The March Meeting 2019
Crime Prevention and Fraud – Les Jackson
Acting President John Turner introduced Les Jackson who was a police sergeant based locally in Teddington and who is now retired. He received the Police Medal at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
Les began his presentation by telling us that he started his campaign just over 4 years ago to prevent the elderly and the vulnerable becoming victims of crime when he became aware of an 82 year-old women who had her life savings stolen as a result of a scam. He subsequently developed a team to go out and speak to the local community about the many manifestations of fraud to which many are vulnerable and about the scammers who prey on people. He told the story of two such people who dressed as nuns in Richmond and who produced pictures of apparently disturbed children asking for contributions to a fund designed to help them.
Increasingly fraud has become a common way for the ungodly to go about stealing money from ordinary people. The criminals can work singly or in groups and devise the most extraordinary strategems involving either face to face encounters or take advantage of the most complex electronic systems which now exist. Financial fraud and online crime is believed to cost about two million pounds every day and there are many ways criminals can take advantage of modern technology to deceive, hack and steal. For example not all Wi-Fi hotspots are secure and online shopping sites can be used by criminals to sell fake goods. The use of online banking is increasing and with it is the need to protect passwords and personal data this includes the use of contactless cards which can be protected by placing in a wallet with an electromagnetic shield.
Les showed three superbly made videos which covered door step scams, telephone call scams and cash machine scams. He also spoke about bogus C I D police officers and the prevention of burglary.
With regard to cash machines people are targeted by criminals who distract users and steal their card or cash. Fraudsters can also fit devices to the machines which trap the bank card, copy the card details and record the pin number. Protection involves being wary of people hovering around the cash point, shielding the pin from prying eyes and reporting anything which appears to be unusual.
He went on to talk about identity fraud in which an individual’s personal details are used to commit crime. This can involve using the stolen information to gain access to bank account funds, savings account or pension. He stressed the need to be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages supposedly from your bank and further asking for personal information particularly requesting dates of birth or passwords. In this category of protection he warned about not opening attachments or clicking on links in unexpected e-mails which can lead to malicious software being downloaded onto your computer.
A popular scam is the door to door fraud in which criminals unexpectedly knock on the door and offer products or services and want payment for goods which are of poor quality and/or are overpriced. Deceptions can include them saying they are/were working near- by and noticed that you need some work doing and as a popular dodge that your roof needs some attention. Les stressed the importance of checking the person’s identity, taking time to consider the options and not paying upfront.
When answering questions Les replied to David Field that special alarms can be placed in pockets which vibrate when disturbed. To Colin Kyte he replied that banks can provide covers for credit cards and he urged members to badger their local councillors and M P’s on the subject of individual security. To David Sagar who was also concerned about the safety of credit cards Les replied that he shares his concern about banks sending out contactless cards without protection and he is launching a campaign to stop the practice.
Dennis Strudwick added to the discussion by telling how his son advertised his car for sale in Auto –Cars for £3000.00 and received a cheque from Ireland for £4000.00. He phoned the sender back telling him he had overpaid to which the fraudster replied he would still like to purchase the car and would he return £1000.00. Dennis’s son contacted the bank and was told no such account existed. To Derek West he replied that there is a purchasable APP by which the telephone is activated by a ring on the door bell. This gives an added level of security as the identity of the caller can be checked before opening the door. Rodney Murray – Jones made the point that banks will give a contactless card which requires the pin number to complete the transaction. Ross Silver said on this point that you have to be persistent as the banks were somewhat reluctant to give this service.
John Turner thanked Les Jackson for having given such a relevant talk which was of great interest to members, and packed with useful detail.
1: Google: Fraud Guidance from PS 3595W Les Jackson ‘Stay Safe’
This site includes the videos: Credit Card Fraud and Bogus Police Phone Scam
2: The Little Book of Big Scams. From your local Metropolitan Police Station
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