Safety and Security

Burglary

Burglars are often opportunists who will target an open window, an unlocked door or valuables on display if they think they can get away with it. Read more…

Front Door Security

Please bear in mind that not everyone who knocks on your door is genuine.  Here is a link to the Neighbourhood Watch Members Guide.  This includes the members guide itself, along with downloads for Trick-or-Treat Stickers, Uninvited Traders Stickers, as well as a Not-Sure-Don’t-open-the-door-leaflet.

Rural Crime

Please take a look at the Kent Police advice pages for Rural Crime along with an informative video.  Read more…

See the weekly rural crime reports from Kent Police here…

Fraud

List of the financial fraudsters’ favourite tricks and the eight things your bank will never ask you to do –

but a fraudster will Read more… 

Loan Sharks

There is increasing activity in all communities (but mainly affecting people in poorer areas) from ‘Loan Sharks’. A Loan Shark is a person who is unregistered, illegal and unregulated, who preys on vulnerable people who are desperate for money. They charge exorbitant rates of interest, and the victims (who could be you or me) are often frightened and desperate. If you, or someone you know:

  • have been offered a loan without paperwork;
  • have been threatened when they couldn’t pay;

then help is at hand by a national organisation, supported by HM Government, who will help, support and chase ‘Loan Sharks’ through the courts. In confidence call 0300 555 222, or email [email protected]

Computer Security

Computer fraud, phishing scams, virus attacks are all on the increase as the world as the online world increase in size and complexity.  Fraudsters are finding more and more ingenious ways to compromise our data and online accounts.  But you can help to protect yourself by:

  • Avoiding bad habits with your online security.  Here are  the six mistakes people always make…  Read more…  

    Topics include; sticking to the same password, ignoring software updates; opening email attachment; and using Windows XP.

  • Using strong passwords.  Rather than using a dog’s name or the name of your favourite football team, use a word or a phrase that is difficult to guess by a fraudster.  Please see the Cyber Aware advice for strong passwords here

The best passwords are a string of characters that do not form any kind of word or pattern for example ‘ztrgswujb’ but while these are very strong, they can be difficult to remember.  Instead, choose two words and corrupt them for example ‘jungle’ and ‘bungalow’ to make ‘jungalow’.  Then add some numbers to the password to make, for example ‘1071jungalow’.  You can then make this even stronger by adding special characters eg, $, £, &, and so on.

Many people use the system of replacing letters with numbers for example ‘Carol’ becomes ‘C4r0l’. But please be careful with this on sensitive accounts as it easy for a fraudster to guess.

  • Backup your data.  I cannot emphasise this enough.  If your computer or laptop gets stolen, you could lose rather more than a lump of electronics.  There are people and companies who store all their data on one machine and never think about keeping a security copy of their data.  This could include business account, emails, photos, contact lists, etc.

Please take a moment to think how your life could be affected by the loss if a machine by whatever means with no way of restoring your data.

  • Use a reputable antivirus system and make sure it is updated regularly.

Please look at this very short video… Also, you could lose all your data if your hard disk is infected with a virus.

  • Phishing Scams.  These are emails that say something like “your details have been corrupted, please use this link to log in”.  They could purport to be from your bank or credit card company, they could look as if they come from eBay or Paypal.  Other examples of phishing emails look as if they have come from Amazon, BT, M&S, as well as most mobile phone companies.

Phishing: the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, online.

But banks, credit card companies and other financial organisations do not do this.  Nor do most reputable websites.  If you think there may be a problem, then ignore the email and simply log on the site in question as would normally, do not follow the links on the email.

What have I missed?

I am working on this stuff regularly but I admit to getting things wrong occasionally. Please use the contact form to comment and suggest additional advice for these pages.