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Advice

Here we bring you the latest advice on keeping you and your home safe.

Thousands of people in the UK are likely to be falling victim to sextortion every year, according to the National Crime Agency and National Police Chiefs Council.

Sextortion is a form of blackmail where criminals use fake identities to befriend victims online and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam. These webcam images are recorded by the criminals who then threaten to share them with the victims’ friends and family unless they are paid. Sometimes there are escalating requests for further payment. At least four suicides in the UK have been linked to this form of blackmail.

The NCA’s Anti-Kidnap and Extortion Unit (AKEU) has been alerted by police forces to 864 cases of financially motivated webcam blackmail so far in 2016*, more than double the figure from the whole of the previous year (385). Officers believe there is likely to be significant under-reporting and that actual numbers are much higher.

Victims in the NCA cases are aged between 14 and 82, with the highest proportion being men aged between 21 and 30, and with a substantial proportion in the 11-20 age group.

In response to the increase, the NCA and NPCC have launched a new campaign to give advice to those who have been, or are likely to be, targeted.

The campaign includes a film aimed at the most vulnerable victims, helping them to recognise a potential criminal approach and providing online advice, including the importance of reporting the crime to their local police.

Advice for victims
DON’T PANIC - The police will take your case seriously, will deal with it in confidence and will not judge you for being in this situation. You are not alone. 

DON’T PAY - Many victims who have paid have continued to get more demands for higher amounts of money. In some cases, even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go on to post the videos. If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected. If it has, and if you are able, then make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn't, cancel the payment.

DON’T COMMUNICATE further with the criminals. Take screen shots of all your communication. Suspend your Facebook account (but don’t delete it) and use the online reporting process to report the matter to Skype, YouTube etc. to have any video blocked and to set up an alert in case the video resurfaces. Deactivating the Facebook account temporarily rather than shutting it down will mean data is preserved and will help police to collect evidence.

PRESERVE EVIDENCE - Make a note of all details provided by the offenders and DO NOT DELETE ANY CORRESPONDENCE.

And finally, remember, you are the victim of organised criminals, you are not alone and confidential support is available.

 

Crime prevention advice issued following thefts from outbuildings in East Hampshire.

This is a message sent via Hampshire Alert. This information has been sent on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)
Message sent by James Pusey (Police, Corporate Communications, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight)

Officers across East Hampshire are reminding residents to keep their outbuildings secure.

In the last fortnight 31 non-dwelling burglaries have been reported across the district where outbuildings, which have sometimes been insecure, have been targeted by thieves. For example one incident on Standford Lane in the Bordon area saw two chainsaws taken from a stable building at some point between October 14 and 24.

As the nights are getting darker over the winter we'd like to take this opportunity to remind you of the following crime prevention advice:

General home and outbuilding security

• Keep the boundaries of your property well-maintained and secure to keep out unwanted visitors
• Ensure all doors and windows are shut and locked when not in use.
• Ensure windows and door frames are in good repair.
• Fit adequate locks to sheds, garages and outbuildings and consider fitting shutters or grilles to windows, or blocking them completely
• Fit good quality window locks
• Consider fitting a monitored home intruder alarm
• Check security equipment regularly to ensure it works properly.

Security lighting

• Install automatic security lights that come on at dusk and go off at dawn.
• Help make your property look occupied by fitting timer switches to lamps in different rooms and set them to come on at staggered times.
• Make sure the manufacturer's instructions are adhered to at all times when using electrical security devices.

CCTV and intruder alarms

• Consider installing CCTV to provide formal surveillance to the most vulnerable areas of the property.
• Consider installing an audible and monitored intruder alarm system.

Equipment security

• Leave vehicles out of sight when not in use.
• Vehicles and plant equipment should be locked when left outside and the keys kept in your possession or in a locked key safe.
• Consider the use of hitch locks, wheel clamps or ground anchors. You may require a combination of the above to meet insurance requirements.

Security marking

• All property, including vehicles and tools, should be uniquely marked, photographed and details such as serial, chassis and model numbers recorded.

The purpose of marking property is:

• To reduce the payoff to the thief – traceable property may be more difficult to sell on
• To increase the likelihood of identifying property as stolen – thereby assisting prosecution
• To increase the likelihood of re-uniting property with the owner

There are a number of methods for marking property effectively.

• Covertly – for example through use of Forensic DNA marker as liquid, gel or grease; UV pen; tracking or tagging technology; micro-marking.
• Overtly – by engraving/chemical etching; labels; postcoding or use of bar codes.

 

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

Subcategories

Here we list links to our collection of articles on advice to help keep you and your home safe and secure.