On an ongoing note there continues to be a number of fraudulent scams reported purporting to be from organisations such as British Telecom, HMRC, TV Licencing and High Street Banks to name a few.
The below advice from Action Fraud gives details of how not to get caught out by scammers and contact information.
1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
2. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.
3. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you're not sure.
4. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.
5. You should regularly get a copy of your credit file and check it for entries you don't recognise. Callcredit, Equifax and Experian can all provide your credit file. An identity protection service such as ProtectMyID monitors your Experian credit report and alerts you by email or SMS to potential fraudulent activity. If its fraud, a dedicated caseworker will help you resolve everything.
6. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don't need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
7. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things that you haven't bought, or financial institutions you don't normally deal with or contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.
Stay in control, destroy your receipts and posts with you name on. If you receive a bill, invoice, or receipts for things you haven't brought or normally deal with, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.
8. Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.
9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you've already lost.
10. If you need advice about fraud or cybercrime contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
How heating oil is stolen
In order to steal heating oil, thieves will usually decant, syphon or pump oil from your tank into other containers. Thieves might use this oil themselves, or sell it on. There have even been reports of criminals selling stolen oil back to the victim.
Opportunistic thieves might target tanks that they spot while out and about, whereas more organised criminals use tools such as Google Maps to identify homes with oil tanks in their gardens. Another tactic used by would-be thieves is following oil delivery vehicles in order to identify homes with full tanks.
Data from police forces across England suggests heating oil theft is most prevalent in the first three months of the year when tanks are likely to be full and the days are short. However, thefts occur year-round, so it pays to be vigilant at all times.
Choosing the right heating oil tank
When it comes to security, steel tanks offer a more robust storage solution when compared to plastic tanks. That's because plastic tanks can be easily drilled into in order to syphon off oil. Steel tanks are also heavier, and therefore more difficult to remove from your premises.
Locating your heating oil tank
When you are installing a heating oil tank, you need to find a balance between convenience, aesthetics and security while ensuring you are complying with all applicable regulations -- you can find out more about the applicable regulations on the OFTEC.
Installing your heating oil tank above ground outdoors
Most heating oil tanks are stored above ground outdoors.
To maximise security in this scenario, you should place your tank as far away from the road as possible. You don't want opportunistic thieves to spot your tank while driving by, nor do you want to facilitate a quick getaway.
Ideally, your heating oil tank should be visible from inside your home. The potential of being spotted is a huge deterrent for thieves. For more tips, see our section on securing your outdoor heating tank below.
Oil tank cages
Probably not suitable for everyone due to the amount of space they take up, but perhaps the best form of security available, an oil tank cage creates an extra physical barrier for thieves. It should fully enclose your tank while leaving enough room for maintenance and deliveries, and be bolted or concreted to the ground. Find out more about the best padlock to use below.
The Fireworks Act makes it an offence to:
Fireworks and bonfires can be a lot of fun but if not handled properly they can be dangerous. Always follow the fireworks code and keep yourself and others safe.
When buying fireworks look for the safety standard — BS7114 and check whether they are for use indoors, in their garden or for display.
The Fireworks Safety Code
#GOING ON HOLIDAY
Everyone needs a holiday some time but we all want to come home and find everything as we left it.
Almost half the burglaries happen when a flat or house is empty.
By following the tips set out here, you can help to make your home secure while you are away. Read the tips and plan ahead and tick off the items before you go.
Before you go
And just before you set off it's worth spending a couple of minutes checking that you've done everything you need to.
Help from neighbours
It's a good idea to get help from your neighbours. You could ask them to collect post, sweep up leaves, mow the lawn, open and close curtains, and so on. They could even occasionally park their cars on your driveway. Anything to make the place look lived in.
You can repay the favour by doing the same for them. Warn your neighbours not to put your surname, address or even your house number on your keys in case they fall into the wrong hands.
Let your neighbours know when you will be away and. If you can, give them details so they can contact you, or someone who can act on your behalf, in case of an emergency.
Most people that call on you at home will be honest and genuine in their purpose and needs, but on the odd occasion somebody will turn up unannounced with the intention of tricking their way into your house. Distraction burglars will often distract you at the front door whilst another will sneak into your property by the back. Rarely do people pop round unexpectedly anymore.
If the gas board calls to read the meter they will likely phone ahead or leave a card. Bogus work people may attend and claim that they are there to check on water or gas and some offer to repair your roof. Some call at properties and offer tarmacking or to clean your blocked paving and to cut trees down and if allowed into your property some may use the opportunity to steal from you. If you choose to have work done, never pay the work up front in cash. Victims usually find that they have had money or possessions stolen from inside their home and in many instances only realise they have been duped at some time after the crime has been committed.
So when the doorbell rings, always first check who it is before deciding whether to answer it. Use a spy-hole in the door or peep through a window to check who is at your door. If you are unsure open the front door with a chain fastened. If the person at the door claims to be an official, a salesman, or a tradesman then don't be afraid of asking them questions to prove their identity. If they claim to be from a company then the company name and contact the company to confirm their visit.
If you are suspicious then don't hesitate and contact the police on 101 or in an emergency 999.
Transporting agricultural machinery from one field to another via public roads is a necessity for most farmers. Whether it involves moving produce during the harvest season or relocating heavy equipment from one field to another, the only way to do this is by road. However, due to their size and slow moving nature, this can be hazardous to both agricultural vehicles and other road users.
Each year, incidents involving tractors and other farm machinery occur on public roads which can cause costly equipment damage, injuries and deaths to all groups of road users. In past years numerous people have been injured in road collisions involving agricultural vehicles in Cheshire.
Statistics have shown the group of road users most at risk from agricultural vehicles to be motorcyclists. In past years motorcyclists have been involved in road collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.
All motorists must take responsibility for ensuring their own and each other's safety were agricultural vehicles are involved.
Advice and the law — Mud on the road
Farmers are responsible for cleaning mud off the road dropped on public roads by their own vehicle and livestock.
Mud can be a significant hazard to other motorists, particularly motorcyclists, and can result in serious, even fatal collisions.
Allowing traffic past when causing a tailback
It is inevitable that slow-moving vehicles will cause a tailback on public roads but it is important for the driver tom pull over and allows traffic to pass at the earliest opportunity.
Frustrated motorists may become impatient and attempt to overtake when it is not safe. They do this at their own risk.
Lights should be kept clean and in good working order to make sure that other road users can see the intended movements of the vehicle.
Amber warning beacons
Amber warning beacons can be fitted to tractors which are not capable of exceeding 25 mph to alert other motorists to the presence of a slow moving vehicle. Under certain circumstances it may be a legal requirement.
Whilst Cheshire is a very safe place to live, work and visit there are occasions when unscrupulous people commit crime which are often undertaken when a criminal sees an opportunity.
There are simple measures you can take to reduce risk of becoming a victim of crime which help to keep both you, your family and the rural community safe.
What can I do to prevent myself becoming a victim of crime?
Many people take great care when securing their homes but pay little attention to the security of their sheds, garages or outbuildings that are often used to store valuable property.
Ensure your shed is in good condition and would stand up to a security test. If not, take steps to improve it or don't leave valuable items such as lawn mowers, golf clubs and bicycles inside.
Secure your shed
Much of the advice for garden sheds also applies to garages. In addition you should consider fitting:
As well as making your property secure as you can also make it difficult for a thief to get it. Here are some simple steps: