Scams update

Theft of Bikes and Home Burglaries via GPRS Tracking
Bikes are being stolen, by means of thieves making use of GPRS tracking websites.  These websites are meant to aid people who want to improve their cycling, either for fitness, recreational use or to meet specific personal goals. GPRS tracking is a means whereby you can “track” how much you cycle, how often and how long it takes you. It is all done via satellite and the cyclist records the information using a SmartPhone.   A lot (though by no means all) of these tracking websites have a “share” feature, whereby you can share your cycling statistics with other users of the site.  It is relatively easy for anyone who has signed up to the website, with a disposable email address and other fake details, to see exactly where you went and when. Your Start and Finish location is almost always your home, so the potential thief knows where you live.  Most of these sites show your Public Profile, which usually includes details of your bike. This helps the thief to decide whether your bike is worth stealing. Most of these sites show who is cycling “right now”, so thieves can easily see when your home is empty.  Google Streetview can then be used to zoom in on your house and see how access can be gained easily and quickly. Most modern bikes are worth a lot of cash in Cash Convertors or on Auction websites, such as Ebay.

So, how do you stay safe while using a GPRS Tracking website?  Check that your tracking is not automatically turned on when you step outside your own front door. Do this by reviewing your settings on your App.

Don’t share your information or your movements with “Default” or “All”. Only share your bike and details with people you know personally. Again, check your App.

A good example of the above can be found at

Second Chance Scam from ebay
Another scam target back in the news is the online auctioneer eBay. As fast as they try to eliminate one crooked trick, another one seems to pop up.  In one of the latest scams, losing bidders receive an email that pretends to come from eBay, saying the winning bid has fallen through and offering them a “second chance” to buy the item.  eBay does indeed have a genuine Second Chance Option for the next highest bidder if the winner doesn’t come through with the payment.  Somehow, scammers seem to be getting hold of the identities of these runners-up and offering them a non-existent chance to buy by sending payment directly to them, usually to an overseas bank.

In an online statement eBay says: “These scams occur through personal email, off the eBay site.  “Always start and end your transaction on eBay. Consumers should keep in mind that legitimate Second Chance Offers are facilitated through eBay and will appear in the ‘Messages’ section of ‘My eBay.’   “If you’re suspicious about an email that claims to be from eBay, sign in to ‘My eBay’ and click the ‘Messages’ tab. If you don’t see the same message there, the email is fake.”

Car Insurance Scam
Drivers have been warned by anti-fraud experts about a new car insurance scam known as ‘flash for cash’. The scam involves criminals flashing their lights at a junction to indicate it is safe for a car to pull out – then crashing into them on purpose.  The scam, thought to be costing insurers millions of pounds each year, sees vulnerable drivers or those driving newer cars targeted.   It is the latest scam development, following the now well-known ‘crash for cash’ scam whereby drivers slam on their brakes without warning, forcing the driver behind to crash into them.

Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police told the BBC that once someone has fallen victim to the scam, criminal gangs will then put in a false personal injury claim for whiplash – often boosting their claim by including people who were not even in the car at the time of the incident.  The criminals are also charging insurance companies for loss of earnings, as well as adding fake bills for vehicle recovery, repairs, and even replacement car hire.  “The problem is a growing problem,” Hindmarsh told the BBC. “Financially it costs insurers £392m a year – that impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium so that’s a financial cost.

The flash for cash warning initially came from the Asset Protection Unit (APU), an advisory group that liaises with the police as well as the insurance industry to help investigate fraud.  The Highway Code states that motorists should not assume that someone flashing their lights “is a signal inviting you to proceed”. Criminals prey on the fact that most drivers do perceive a flash of headlights as an invitation.

AA Insurance said flash for cash is “far from a victimless crime”. Director Simon Douglas says insurers are concerned that criminal activity of this sort is ultimately paid for by honest motorists as the cost of dealing with fraud and injury affects premium prices.   Source:  Moneywise newsletter

070 calls
Do not phone back the number as you will pay for an expensive premium rate call.   I have recently been getting a lot of different 070 calls on my mobile and the phone only rings for a short time then cuts off.   I would never call an 070 number back as it is expensive but I am sure this is what they are hoping people will do and they make money out of all the calls.

Not a delivery – a takeaway!
A delivery company phones and asks if you are going to be in as they have a parcel for you. Within the hour a driver appears with a basket of flowers and a bottle of wine, has no idea who it’s from but that there is going to be a card to follow. He asks for £3.40 so he can prove the delivery has been made to an adult as there is alcohol in it. He cannot take cash as he has to have proof that it has been delivered so he produces a hand held card reader. You put your card in and type the PIN and get a receipt from the machine for the £3.40.  A couple of days later your account has been cleared of money.  Unless you know who it is from beware of unexpected deliveries.

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