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Alert message sent 16/11/2020 15:38:00

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I hope you are all well and keeping warm.

In the ideal world friends, neighbours and family will be the people that are turned to in these times but this is not always the case.. One of my increasing concerns is mental health so please can I ask you to share the 24/7 mental health helpline for Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Adults: 0800 783 0119 or 01865 904 997 Children and young people: 0800 783 0121 or 01865 904 998.
Also Samaritans 116 123 - no one should suffer in silence and being heard can make the world of difference. 

Active Oxfordshire  https://www.activeoxfordshire.org is also an excellent website for physical wellbeing.

Unsolicited text messages  seem to be an increasing nuisance. You can  register from your mobile phone by texting 'TPS' and your email address to 85095 and this should curtail/stop these.

As a Neighbourhood Watch member you will get further information - please can I ask Coordinators to share any local information with their members. If you are not a member but receive Alerts you can join through the link on your accounts and still receive these Alerts. Becoming a Neighbourhood Watch member builds your community resilience and cohesion in your neighbourhood building on the goodwill that has built  during the pandemic. 

There are multitudinous scams.I have included recent useful information (lengthy but useful) from Trading Standards. Please could you share with friends, neighbours and family,

Please can I draw  your attention to the last link to Friends Against Scams -it is an excellent website and includes a section for people who have been repeatedly scammed.

Stay safe from scams as well as from Covid19,
Any queries, please use reply button at bottom of the Alert.

Maggie

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The County Council has again warned residents to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the pandemic. 

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team has received numerous reports of scams targeting people by email, text messages, and on the doorstep.

There are many genuine community efforts to help residents; to provide good quality advice and support. But unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unprecedented situation.

Jody Kerman, Head of Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards, said:
“Scams come in many different guises so, before taking any action or agreeing to an offer: Stop, ‘take five’, and discuss with a trusted friend or family member.”

Listen to more scam awareness advice from Jody on Witney Radio https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&light=1&autoplay=1&feed=%2Fwitneyradio%2Fwitney-radio-community-matters-trading-standards%2F

Here are some of the scams trading standards are aware of:

Remember, criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:
Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19.
People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details.
There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
People offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
People offering home cleaning services.
Remember: Banks or the police will never ask for account details over the phone.
Claiming to be collecting money for charities.
Tips to avoid being scammed:
Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it, or shut the door.
Take your time; do not be rushed into making a decision that you will probably regret.
If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone is trying to tempt you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine.
Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if unsure.
If online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Type-out email addresses. Don’t click on links in emails.
Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
Protect your financial information, especially from people you do not know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
Know who you are dealing with. If you need help, talk to someone you know or use contact numbers provided below (scroll down).
Charity collectors and how to check if they are genuine:
Check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.
Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.
Exercise the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online. Visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself.
Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with, to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion.
Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company.
Contact information:
If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040.
If you need advice, call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133.
If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
Contact your bank if you think you have been financially scammed.
Age UK runs a telephone support service (for older people and carers): 01865 411288.
Business advice:
Scam advice for Businesses here - https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/businesses-in-oxfordshire-warned-to-protect-against-covid19-scams/

Friends Against Scams:
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.
Message sent by
Maggie Lewis (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, Oxford LPA)

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