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.

Update: Planned road Closures w/c 1st August 2022 – Amendment

A14 C2H improvement scheme

We’re writing to advise you of an amendment to the day closure in Huntingdon, this coming Saturday (6th) from 8am until 5pm.

The closure of B1514 Brampton Road has been extended and will also include George Street westbound and the A1307 eastbound between B1514 Brampton Road and Pathfinder Link.

While the closure is in place, there will be no access to George Street from the ring road. Access to the A1307 and Huntingdon railway station east car park will be via the ring road and Pathfinder Link.

Kind regards

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme
National Highways | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW
Web: http://www.nationalhighways.co.uk

For all queries relating to the scheme, please email: A14CambridgeHuntingdon@nationalhighways.co.uk

WASP NEST IN ORCHARD

Please be aware that there is a wasp nest in the Orchard. It is located in the ground near the centre of orchard and has been taped off.

The Council have taken advice and have been told to leave them alone as taking action to remove them may well impact and harm the neighbouring bee hives.

Deadline 4th August 2022 – Local Transport and Connectivity Plan – have your say

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is developing a plan – the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) – that will shape the future of transport in our region. We need to tell them what the residents of Willingham would like to see in that plan. You can get further information and a survey form at yourltcp.co.uk or ring 0808 258 3225, or simply email your comments to contact@yourltcp.co.uk. Closing date 4 August.

This document briefly quotes from the draft plan and then describes how it will affect Willingham and the Parish Council’s view on what it should contain.

The Draft Plan

The Vision in the draft plan is:

“A transport network which secures a future in which the region and its people can thrive.

It must put improved public health at its core. It must help create a fairer society. It must respond to climate change targets. It must protect our environment and clean up our air, and it must be the backbone of sustainable economic growth in which everyone can prosper.

And it must bring a region of cities, market towns and very rural areas closer together.

It will be achieved by investing in a properly joined up, net zero carbon transport system, which is high quality, reliable, convenient, affordable, and accessible to everyone. Better cleaner public transport will reduce private car use, and more cycling and walking will support both healthier lives and a greener region. Comprehensive connectivity, including digital improvements, will support a sustainable future for our region’s nationally important and innovative economy.”

 There then follow a series of aims, objectives and strategies that are bland and vague, although one or two nuggets can be picked out:

  • Under the Employment objectives: “connect all new and existing communities sustainably so all residents can easily access a good job within 30 minutes by public transport”.
  • Under Productivity: “better public transport is needed to offer an attractive alternative to using the car. Buses need to be more available, frequent, reliable and affordable.”
  • Under Connectivity:  There will be focus on better linking up of hamlets, villages, market towns and cities with places of work, education and other services. More cycling and walking options will also link villages, towns and cities.

How the draft plan affects Willingham

There are no improvements for Willingham – and the buses are actually worse.

Local strategies are listed for each region and for our region are based on work already done by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) (which covers South Cambs and Cambridge City) on:

  • four new public transport and cycling and walking corridors – Cambourne to Cambridge, Cambridge Eastern Access, Cambridge South East Transport and Waterbeach to Cambridge
  • the future bus network
  • travel hubs (like Longstanton to which our links are very poor),
  • improved cycling and walking, based on the Greenways project

The New Corridors

Willingham’s problem seems to be that the Busway is seen as the solution to public transport for our corridor yet we don’t have access to it!

Bus Network

The new network is described in the GCP’s Making Connections consultation on which the Parish Council has already given its views. Willingham is worse off – only a rural hourly bus, on a loop connecting Swavesey, Papworth Everard, Bar Hill, Longstanton and villages in between. We lose our current direct bus service to Cambridge. There are no direct links to any urban centre or the village college at Cottenham, or to the sixth form colleges in Cambridge.

Willingham is one of the larger villages in South Cambridgeshire with a population approaching 5000, yet the consultant’s report, on which the proposal is based, almost completely disregards it. It is missing from the map showing the existing bus network and from the majority of the maps showing details of the new proposals. It is mentioned only in passing a few times as one of the stops on the rural loop. In its comments on the plan the PC proposed that buses (say two an hour) are diverted from the Busway, as originally promised, to provide direct links to Cambridge and St Ives. Alternatively, we need a 10 minute feeder service to the Busway. We also need direct links to Cottenham and the sixth form colleges.

Cycleways

The GCP’s flagship Greenways project is a wheel of 12 new or improved cycleways that converge on Cambridge. One is along the busway from St Ives, to which we are connected by one inadequate cycleway along Station Road, not due to be upgraded. The Parish Council commented last year on the GCP’s Cycling Plus survey, and in particular the need for links between villages, but have been told that there are no further plans for new cycleways until the huge Greenways project is completed.

Willingham is extremely badly served by cycleways compared to other local villages. It currently has just one – south along Station Road to the guided busway at Longstanton along the very busy B1050. It is welcome and heavily used, but urgently in need of improvement. It is very narrow in places and the shared-use with pedestrians and numerous exits from driveways make it often awkward and even hazardous at times. It also provides access to the fast-growing town of Northstowe.

There is much connectivity between Willingham and surrounding villages so cycleways are also needed in other directions, for employment, leisure and social purposes and to access facilities such as shops. In particular:

East to Rampton. The majority of secondary school pupils at Willingham attend Cottenham Village College, which is also an Adult Education Centre. It is the other side of Rampton and the road between Willingham and Rampton is narrow and winding and carries fast-moving traffic. There is an indirect cycle route via Station Road, the busway and Reynolds Drove but the Station Road part is inadequate as described above, and this route adds over a third to the distance. Another option for a new cycleway is along Iram Drove and Cow Lane, which is an existing backroad but with a very poor surface. Beyond Rampton there is an existing cycleway to Cottenham, which links to other cycleways into Cambridge.

West to Over. Willingham and Over are closely linked and there are numerous trips between them, e.g. Over residents use Willingham library and the Coop and other shops, and facilities.  This contributes to increased traffic in Willingham. The current road is fast and narrow with a semi-blind summit.

North to Earith – this is the only river crossing for 10 km in each direction and opens up connections to all the towns and villages to the North, such as Ely. The current B1050 is very dangerous for cyclists, as it is a speeding blackspot and carries a large number of HGVs. It is due for an upgrade and a cycleway from the centre of Willingham must be part of that project. An alternative is to upgrade the bridle path that runs from West Fen Road to the RSBP reserve.

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

Casp
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)


Follow us on
Twitter| Facebook|Cambridgeshire.gov.uk/against-scams

CCC PCC

Local Transport and Connectivity Plan – have your say – DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is developing a plan – the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) – that will shape the future of transport in our region. We need to tell them what the residents of Willingham would like to see in that plan. You can get further information and a survey form at yourltcp.co.uk or ring 0808 258 3225, or simply email your comments to contact@yourltcp.co.uk. Closing date 4 August.

This document briefly quotes from the draft plan and then describes how it will affect Willingham and the Parish Council’s view on what it should contain.

The Draft Plan

The Vision in the draft plan is:

“A transport network which secures a future in which the region and its people can thrive.

It must put improved public health at its core. It must help create a fairer society. It must respond to climate change targets. It must protect our environment and clean up our air, and it must be the backbone of sustainable economic growth in which everyone can prosper.

And it must bring a region of cities, market towns and very rural areas closer together.

It will be achieved by investing in a properly joined up, net zero carbon transport system, which is high quality, reliable, convenient, affordable, and accessible to everyone. Better cleaner public transport will reduce private car use, and more cycling and walking will support both healthier lives and a greener region. Comprehensive connectivity, including digital improvements, will support a sustainable future for our region’s nationally important and innovative economy.”

 There then follow a series of aims, objectives and strategies that are bland and vague, although one or two nuggets can be picked out:

  • Under the Employment objectives: “connect all new and existing communities sustainably so all residents can easily access a good job within 30 minutes by public transport”.
  • Under Productivity: “better public transport is needed to offer an attractive alternative to using the car. Buses need to be more available, frequent, reliable and affordable.”
  • Under Connectivity:  There will be focus on better linking up of hamlets, villages, market towns and cities with places of work, education and other services. More cycling and walking options will also link villages, towns and cities.

How the draft plan affects Willingham

There are no improvements for Willingham – and the buses are actually worse.

Local strategies are listed for each region and for our region are based on work already done by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) (which covers South Cambs and Cambridge City) on:

  • four new public transport and cycling and walking corridors – Cambourne to Cambridge, Cambridge Eastern Access, Cambridge South East Transport and Waterbeach to Cambridge
  • the future bus network
  • travel hubs (like Longstanton to which our links are very poor),
  • improved cycling and walking, based on the Greenways project

The New Corridors

Willingham’s problem seems to be that the Busway is seen as the solution to public transport for our corridor yet we don’t have access to it!

Bus Network

The new network is described in the GCP’s Making Connections consultation on which the Parish Council has already given its views. Willingham is worse off – only a rural hourly bus, on a loop connecting Swavesey, Papworth Everard, Bar Hill, Longstanton and villages in between. We lose our current direct bus service to Cambridge. There are no direct links to any urban centre or the village college at Cottenham, or to the sixth form colleges in Cambridge.

Willingham is one of the larger villages in South Cambridgeshire with a population approaching 5000, yet the consultant’s report, on which the proposal is based, almost completely disregards it. It is missing from the map showing the existing bus network and from the majority of the maps showing details of the new proposals. It is mentioned only in passing a few times as one of the stops on the rural loop. In its comments on the plan the PC proposed that buses (say two an hour) are diverted from the Busway, as originally promised, to provide direct links to Cambridge and St Ives. Alternatively, we need a 10 minute feeder service to the Busway. We also need direct links to Cottenham and the sixth form colleges.

Cycleways

The GCP’s flagship Greenways project is a wheel of 12 new or improved cycleways that converge on Cambridge. One is along the busway from St Ives, to which we are connected by one inadequate cycleway along Station Road, not due to be upgraded. The Parish Council commented last year on the GCP’s Cycling Plus survey, and in particular the need for links between villages, but have been told that there are no further plans for new cycleways until the huge Greenways project is completed.

Willingham is extremely badly served by cycleways compared to other local villages. It currently has just one – south along Station Road to the guided busway at Longstanton along the very busy B1050. It is welcome and heavily used, but urgently in need of improvement. It is very narrow in places and the shared-use with pedestrians and numerous exits from driveways make it often awkward and even hazardous at times. It also provides access to the fast-growing town of Northstowe.

There is much connectivity between Willingham and surrounding villages so cycleways are also needed in other directions, for employment, leisure and social purposes and to access facilities such as shops. In particular:

East to Rampton. The majority of secondary school pupils at Willingham attend Cottenham Village College, which is also an Adult Education Centre. It is the other side of Rampton and the road between Willingham and Rampton is narrow and winding and carries fast-moving traffic. There is an indirect cycle route via Station Road, the busway and Reynolds Drove but the Station Road part is inadequate as described above, and this route adds over a third to the distance. Another option for a new cycleway is along Iram Drove and Cow Lane, which is an existing backroad but with a very poor surface. Beyond Rampton there is an existing cycleway to Cottenham, which links to other cycleways into Cambridge.

West to Over. Willingham and Over are closely linked and there are numerous trips between them, e.g. Over residents use Willingham library and the Coop and other shops, and facilities.  This contributes to increased traffic in Willingham. The current road is fast and narrow with a semi-blind summit.

North to Earith – this is the only river crossing for 10 km in each direction and opens up connections to all the towns and villages to the North, such as Ely. The current B1050 is very dangerous for cyclists, as it is a speeding blackspot and carries a large number of HGVs. It is due for an upgrade and a cycleway from the centre of Willingham must be part of that project. An alternative is to upgrade the bridle path that runs from West Fen Road to the RSBP reserve.

Scam – Pre-Payment of Fees

Pre-payment of fees scam

The major banks are noticing an increase in the amount of people getting caught out in the latest scam preying on those struggling with the cost of living.  

How it works.

Fake websites attract people who are struggling to make ends meet, who perhaps have a poor credit rating and can’t go to high street lenders.  They are very plausible with their websites and their documentation. However, they will ask for the fees up front, and once the fees are paid, you do not get your loan.

More detail can be found in the Telegraph article in the link below.

Britain’s biggest bank issues ‘urgent warning’ over new scam (telegraph.co.uk)

WhatsApp scam costs victims £1.5 million

eCops Logo Action Fraud (NFIB)
Message Type Icon WhatsApp scam costs victims £1.5 million
Dear Subscriber,   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.     Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said: “If you receive a message like this from a friend or family member, don’t send any money until you’ve had a chance to call them and confirm their identity. Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.”
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.   ·  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)    
Message Sent By
Action Fraud
(Action Fraud, Administrator, National)