Web chat and online reports

eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon Web chat and online reports
Cambridgeshire Constabulary are asking you to consider using online services for non-emergency contact with police, to help reduce the pressure on call takers and save time waiting on the line for an operator. 

In September, our average response time on live web chat was just 27 seconds, making this the easiest and most efficient way to contact us. 

Our specialist web chat operators have a wealth of knowledge and are available around the clock to offer advice, answer questions and raise crime or intelligence reports, often without the wait. 

Those who are pressed for time, hard of hearing or can’t talk freely can visit the dedicated web chat page or click the green button in the bottom right corner of any page on the force’s website to start a chat with an operator.  
Online reports are another great way to contact the force in a non-emergency situation. We have dedicated forms on our website which can be submitted in a matter of minutes, without the need to wait on the line for an operator. Just provide us the details and we’ll take it from there.   

All online reports are reviewed and dealt with in the same way as calls to 101.

  Learn more about contacting us here or try our ‘contact us quiz’.   

Kind regards,   
Message Sent By
Lauren Watchorn
(Police, Digital Marketing Officer, Corporate Communications)

Burglary warning as clocks go back

eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon Burglary warning as clocks go back
With the clocks going back and the evenings start to draw in, we’re urging residents to check their home security.  

With more homes empty after sunset, it is so important to make sure your home is protected from opportunistic burglars.   ·  Keep a light on when you go out or use timer switches (battery or solar powered lamps are great for keeping costs down)  ·  Lock all windows and doors, even when you’re at home  ·  Don’t leave valuable items on display ·  Close your blinds and curtains at night to prevent people looking into your home ·  Install good lighting, for example exterior lights with dawn-to-dusk sensors and an alarm. ·  Do not leave car keys near the front door or anywhere easy to find.  

Don’t become a victim of a burglary, visit our website to find out how to protect your home.  

Kind regards,  
Message Sent By
Grace Corney
(Police, Communications Assistant, Cambridgeshire)

Could your friends and family benefit from eCops?

According to our 2022 survey, 73% of respondents said that thanks to eCops, they would now “find it easier to spot a scam, fraud or potential crime attempts”. 
A further 55% of respondents said that due to eCops, they have changed their behaviour regarding how they protect themselves and others against crime. 

Also as a result of eCops:

·  23% of respondents said that they have taken action to help protect themselves against crime

·  One third of respondents said the information in eCops alerts has helped prevent them from becoming a victim of crime

·  And half of the respondents said that their confidence in the police has increased since signing up

Help your friends, family and neighbours to feel safer in their community and protect themselves against local crime. Anyone in Cambridgeshire can sign up to eCops for free at www.ecops.org.uk

Catalytic converter thefts in a village near you

eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon Catalytic converter thefts in a village near you
Over the past two weeks we’ve seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts in South Cambs. Catalytic converters are found in the exhaust system of every car and reduce the output of toxic gases and pollutants.  It takes just minutes for thieves to remove a catalytic converter and on many occasions victims are unaware their vehicle has been targeted even though it was sat on their driveway. The offences happen in broad daylight as well as at night. There have been reported thefts in the villages of Meldreth, Foxton, Melbourn, Eltisley, Littlington, Bassingbourn, Guilden Morden, Hardwick, Comberton, Orwell, Pampisford and Barton. We’re increasing our patrols to try and catch those responsible and we’re asking you to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us.  If you suspect a crime is taking place, call 999. Please provide operators with as much information as possible including the vehicle they are driving and number plate, descriptions of those involved and the location. You can find more information on our website about catalytic converter theft including steps you can take to try and protect your vehicle against thieves. Kind Regards, Inspector Shane Fasey
South Cambs Neighbourhood Team  
Message Sent By
Tara Dundon
(Police, Senior Communications Officer, All )

Energy Bill Scam Texts

eCops Logo Action Fraud (NFIB)
Message Type Icon ALERT: Energy Bill Scam texts
Dear Subscriber,  Action Fraud has received 139 crime reports relating to fake text messages purporting to be from the UK government. The texts state that the recipient is “owed” or “eligible” for an energy bill discount as part of the Energy Bill Support Scheme. The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial information. You can see screenshots of the text messages on our Twitter post here.   How to protect yourself ·  Energy Bill Discount : £400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain from October 2022. You do not need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details.   ·  Spotted a suspicious text message? Forward it to 7726 (it’s free of charge). If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it’s found to be malicious.   For more information on how to stay secure online, please visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk   If you found this information useful, please share it with friends, family and colleagues.  
Message Sent By
Action Fraud
(Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Safer Cambs – Live Web Chat

eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon Live web chat
Dear Mandy, Did you know that last year, specialist operators in our demand hub dealt with more than 33,000 issues using online web chat?  With agents available around the clock and an average response time of just 1 minute 12 seconds, it is one of the quickest and easiest methods of contacting us in a non-emergency situation. (If anyone is in immediate danger or harm, please always call police using 999). Report crime, seek advice or provide us with intel by visiting our dedicated web chat page or clicking the green chat icon at the bottom of our website home page Kind regards,       
Message Sent By
Lauren Watchorn
(Police, Digital Marketing Officer, Corporate Communications)
eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon Could our live web chat be of use to you?
Have you used our online services yet? Not only can you report issues to us online, but you can also speak to our specialist operators 24 hours a day using our live web chat service.  Receive advice, guidance and support from operators in our demand hub in a way that is quick and easy for you.  Starting a live chat can be done at any time by clicking the green chat icon in the bottom right of our website.  In July alone, we helped 2,498 people using our web chat, and our average response time was 1 minute 12 seconds.  Remember that live chat and online reports are for non-urgent instances. We urge you to always dial 999 in an emergency situation, or if someone is in immediate danger.  Kind regards,  

Safer Cambs – What happens when I submit an online report?

eCops Logo The Police
Message Type Icon What happens when I submit an online report?
Dear Mandy, In non-urgent instances, we are urging you to utilise our online report forms, where you can tell us about road traffic incidents, domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour, fraud and more.  But what exactly happens when you submit an online report to us? 1 – Report is received  Once a crime is reported through our contact centre, a call taker will complete a THRIVE assessment. This considers the: ·  threat to the individuals involved ·  harm associated to the crime ·  the investigation needed to solve the crime  ·  the vulnerability of the parties involved ·  the level of engagement from the parties involved  2 –  IMU review the report  The investigations management unit (IMU) then review all crime reports that require further investigation. The team will ensure the relevant information has been collected to investigate further. At this point, the IMU may decide to close the case if there is not enough evidence, no willing witnesses or no statements.  If the IMU feel that the crime needs to be investigated further, a crime is raised and a reference number will be given.  3 – Crime is raised  If the crime has the evidence required to investigate, the report will be allocated to an officer and the investigation will begin. We will always get in contact with a victim of crime, but the time in which this takes us to do so can sometimes vary.  You can view our report forms here.   
Message Sent By
Lauren Watchorn
(Police, Digital Marketing Officer, Corporate Communications)


Speeding, ASB and drug dealing remain priorities for South Cambs

Thank you to the residents of South Cambridgeshire who joined us for our online meeting last week. For those who were unable to join us this time around, we heard from the South Cambridgeshire team about what they have been doing to tackle drugs, anti-social behaviour and speeding in the area.

Speeding – We continue to work closely with Community Speedwatch volunteers and our Vision Zero team to carry out targeted speed checks, issue tickets and seize vehicles. If you live in an area of concern for speeding, please report it to us on the website.

Drugs – We’ve charged a man in connection with the supply of drugs to children in Cambourne. Another warrant was carried out in Bassingbourn and cannabis found. We charged a man following the discovery of a cannabis factory in Knapwell and an investigation is ongoing into another cannabis factory in Sawston.  Thank  you for all the information you have shared with us. Please keep sending it to us.

Anti-Social Behaviour – Over the past three months we’ve been engaging with schools and speaking to pupils about ASB. Hot-spot patrols have been carried out across the area. We held a community meeting in Cambourne and have carried out targeted activity. A persistent beggar in Cambourne has also been issued a Criminal Behaviour Order to curtail their behaviour. There’s also ongoing engagement with unauthorised encampments.

Next three months At the end of the meeting we agreed to focus efforts on the below. This will be alongside our daily priorities (which can be viewed here).
Anti-social behaviour – Fen Ditton, Fulbourn, Milton, Waterbeach, Histon and Impington
Drugs – developing intelligence and targeted activity
Speeding – Girton will be a focus but not exclusive

Our very genuine desire is to focus the team on the things that are of the highest risk and concern for you, our residents. The South Cambs Neighbourhood Team will now provide regular updates to these priorities on the force Facebook and Twitter page over the coming weeks and months. We will then look to begin this process again with another meeting held on 1 November. You can register your attendance with us. Thank you for participating in this process. If you have any concerns in the meantime, visit our website.
Inspector Shane Fasey South Cambridgeshire

Podcast: Vulnerable man gave thousands to fraudster he thought loved him

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Message Type Icon Podcast: Vulnerable man gave thousands to fraudster he thought loved him
Dear Mandy Don’t miss the next episode from our latest podcast series… Like many people struggling with loneliness after the breakdown of a relationship, retired dentist Simon Frost, from Soham, turned to the internet looking for company, friendship and possibly love. Sadly, it didn’t work out as he’d hoped. In the second season of the force’s “Cambs Cops: Our Stories” podcast, Simon, who is in his late 70s, speaks openly about the heartbreak of falling victim to a romance scam.  In “I thought she loved me”, released today (16 August), Simon explains how meeting a woman online turned from a dream into a nightmare. He said: “I’d been living in Spain for 30 years when I returned to the UK, leaving my wife and life behind. “I started chatting to people online and it developed from there.  “I just wanted someone I could chat to on a one-to-one basis and be friendly with. I chatted to one woman almost daily and it developed very quickly into showing interest in each other, having conversations about family life etc. “She started asking me for money for a whole host of reasons. I first sent money over for her mother who she said was unwell, which I later discovered obviously wasn’t true.” To date, Simon has transferred more than £30,000 to different people he met online, who he now knows weren’t who they said they were. In the episode, we also speak to one of Cambridgeshire’s cybercrime and fraud prevention officers, Kate Thwaites, who has been helping Simon stay safe online. She said: “Simon’s story is sadly very common. The fraudsters themselves are very sophisticated and often know who to target. They gather evidence over a number of weeks and months and develop a relationship and build trust before asking people for money.  “For many lonely and vulnerable people, the person online may be the only person they chat to all week, so even if they suspect something isn’t quite right, to speak to that person is better than no one, so it can be very difficult to break the cycle. “Some of the key red flags to be aware when speaking to someone online include… ·  Asking you to move onto another platform: Fraudsters often try to move victims onto other platforms and sites to chat, away from the protection and monitoring of a professional dating site  ·  Professional photographs: Often fraudsters will use polished and professional-looking photos on their profiles as they often take them from other areas of the web   ·  Emotive scenarios: When asking you for money, fraudsters will often concoct elaborate or emotive stories, either about an illness, a crisis or perhaps for a business venture or travel costs to come and see you  ·  A reluctance to meet: For obvious reasons, fraudsters often show a reluctance to meet up in person or will let you down at the last minute giving an excuse as to why they couldn’t make it To listen to the podcast episode, or for more information about the new series, visit the force’s dedicated podcast web page. For more on fraud and how to protect yourself from scams, visit the force’s dedicated webpage.  Kind regards,  
Message Sent By
Larissa Chapman
(Police, Communications officer , Corporate Communications)

Scam in Focus – Doorstep crime

Doorstep crime happens when someone comes to your house or doorstep, usually without an appointment, with the sole intention of getting something out of you, whether that be money or information.  No one likes to deal with confrontation, especially when it is on your doorstep, so there is added pressure when someone is at your door. It is much easier to put the phone down on someone than it is to shut the door in their face, which is why some people find doorstep callers much more difficult to deal with than cold-callers on the phone or online.

Action Fraud released figures to say that around £18.7m was scammed on doorsteps, but since many of these crimes go unreported it is likely to be much more than that.

National Trading Standards figures showed that the over- 65s were 85% more likely to be a victim of a doorstep crime. This is because older people might be more likely to be home during the day while their neighbours are out at work, which makes them more isolated, with fewer people around who might be able to intervene.

People buy from so-called Nottingham Knockers on the premise that it is a legitimate scheme for (usually) young people who are just out of prison on probation and that this is part of their rehabilitation back into society and the workforce. However, there is no such scheme and these  young men (and their gang-masters) are considered to be doorstep criminals because, while you are getting goods (albeit over-priced) for your money,  their interactions on the doorstep are used to gather intelligence around addresses which might be good for a subsequent burglary or doorstep approach, information which is then sold on to other criminals, perhaps to some of the doorstep criminals listed below.

Rogue trading is usually associated with people wanting to re-lay your drive way, or pressure wash it, or empty your gutters, but it might even be someone looking like a builder with a sign-written van, saying they had noticed roof tiles had slipped and they had just had a job cancelled and can fit you in today if you want. (Note the rush element: “I am free now”, “today”, “immediately”, implying you will miss out if you don’t say yes.)  They might offer to do it cheaply as they are already in the area.

Unfortunately, the reality can be a number of things:

  • They might have made up the problem, or even caused a problem.
  • They might demand money upfront and not come back and do the work.
  • They might do shoddy work.
  • They might charge a lot more than the job is worth, or that was verbally agreed.

Hard-luck stories can come in many guises , “My car has broken down, can I use your phone?” This was mainly used before everyone owned a mobile phone. “My dog has vanished through the hedge, is it in your garden?” or “I have come over all funny, could I trouble you for a glass of water?”  Of course, you will want to be helpful. However, if the person is working alone, s/he might look to see what valuables you have lying around while you are getting, or taking them to, the phone, or getting a cup of water. If they are working in pairs, the person on the doorstep might keep you talking while an accomplice slips into the house through another door and searches it for a so-called distraction burglary.

The Bogus official scam isn’t much different to the hard-luck stories, it is just another way of gaining your trust. If an official person with a uniform and an ID badge looks to be from the Police or a utility supplier, you might let them in to check something, or read the meter, or answer their questions which will be designed to gain information from you.

The good news is that there are are lots of things people can do to protect themselves!

It is much easier to adopt a policy of not buying or selling on the doorstep and not letting anyone into your home without an appointment. If you are ever unsure, and especially if the caller has become pushy or intimidating, ring 999. 

  • Be on your guard: always be suspicious of anyone turning up at the door uninvited – regardless of their story.
  • Put up a sign: place a sign in the window near your front door saying that uninvited callers are not welcome. “We’re Not Buying It” stickers are available from against-scams@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
  • Keep your home secure: don’t let any stranger into your home. Keep your doors locked with the chain on if you open the door.
  • Look for ID: ask to see callers’ ID cards and call the company to see if they are genuine. To be safe, look up the company number yourself rather than trust the number on their ID card. If you feel uncomfortable or have any doubts, don’t let them in. It is your home. Tell them you are not interested or that now is ‘not convenient’ and ask them to come back at a different time (when you can have a friend or relative with you).
  • Set up a utility’s password: you can set up a password with your gas and electricity providers so that you can be sure callers (such as meter readers) are genuine – only genuine callers will be aware of your password. Call your utility company to arrange this. To activate the service they might need to put you on their Priority Services Register
  • Nominate a neighbour: if you have a relative or friend who lives close by, ask if they would mind being on standby in case you get any suspicious callers. Before letting a stranger into your house, give your neighbour a call and ask them to pop round. If you don’t know anyone nearby, contact your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme or Safer Neighbourhood Team to find out if they can help.
  • Consider smart security devices: smart doorbells incorporate a camera and can enable you to speak to a caller without opening the door; some can also send a message to a relative notifying them that you have a visitor. Find out more in our guide to smart security.
  • Take a photo: if you are suspicious, take a photo of the caller’s van, make a note of the registration number, keep any documentation they provide.

Call the police: if a caller is persistent and refuses to leave, you can call 999. If you are suspicious, but not in immediate danger, call 101, the police non-emergency number.

Unsolicited calls from Alarm Companies

Derbyshire County Council said residents had reported unsolicited calls claiming to be from a community alarm company.

Criminals are asking for a payment, telling people their existing alarm company has gone bust and they have taken over the contract.

Warning after elderly and vulnerable targeted in scam alarm calls – BBC News

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Burglary in South Cambs

Over the past four weeks we’ve recorded 10 burglaries or attempted burglaries in South Cambridgeshire. We’re sure you will agree that is 10 too many. 

The incidents include people entering through open or unlocked windows and doors.

We’re also seeing burglars distracting their victims by pretending they are someone they are not to enter homes.

Be alert to suspicious vehicles or unfamiliar faces and remember that if in doubt, keep them out of your homes.

Keep an eye out for elderly neighbours and work with others in your street to keep a look out for each other’s properties when you are away this summer.

Please take a few moments to have a read through our burglary and distraction burglary crime prevention advice so you can outsmart any potential burglars and keep your home safe and secure.

Kind Regards, Detective Sergeant James Rabbett
Southern Acquisitive Crime Team

WhatsApp Scam

scam warning

WhatsApp Scam

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public about the continued increase in reports about scams where victims are targeted on WhatsApp by criminals pretending to be someone they know – typically their children. 

Between 3rd February 2022 and 21st June 2022, there have been a total of 1235 reports made to Action Fraud linked to this scam, with total reported losses exceeding £1.5mn.

Criminals will usually begin the conversation with “Hello Mum” or “Hello Dad” and will say that they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged. They will then ask for money to purchase a new one, or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.

The criminal will provide bank details for the payment to be made to, with some coming back with further demands for money.  

How to protect yourself:

*STOP. THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person to confirm their identity.

*Ring the old number you have for your family member, several times if necessary to establish their number has changed.  

*Set up a password with your family members, so if you get this message you can ask for the password. Or ask them a question only your family member will know the answer to.  

*You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.

*Never share your account’s activation code (that’s the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)

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