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PACT means "Police And Communities Together", an initiative between the police, local councils and neighbourhoods, which has been set up to try to tackle policing issues that matter to local people. The PACT group which covers Whinfield is administered by the North Road Beat Team, which also collectively oversees nearby Haughton ward.

Meetings for our community take place on the last Wednesday of the month at 6pm in Rockwell House, Littlebeck Drive and residents are invited to attend The business discussed overlaps a little with the work of the WRA, but is approached from the point of view of setting priorities to tackle crime. Recent issues addressed include anti-social behaviour, illegal use of motorbikes, littering, speeding motorists, dog fouling and illegal parking.

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Whinfield Residents Association

(Incorporating The Friends Of Beech Wood)


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From attending public groups, reading Action Fraud data and from speaking with people in my role as Fraud Investigator, including at great events put on by Natwest within County Durham, it is clear that fraudsters are continuing to target people via telephone (and other methods) in our communities on a daily basis. They are continuing to evolve and use technology and one of the latest trends is 'TEXT SPOOFING'. More of this later. In Durham we give you the prevention advice to tackle the enablers of fraud, that is, your home telephone, the mail through your door, your computer (including social media) and your text messages.

Home Telephone. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be your bank, your broadband supplier, your phone supplier , energy supplier , HMRC, police, then simply HANG UP ON FRAUD, saying: 'Sorry I do not do business on the phone'. This is simple advice and WILL help stop you losing thousands of pounds. Fraudsters are pretending to be from Banks, the Police, HMRC, Engineers, your phone line suppliers etc., so BE SUSPICIOUS AND HANG UP!! Fraudsters can keep a phone line open, so if the person asks you to call them back, even if you hear a dial tone then you could still be connected to the fraudster. Always wait 5 mins after a call and follow the advice below. You can check whether you have control of your phone line by calling a family member or friend, a voice you recognise. If you get through this means you have control of you phone and then can ring the number you have for police (101), your bank (from bank card or statement), broadband supplier (number from statement). Never call the number you were given over the phone or via a text message without following these simple steps first.

Computer. I know of one trick where fraudsters pretending to be your phone/broadband company tell you they will give compensation and then claim to make an overpayment to your bank account, in reality they are stealing the victims money from their savings account and making it look like an overpayment. They do this as they ask you (the person taking the phone call) to press some keys on your computer keyboard so they can fix your internet or a virus on your computer. NEVER PRESS THE WINDOWS KEY and 'R', this grants a person you do not know full access to your computer, then they can see what you see, they can access all your files and they can infect your computer with viruses, including malware that can steal your passwords. You should not be getting this far into a conversation if you simply 'HANG UP ON FRAUD' - ' I do not do business on the phone'.

Text spoofing. Some people receive text message from their banks, we can keep these text threads open and quite often we then trust that this is from who it says e.g your bank. Fraudsters can and ARE hijacking these threads and sending a text that looks like it is from the bank. They may claim there is a fraud alert on your account and then ask you to call a number or click a link and log into internet banking. The link is to a cloned site and you could then give away your personal details and passwords used for banking. The phone number given will have also directly connected to fraudsters, who sound like the bank, and will talk you through the security questions and obtain your banking details. Just as worrying , if not more so, is that I am aware of fraudsters using a number using this method that diverts the call to the real banking Fraud Dept. The fraudsters then listen in via technology and record what is being said and keyed in during that call. This exposes the customer and the banks to a massive risk of loss.

Clearly we are still being targeted, so the mission I pass to you who read this is to open up conversation about this with friends, family and colleagues. Tell about what fraudsters are doing. I know of people who have lost in excess of 10,000 in our County. Sometimes this is done by the fraudster being friendly and manipulating the victim (they may already know your name and account number from other sources).

BE AWARE - never call a number given to you in a text from a business, never click a link from a similar text. Source your own phone number from a trusted method or call in at the bank. You may just have stopped yourself losing money. Talk to people and pass this message on and you will help make Durham safer: Durham Tackling Fraud together. If you feel you may have been targeted by fraudsters then report it to Action Fraud or call 101 for advice from your local police.

A message from Tony Murray (Police Officer, Durham):

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