Commissioner praises Neighbourhood Watch forum
This week my team attended the second virtual Gwent Police Neighbourhood Watch forum.
Neighbourhood Watch forums help Gwent Police to share information on a range of topics with local community groups across Gwent. Those who attend are then asked to share their knowledge with their own community groups, friends and family.
Knowledge is power and I hope that these sessions empower people across Gwent to recognise suspicious activity and give them the confidence to report it. I want Gwent to continue to be a safe place to live, work and visit and to achieve that we must all work together.
This week the topic of discussion was fraud which accounts for a quarter of all crime. Unfortunately, it has been at a peak during the pandemic. In some circumstances, criminals are preying on lonely, vulnerable people who in desperate times are clinging on to hope and friendship in any form.
Fraud was also the theme at this week’s Joint Audit Committee, I was joined by Chief Constable Pam Kelly. We listened to an excellent presentation from Chief Inspector Andy Tuck which provided an in depth look at the forces role in dealing with and preventing the devastating impact it can have on communities.
Some of the common scams that are that taking place include:
- Impersonation fraud. This could be a phone call or text from someone pretending to be a police officer, HMRC or a bank. Scare tactics are used stating you have to pay a fine or tax. If you receive a messages like this never give out any bank details and report it.
- Amazon scams where people are encouraged to buy large sums of Amazon vouchers in reward for a large cash prize.
- Romance fraud when a fraudster pretends to have romantic interest in someone after meeting online in order to steal their money, or to trick them into laundering money on their behalf.
- Investment Fraud. This is often linked to Bitcoin investment and can lead to thousands of pounds disappearing in hours.
- Rogue Traders. These criminals often prey on the elderly, posing as builders who wish to carry out work on properties for extortionate sums of money for example.
The next forum is taking place online on Wednesday 31st March via Teams and community groups are encouraged to attend. For more information and to join the session email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have been affected by scams or fraud contact Gwent Police on 101, or report via the Gwent Police Facebook page.
- Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
- The City of London Police Fraud team are eager to receive scam texts, the team keep note of the numbers that are being used to track criminal activity. Forward texts to 7726
- If you have been a victim of fraud and would like support, call Connect Gwent 0300 123 2133