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Coronavirus

Warning about coronavirus shopping scam as female pensioner targeted

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Police are warning the public to be vigilant after receiving report of an elderly woman being targeted by a shopping scam.

A woman in her eighties reported being called by someone claiming to be from the NHS on Monday, (20 April). The fraudster called her three times in total over the course of 10 days and asked if she needed her shopping to be done.

They then proceeded to ask if they could come collect her bank cards to pick up her pension.  Thankfully, the victim refused and no money was lost.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Sussex and Surrey Police Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer said:

“Criminals will exploit any opportunity possible to defraud innocent and vulnerable people out of their cash – and it’s incredibly disappointing to see that some are taking advantage of the Covid-19 outbreak for this purpose.

“We’re asking members of the public to please remain vigilant and to share our advice with their families so we can prevent further people falling victim to this terrible scam.”

There are many people in our communities who aren’t able to get out to the shops, or to get their medication, and it’s really important that they get the support they need.

Below are some tips to consider when others are shopping on your behalf:

  • Do not engage with cold callers. 
  • Verify the person is who they say they and from the organisation they are claiming to represent.
  • Agree a maximum budget in advance
  • Ask them to purchase the items in advance and provide a receipt before making payment
  • Never hand over your credit/debit cards, PIN details to someone you don’t know

If you need assistance with shopping, please see Age UK’s website for advice and information. 

Criminals are expert impersonators who will try to trick people into giving them their money, personal information or into buying products that don’t exist by contacting you online, via the phone or even in person.

Since the coronavirus outbreak Action Fraud has received report of hundreds of scams, including phishing emails trying to deceive people into giving their personal information and online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products, which have never arrived.  

If you are approached unexpectedly remember to:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
  • You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.
  • The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account. They will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
  • Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

For more information about Operation Signature, the Force’s campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud, see the website here

To report crime, please call 101 or report online

Coronavirus

Council announce service changes as Crawley moves to Tier 4

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With Crawley being placed under tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, several Crawley Borough Council buildings and services will close or operate differently.

The Town Hall, which is now closed for the Christmas and New Year holiday, will remain closed from Monday 4 January until further notice.

Despite this, the councils services will continue to operate and will be providing additional services for the most vulnerable residents and distributing the latest round of grants to local businesses once they have received guidance from the government.

With the Town Hall closed, there are several ways to continue to access council services.

Visit crawley.gov.uk for service information and my.crawley.gov.uk for access to rubbish and recycling updates for your home, your Council Tax account and our extensive library of forms.

To pay by debit or credit card you can do so online at crawley.gov.uk/payments, over the phone by calling our automated payments line on 01293 438312 or at your bank.

The full list of changes is:

  • The Town Hall closed to the public at 4pm on Wednesday 23 December
  • K2 Crawley and the Broadfield 3G pitch will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve
  • The Bewbush Centre Gym will close at 2pm on Christmas Eve
  • Tilgate Nature Centre will close on Christmas Eve
  • Community centres will be closed and only open for pre-schools and crèches if schools are closed
  • The Hawth will close on Christmas Eve after the performances of the pantomime and A Christmas Carol. The pantomime has been filmed and will be available to watch on The Hawth’s website at hawth.co.uk
  • The Employ Crawley Youth Hub will continue to operate with virtual appointments from 4 January. To arrange an appointment call 07814 903871 / 07909 730956 or email employcrawley@crawley.gov.uk
  • All public toilets will close except the toilets next to the car park at Tilgate Park. All toilets will remain accessible to people with a Radar Key
  • Tennis courts and multi-use games area will only remain open for use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.

Waste, recycling and garden waste collections will continue, although these will be on different dates due to Christmas and New Year.

To find your dates and to download your 2021 calendar visit crawley.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/household-collections/collection-days

Pest control and housing repairs will continue as they have over the past few months. All council play areas and outdoor gyms will remain open although as resources for cleaning them are limited they are to be used at people’s own risk.

Applications for tier 4 business grants will open shortly. More details about how to apply will be published when the council receives guidance from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“We all must do everything we can to help reduce transmission, the sooner we can get rates back under control the sooner we can return to normal, and that includes local authorities.

“While all council workers will continue to work hard for the town through this period, some facilities will have to close and the way we deliver others will have to change in order to help stop the pandemic spreading.”

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