Bogus burglar alarm calls

burglar alarmKate Thwaites, Cambridgeshire Constabulary Community Safety Officer for Cambridge, has sent a warning about bogus burglar alarm sales calls.

Earlier this week we received a reported involving a Home Security company cold calling an elderly resident in Cambridge and trying to sell them an alarm system for their home. The salesperson for the company, based in Nottingham, went on to say they can provide a wireless monitored system and a lifeline alarm whereby their trained first aiders would visit very quickly if the alarm was activated.

If you’re thinking of purchasing an alarm system please be aware that some companies make false claims that they are accredited and are also misleading with their promises regarding response times by Police and medical staff.

When buying an alarm system it is always advisable to get at least 3 quotes, and look for companies that are accredited by N.S.I. (National Security Inspectorate) or S.S.I.A.B. (Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board) Independent Inspectorates are not-for profit approval bodies who carry out inspection services for the security industry in order to protect customer interests. They are governed by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) the sole accreditation service recognised by the government.

For additional information regarding alarm systems please see the relevant section in the attached Home Security Guide. Dwelling_Security_Survey_leaflet

If you receive any phone calls from alarms companies using high pressure sales techniques please don’t agree to anything immediately. Make sure you know what you’re buying and phone the Police if you’re concerned.

Police warn of credit card scam

scam alertKate Thwaites, the Cambridge Community Safety/Crime Reduction Officer, has issued the following warning about scams via the Constabular’s eCops system:

A fresh warning is being issued over a courier fraud scam which targets the elderly and vulnerable who receive a phone call from fraudsters saying they are from their bank or the police. Several people in the Peterborough area have fallen victim to this scam in the last few days.

Tricksters tell the victim they are calling because there has been suspicious activity on their account and advise them to call the bank from the number on the back of their card. But when they hang up and call their bank or police, the fraudster manages to stay on the line and even though a new number is dialled the victim is still on the phone to the fraudster.

The con artist then gains their trust and asks them to either say or key in their PIN number before telling them their card will be collected and a replacement delivered. A courier calls later that day to collect the card.

You can hear an example of this type of call by watching the following film clip at Herts Police website

http://www.herts.police.uk/hertfordshire_constabulary/latest_news/news_articles/260115_-_1819.aspx <http://www.herts.police.uk/hertfordshire_constabulary/latest_news/news_articles/260115_-_1819.aspx>

Variations of this scam include people being sent to high street stores to purchase expensive items, which are later collected by fraudsters.

For further information regarding the latest scams please visit<http://www.consumberhub.org>

 

Balfour Beatty — lighting contract is not working that brilliantly

Has your street had new lighting yet?

We are in Phase II of the County Council streetlight replacement programme, the PFI which replaces all the lights in the county with new ones, in the interests of cutting energy costs by 50%. Phase II is going a bit better than Phase I, but I am hearing about lots of problems.

While the idea is excellent – new lights using half as much energy – it is being badly handled by the contractors, Balfour Beatty, to whom the Council has handed responsibility for communication and consultation with residents as well as implementing the programme. Plans of which lights are staying or going are highly technical and you need to look at them on line – not possible for everyone. Notice is short, while if you contact their Customer Services Department you get an auto-message promising an answer in ten working days – locking the door after the horse has bolted in many cases.

The contract was written a long time ago, and failed to take into account the needs of vulnerable people, the historic nature of our city, and had no ‘wiggle room’. The Tory councillor in charge of Highways infrastructure admitted yesterday, ‘If I had the opportunity to rewrite that contract, I would.’

I am concerned about one particular street in our area, where a light will be removed outside the home of someone with a disability – in a road which has had more than its fair share of burglaries. There are cracked pavements and removing the light could put the safety of disabled and elderly residents at risk.

Residents want to see the light retained or others repositioned so that it doesn’t leave such a big gap, but there is little room for flexibility.

And in Blinco Grove, one of the city’s 19th century streets, the elegant cast iron street lights are being replaced with modern ones as a safety measure. Residents value the distinctiveness of the old lights and believe that if they must be replaced, the new lights should be in keeping with the historic street. The lights are scheduled to be removed on Friday (21st Feb), which leaves no time for residents to respond to the consultation, especially as many families are on school half term.

I have asked for the removal to be delayed so people can be briefed on the need for replacement and give them time to identify funding for lights of a more traditional style.

Spread some warmth this winter, give away your Winter Fuel Allowance

After a lovely mild autumn, it is now  feeling appropriately wintry for December!

Which calls to mind an idea first put to me last summer when the temperature was a balmy 82 degrees. It is a creative scheme to help the vulnerable elderly.

The people who came up with it are the creative folk at Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF), a charity that matches grant givers to groups or individuals in need of funds.

Here’s how it works:

Most people over 60 receive a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100-300. It’s what is called a universal state benefit, so everyone eligible for a pension gets it. I know it is much appreciated by many older people, who need the extra money to heat their homes properly, yet I hear some people say they are comfortably off and can manage perfectly well without state benefits.

Here is an answer for them. If they prefer to give the money to help someone less fortunate, they can donate their Winter Fuel Payments to the CCF’s Winter Fuel Fund. The Fund will go to charitable projects for older people – for example, it might pay for an old lady to go and have lunch at a day centre one day a week, or for an outing. People can register their interest on line at http://www.cambscf.org.uk/the-winter-fuel-fund.html; or email Sam Weller at [email protected]

Spread some warmth this winter … help vulnerable older people

Cold!

The temperature today is 82 degrees and it seems a bit bizarre to be writing about keeping warm this winter! However, I’ve just heard about a really creative idea for helping people in need — the vulnerable elderly, to be precise.  I found out about it recently when I visited the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF), a charity that matches grant givers to groups or individuals in need of funds.

Most people over 60 receive a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100-300. It’s what is called a universal state benefit, so everyone eligible for a pension gets it. I know it is much appreciated by many older people, who need the extra money to heat their homes properly, yet I hear some people say they are comfortably off and can manage perfectly well without state benefits.

Here is an answer for them. If they prefer to give the money to help someone less fortunate, they can donate their Winter Fuel Payments to the CCF’s Winter Fuel Fund. The Fund will go to charitable projects for older people – for example, it might pay for an old lady to go and have lunch at a day centre one day a week, or for an outing. People can register their interest on line at http://www.cambscf.org.uk/the-winter-fuel-fund.html; or email Sam Weller at [email protected]