely to send you on to potentially dangerous websites that could compromise your personal information and/or bank details. The email even attempts to deceive you by including ‘your account information’, which may appear legitimate at first glance, but on closer inspection only contains information that’s part of your email address. “Which” has produced a couple of useful guides about spotting scams and how to try to get your money back: Guide: how to spot a scam Guide: how to get your money back after a scam Think you may have lost money to a scam email? Let your bank know what’s happened immediately, the sooner the better. You can forward phishing emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. As noted above, Tesco has its own dedicated email, so you could forward the phishing email to it as well. Follow us on Twitter| Facebook|Cambridgeshire.gov.uk/against-scams CCC PCC

Volunteer School Appeals Panel Members

Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are looking for Volunteer School Appeals Panel Members – this is an interesting opportunity for someone who has an interest in school admissions.   

They encourage and welcome applications from candidates of all backgrounds – full training will be provided.  Detailed information about the role and an application form are attached.   

County Council flood prevention survey

As part of the County Council’s Community Flood Action Programme, ‘Riparian’ guidance is to be updated to make it more useful for those who have a watercourse on their land. As part of this work, they want to better understand what residents and landowners currently understand about responsibilities of maintaining watercourses (ditches, streams etc.) on private land. A short survey (5 questions) has been published, and we are helping to promote this to residents. If you would be willing to share our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts within your communities, that would be helpful. Alternatively, you can access or share the survey using this direct link. The deadline to respond is 30 September. You can find out more about Riparian ownership on the County Council’s website

Cambridge County Council – Riparian Guidance and survey

As part of our Community Flood Action Programme, Cambridge County Council are updating their riparian guidance document to make it more useful for those living next to a watercourse. As this document is aimed at residents and landowners, they wish to seek their views and get a better understanding of their awareness of riparian issues. The Council have therefore prepared a short survey (5 questions)

A link to the survey is here: https://forms.office.com/r/5HQbNqGtba

They plan to keep the survey open until 30th September but they may extend this if necessary.

In addition, the County Council would be grateful of any photos communities may have of watercourses, to include in the guidance document. If anyone would like to submit photos, please email them to CFAP@cambridgeshire.gov.uk, and include the name they would like to be credited as.