There were 88 theft by housebreaking (including attempts) in Annandale & Eskdale between April and December 2018.
Police Scotland offers a free home security survey to anyone who wants to review the security of their home. The survey, carried out by one of our Crime Reduction Officers will give practical and low cost advice on how best to secure your home and could include advice on lighting or CCTV.
To get one of these surveys, call us on 101 and ask to be put through to your local Crime Reduction Officer. We will make an appointment suitable to you to come and carry out the survey.
"By taking basic crime prevention steps, you can help make it harder for thieves. Simple things like always locking and securing your home when leaving it unattended or small changes to lighting or window locks could be all it takes to deter thieves. Working together we can help reduce crime, and ensure that the number of those who experience the trauma of a break-in is kept to a minimum.”
“If something looks out of place, seems a bit unusual or just gives you the feeling that something’s not quite right, then call it in to Police Scotland,” urges Detective Inspector Dean Little.
Over recent weeks we have seen a spike in break-ins to business and homes and we believe this is down to teams of organised travelling criminals from outwith the area. We suspect from our investigations, at least two of these break-ins have been carried out by the same people, who have returned to target Dumfries and Galloway again.
We will continue to work away in the background to identify and bring those responsible to justice, however you can help and that's why I’m asking everyone to pay attention to strange faces or vehicles that they see in their neighbourhood.
Very often those who would break into our homes and property carry out some form of recce of the area prior to carrying out the crime. If you see someone sneaking around, make sure you contact Police Scotland on the 101 number, or if it is an emergency, through the 999 number.
A call to report such behaviour is never a wasted call, and if made at the time, gives our officers a chance to check the matter out there and then, as opposed to learning about it after the crime has been committed.
Criminals may cold call you claiming there are problems with your computer or broadband and they can help you solve them. They often use the names of well-known companies, such as Microsoft, Apple or a broadband provider to sound more legitimate before attempting to take over your computer.
The criminals will ask you to complete a number of actions on your computer, they may even be able to demonstrate an ‘error’. They may instruct you to download a ‘remote access tool’. This gives the criminal access to everything on your computer. They can access and copy your data or download malware onto your computer to monitor what you do in the future. Fraudsters can even access your online banking and transfer money out of your account.
You may also be asked to pay for this ‘assistance’ you have been given. This could be a one off payment or an ongoing direct debit over many months/years. If you do provide payment details they could be used to commit further fraud against you.
How to protect yourself
A genuine computer service company will never call you out of the blue regarding issues with your computer. If you receive a call like this hang up straight away.
Never allow anyone to remotely access to your computer.
If you are having issues with your computer, contact the retailer you purchased it from regarding service or repair. If you are having issues with your internet speeds, contact your service provider for advice and support.
What you need to know Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.
The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.
If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation.
Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.
It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.
What you need to do Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn't mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.
Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.
It is reported that there has been a noticeable increase in vishing frauds against the elderly. Below is a list of recent vishing fraud incidents in Scotland.
1. The victim is contacted by landline or mobile knowing basic details about who they are and who they bank with. The fraudster uses spoofing so the caller phone number matches numbers used by the banks. The fraudster introduces themselves as an employee of the bank and claim there has been suspicious expenditure on their accounts. They convince the victim that they must move their money to ‘safe accounts’ set up for them. The victim thereafter logs into their online banking and transfers all their money into their own current account. From there they are provided with a list of mule accounts and instructed to send the funds to these accounts. Fraudster states the victim will receive new bank cards in the post.
2. Contact with victim as above. Fraudster then states that bank staff in the victim’s local branch are responsible for intercepting people’s money and stealing it. To catch them the fraudster requires the victim to attend the local branch and make transfers to ‘safe accounts’. By doing so they claim they will see the flow of the funds and be able to identify which staff member is responsible. The victim is schooled in how to answer any questions if challenged by bank staff. The following have been used recently:
They are sorting out their financial affairs
The money is for their Grandchildren
The money is for building contractors
It is reinforced that they must not trust anyone in the branch. Fraudsters also warn victims that it is a criminal offence to tell anyone about the contents of the phone calls.
The victim is also told to describe what they are wearing as the fraudster will be monitoring live CCTV footage of within the branch. On occasions they have been told to keep an open line on their mobile phone so the fraudster can monitor what is being said.
Victims have also been told they will receive a four figure sum for assisting with this investigation. On several occasions they have then followed up with calls pretending to be Police Officers. They have used the genuine name of a financial investigator within the police (who has previously made various media releases available on open source).
The successful levels of social engineering can be demonstrated in the following two very recent examples:
A recent vishing fraud resulted in an elderly female attending at a local Bank on three occasions in one afternoon. On each occasion the fraudster even insisted she took taxis and not the bus. In total £36,000 was transferred over the three visits. The victim was only challenged once but provided the answer that the money was for her Grandchildren. The victim thereafter believed a fictitious Police Officer would be attending to take a statement causing a delay in any reporting.
An elderly male was victim of social engineering over a three week period from fraudsters purporting to be from a specific Bank and the FCA. This resulted in him cashing out his investments into Bank accounts. Thereafter he was instructed to attend another Bank branch which wasn’t his local branch. The male was specifically told to go to this other branch with the reason being that Bank staff in his local branch rotate the branches they work in. The male made an international transfer to Dubai of £600,500. He was schooled to lie to Bank staff if he had been challenged.
3. The victim receives a text message on their smart phone claiming to be from PayPal stating their account has been compromised and they have 36 hours to login and fix this. There is a fraudulent internet link on the text message. Victim clicks this link and is taken to a fake PayPal page where they ultimately unwittingly provide the fraudsters with their PayPal details.
The victim is later called using spoofing technology. The fraudster claims to be from a Fraud Team of their bank and question fictitious spending at Argos (or similar). The fraudster thereafter states the victim’s account has been compromised via PayPal and they must move their money to a safe account. The victim thereafter is talked through how to do this via online banking. At this stage, the fraudster may have gained remote viewing access to the victim’s computer via spyware. The fraudster may go through direct debits and recent expenditure on the victim’s account. The victims bank account names on their online banking app had also been changed to ‘locked’ or ‘closed’, further suggesting remote access.
Requests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Criminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and revealing security details. Remember, criminals can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification they are genuine.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions. A genuine bank or some other trusted organisation won’t rush you or mind waiting if you want time to think.
Listen to your instincts If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.
Stay in control Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
If you’ve taken all these steps and still feel uncomfortable or unsure about what you’re being asked, never hesitate to contact your bank or financial service provider on a number you trust, such as the one listed on their website or on the back of your payment card
The following has been circulated on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre via the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Team.
NCSC deals with 1,100 cyber attacks in first two years
On its second anniversary, the NCSC has revealed it has defended the UK from an average of more than 10 attacks per week
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) handled more than 10 attacks per week in first two years
NCSC believes hostile nation states behind majority of cyber incidents
Active Cyber Defence reduces UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half
NCSC’s flagship conference CYBERUK to be held in Glasgow in 2019
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has defended the UK from an average of more than 10 attacks per week, it has been revealed on their second anniversary.
The NCSC, a part of GCHQ, has now published its second annual review which highlights the sustained threat from hostile state actors and cyber criminals.
Since it became fully operational in 2016, the NCSC’s cyber security front line has helped to support with 1,167 cyber incidents – including 557 in the last 12 months. The report reveals the majority of attacks against the UK are carried out by hostile nation states.
The Annual Review gives unprecedented detail about the tactics used by the NCSC’s Incident Management team, who work behind the scenes to co-ordinate defences to support UK victims when attacks do get through.
For the first time, the NCSC is giving a glimpse into the work against the ongoing cyber threat in a podcast, “Behind the scenes of an incident”, which features interviews with a range of staff who defend the UK from cyber attacks.
The NCSC takes a proactive approach to securing the UK’s online defences. The pioneering Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative aims to protect the UK from high-volume commodity attacks that affect people’s everyday lives.
Since its launch, Active Cyber Defence (ACD) has reduced the UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half; from 5.3% to 2.4%. Between September 2017 and August 2018, the service has removed 138,398 phishing sites hosted in the UK.
Links to the key products on NCSC website are below:
Police have noted an increase in fake TV licensing refund scams. The email usually states that the refund cannot be processed due to “invalid account details”. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
- Check the email contains your name – TV licensing will always include your name in any emails they send you.
- Check the email subject line - anything along the lines of "Action required", "Security Alert", "System Upgrade", "There is a secure message waiting for you", and so on, should be treated as suspect.
- Check the email address - does the email address look like one that TV Licensing use? For example email@example.com. Look closely as often the address may be similar.
- Check for a change in style - often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.
- Check for spelling and grammar - are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
- Check the links go to the TV Licensing website - hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.
- Never provide details by email - TV licensing will never ask you to reply to an email and provide bank details or personal information.
Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to sell services, make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.
We DO NOT recommend dealing with cold-callers for property maintenance and home repairs.
POLICE WARNING – PHONE SCAM - DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
Officers in Dumfries and Galloway are warning members of the public to be on their guard against a telephone scam where victims are being contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from either their bank or from Police Scotland.
So far 2 people in the Newton Stewart and Stewartry area have contacted police after being duped by fraudsters into moving money from their account to another one provided to them by the scammer. On each occasion the caller claims there has been fraudulent activity on their account but that it may be a bank employee that is involved so not to go to the bank or the police about it.
The first call involved a 76 year old man who has now lost a four figure sum of money to the criminals.
The other was picked up by the bank before the victim lost out.
Enquiries are ongoing in relation to these incidents but officers are keen to make members of the public aware of these circumstances.
Constable Tom Dingwall, Castle Douglas Police Station, said:
“We are highlighting this scam so that people are aware of it. If you think you are receiving any suspicious calls, just hang up on the person. Unfortunately, those committing this type of fraud are quite innovative and use words and phrases which are likely to hook their victim. Our advice is, do not give out any personal information or bank details over the phone and always, stop, think and check with a friend, relative or neighbour before taking any action.”
Any victims of such crimes, or anyone with any concerns can contact their local police station via 101.
Following a recent increase in specific reports from NWS members across Scotland of apparent SCAM attempts from cold callers purporting to be from BT / BT Openreach and attempting to gain personal details and remote access to home computers we are highlighting the following:
These callers suggest there is an issue with the line / internet connectivity or that the service may be withdrawn due to non-payment. The fraudsters then attempt to gain remote access to the computer by asking you to perform certain commands on the computer or they may ask you to make payments over the phone by providing personal information.
These fraudsters may also “spoof” the number they are calling from so that if you dial 1471 you might see a fictitious number that masks the real destination number. They may also offer a call back number to confirm legitimacy of their call and then answer as if you calling BT.
Be suspicious of cold callers relating to security or computer problems even if the caller claims to be from a recognised company
If unsure, end the conversation. Call the alleged company later using number from official website or literature.
Don’t give out personal information on the phone to someone you don’t know
Don’t follow any instruction to type anything into a computer, install software, visit a website or click on a link
Seek advice from friends or family
Don’t agree to sign up for anything, give someone your home address, bank or credit card details and under no circumstances let the caller take control of your computer. (This gives them full control of your computer and ultimately access to your personal information)
If you use a shared computer – be security conscious. Remember, each time you exit your account you should sign out completely by clicking the log off (sign out) link. This means any user following you won’t be able to access your account
BT offer a network service that deals with nuisance and unwanted calls and provides customers the control to block such calls called BT Call Protect
There are other call blocker products available such as True Call etc.
If you have been a victim or suspect you have been a victim of a SCAM contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 or call on Police Scotland on 101
The following advice was recently published in the finance section of a National newspaper. It lists 6 important points worthy of highlighting:
Bevigilant. It is a chore but checking your bank statements regularly is essential. Call the bank if unsure about a transaction. Also use a credit checking agency for a one-off free check to ensure no one is using your personal information to set up loans. Agencies include Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
Stay safe with anti-virus software. Although it can be free, consider paying approximately £40 a year for security covering a variety of gadgets. Do not be tempted by “pop-up windows” offering security – these can be a scam. Accept security software updates as they provide ongoing protection.
Usea strong password for any online accounts. Picture imaging can help for codes but also consider password manager software.
Do not share personal information. Social media may be fun but it is a great place for fraudsters to obtain your private details – photos, birthdays,holidays – that when pieced together can compromise your financial security
Be wary of public wi-fi. Fruadsters can hack into it – often offered in cafes or train – to see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone. Be wary of making payments or accessing bank details when unsure of a connection. Some fraudsters even mimic public wi-fi to get your details.
Do not trust websites without first checking the suffix. Fraudsters can steal details and money through bogus websites. They may look official but the final letters often give a clue with regards to authentication. Some fraudulent sites have used ‘co.com’ suffix when the real one is ‘co.uk’. The prefix is worth checking out too. An ‘https’ prefix shows a website that is more secure than one that starts with just ‘http’. The code ‘https’ stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol secure’
Following an increase in this specific Scam, Action Fraud have posted the following advice.
Pension scammers promise to convert pension funds into cash before retirement, or in some cases they may suggest people can take more than 25% of their pension pot as cash. Pension fraudsters promise to convert pension benefits into cash before age 55.
Criminals are believed to be fraudulently exploiting the pension liberation process in a number of ways. These include failing to advise members of the tax implications of receiving cash from their pension; failing to advise members of the full extent of fees to be paid in relation to any onward investment; falsely representing anticipated levels of returns when investments are either non – existent or incapable of providing such a return.
The scammers have a variety of tricks to catch you out. They may:
claim that you can access your pension pot before age 55
approach you out of the blue over the phone, via text message or in person door-to-door
entice you with upfront cash
offer a free ‘pension review’ or try to lure you in with so-called ‘one-off’ investment opportunities.
Check the facts before you make an irreversible decision. A lifetime’s savings can be lost in a moment.
The Pensions Regulator’s five steps to avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam:
Cold called about your pension - just hang up!
Check the credentials of the company and any advisers – who should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement, and question who will look after your money until then.
Speak to an adviser that is not associated with the deal you’ve been offered, for unbiased advice.
Never be rushed into agreeing to a pension transfer.
Adult Support and Protection Campaign - “Seen Something? Say Something”
Adult harm can take many forms from neglect, physical, psychological, sexual or financial exploitation.
Adults particularly at risk of harm are those who may not be able to look after themselves through factors such as personal circumstances, physical or learning disability, age or illness and infirmity.
Act on your suspicions or instincts if you think an adult is being harmed, neglected or exploited.
It only takes an email or an anonymous phone call to your local social work department to report it, and they will investigate it sensitively
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud.
Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;
- Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
- Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence.
- A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.
Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.
At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.
Your bank or the police will never:
- Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
- Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud.
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud
Stay in control
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
For more information about how to protect yourself online visit
There has been a sharp rise in fraudsters sending out fake text messages (smishing) and phishing emails claiming to be from TSB. The increase in the number of reports corresponds with the timing of TSB’s computer system update, which resulted in 1.9 million users being locked out of their accounts. Opportunistic fraudsters are using TSB’s system issue to target people with this type of fraud.
Since the start of May there have been 321 phishing reports of TSB phishing made to Action Fraud. This is an increase of 970% on the previous month. In the same reporting period, there have been 51 reports of cybercrime to Action Fraud which mention TSB – an increase of 112% on the previous month.
Fraudsters are commonly using text messages as a way to defraud unsuspecting victims out of money. Known as smishing, this involves the victim receiving a text message purporting to be from TSB. The message requests that the recipient clicks onto a website link that leads to a phishing website designed to steal online banking details.
Although text messages are currently the most common delivery method, similar communications have been reported with fraudsters using email and telephone to defraud individuals.
In several cases, people have lost vast sums of money, with one victim losing £3,890 after initially receiving a text message claiming to be from TSB. Fraudsters used specialist software which changed the sender ID on the message so that it looked like it was from TSB. This added the spoofed text to an existing TSB message thread on the victim’s phone.
The victim clicked on the link within the text message and entered their personal information. Armed with this information, the fraudsters then called the victim back and persuaded them to hand over their banking authentication code from their mobile phone. The fraudsters then moved all of the victim’s savings to a current account and paid a suspicious company.
Don’t assume an email or text is authentic:
Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).
Clicking on links/files
Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email. Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.
If you have received a suspicious TSB email, please do not respond to it, report it to us https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing and also forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Report Matters. If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware for more information about how to protect yourself online.