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Adur and Worthing Bulletin
Alert message sent 24/03/2020 11:00:00
Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police
Tuesday 24th March 2020
News and appeals
Don't fall victim to coronavirus fraudsters
Police are reminding Sussex residents to stay on the alert as reports come in from elsewhere across the country of frauds or attempts related to the current Covid-19 coronavirus issue.
Only one report has so far been made to Sussex Police, of a suspicious phone call that went no further thanks to the alertness of the resident, but nationally there have been more than 100 reports to Action Fraud since the start of February, with total losses reaching nearly £970,000.
The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products, which have never arrived.
Other frauds being reported include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.
There have also been over 200 reports of coronavirus-themed 'phishing' emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.
Some of the tactics being used in phishing emails include:
• Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area, but to access this information the victim needs to either click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account
• Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates
• Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn
• Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing
Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: “Fraudsters will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies.
“The majority of scams we are seeing across the country relate to the online sale of protective items, and items that are in short supply across the country, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We’re advising people not to panic and to think about the purchase they are making. When you’re online shopping it’s important to do your research and look at reviews of the site you are buying from.”
PC Bernadette Lawrie, Surrey and Sussex financial abuse safeguarding officer, said: "The advice is simple, think very carefully before you hand over your money or bankcard and don’t give out your personal details unless you are sure who you are dealing with.
"To date we have only seen one report in Sussex, involving an elderly vulnerable lady in Chichester who was phoned by someone impersonating a doctor and advising her that he had her personal details and that she had contracted the coronavirus. She hadn't. The motive was not established, but it was clearly suspicious. No money was lost and officers visited her to give reassurance and guidance on how to remain safe.
“We are working together across law enforcement, government and the private sector to combat this criminal activity and protect the public. If you think you have been a victim you can report to Action Fraud, but if you are elderly or vulnerable report directly to Sussex Police on 101 or online.
"You can protect yourself by:
- watching out for scam messages - don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details
- when shopping online, if you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one as most major credit card providers insure online purchases
- protecting your devices from the latest threats - always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. The National Cyber security Centre offers advice on looking after your devices.
Sussex Police's Operation Signature offers further information on how to keep yourself safe from unwanted callers and other approaches.
The NHS and Public Health England websites offer the latest health information and advice about Covid-19.
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "Times of crisis can bring out the very best in people who are legitimately trying to help, but it also can attract opportunists and callous criminals who seek to capitalise on our most vulnerable and elderly. I urge residents to heed this police advice around ‘coronavirus scammers’ and to be extra vigilant at this time.
“There has been a very welcome mushrooming of local online networks offering help and advice and some, however well-intentioned, may be incorrect or misleading so this co-ordination of trusted prevention advice will hopefully help to ensure our residents stay scam aware.” https://www.sussex.police.uk/news/sussex/news/news/dont-fall-victim-to-coronavirus-fraudsters/
Worthing man given 15-year sentence for rape
A Worthing man is starting a 15-year extended prison sentence for the rape of a woman he had befriended.
David Jani, 45, a care assistant, of Shelley Road, Worthing, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday (19 March) having been convicted of raping the 25-year-old woman at his flat on the night of 13-14 August 2019.
He was given a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of three further years on licence, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, prohibiting him from residing with or inviting into his residence any person deemed as vulnerable, and will be a registered sex offender for life.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.
Detective Constable Emily Turner said; "Jani was in a nightclub in Crawley, where he in effect targeted his victim who was on her own, taking her to his address and raping her.
"We are really glad that the victim has now seen justice done. She supported our investigation throughout and gave her evidence in court, facing cross-examination.
"This case shows once again how we will always support victims and seek to find the evidence to prosecute those who offend against them."
The victim said; "“I would like to say a special thanks to friends and family, and to Littlehampton and Crawley Police for ensuring that this case was dealt with swiftly, namely DC Emily Turner, DC Hugh Charles and PC Alexa Wood.
"I now have an incredibly long way to go mentally to rebuild my life, as well as my future.”
For information on services and support available to victims of sexual offences see the Sussex Police website.
Alerts/Press Releases sent out this week click the link to see full details.
Burglary Other than Dwelling
Reference: 0534 19/03/2020
Location: Halewick Lane, Sompting
Date and time: Between 14th and 17th March
Details: Entry was gained to a shed and two pedal cycles were stolen.
Help us keep Sussex safe
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at email@example.com or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Links and attachments: Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.
Message sent by
Lindsey Wine (Police, Prevention Support & Engagement Officer, Sussex)