Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards.
If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, deportation.
Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.
In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call at a later date.
If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment.
It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.
What you need to do
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.
Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud
Rob and Perpetua did us proud on Wednesday with a talk on Chile and a wine tasting of some excellent Chilean wines.
Miss the talk? here are the slides if you want to see what you missed, and if you were there, here is Rob’s Pisco Sour recipe….
This is what I did for the wine circle last week.
Note: A single measure is 25 ml, a double measure 50 ml.
For 2 people use a double measure.
Ingredients….into a cocktail shaker or similar container put:
3 measures pisco *
2 measures fresh squeezed lemon juice
1.5 measures simple syrup **
2 measures crushed ice….3 or 4 ice cubes will do.
Desert spoonful of egg white (optional)
Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and pour into a champagne flute or cocktail glass.
Add 3 drops Angostura bitters (optional) but don’t stir Garnish glass with a slice of lemon.
I didn’t use the egg white or Angostura bitters at the wine circle. The egg white gives the cocktail a frothy, smooth texture and is worth doing if you are ok with drinking raw egg white. We did in Chile!
* If you can’t get hold of pisco a fair imitation can be made by diluting 1 part Spanish brandy with 3 parts vodka. Don’t use your best cognac!
** simple syrup is easily made by heating 1 cup of water to boiling in a saucepan, add 1 cup granulated or caster sugar, stir to dissolve and allow to cool. You can buy it but why would you?
You can try using lime juice instead of lemon.
You can vary the proportion of lemon juice and sugar syrup to get your preferred balance of sweetness and sour.
If you have lots of people to serve, just scale up the quantities and use a liquidiser or Nutribullet, or a large jug and stir vigorously.
The final Lymm Festival Winter Warmer is here with a fabulous day for the whole family, including craft activities, a baking competition, refreshments and stalls.
There will be craft activities for the kids, including making Easter hats and wreaths, decorating jam jar light holders and decorating ginger biscuits. Three activities are included in the entry ticket. We will also have face painting by the lovely team from Kids Planet.
If you are doing some Easter baking and want to be in with a chance of winning a prize, why not join our baking competition for £1 per entry? Adults can bake 3 hot cross buns or either a decorated Easter chocolate cake or Victoria sponge cake. Kids can enter too with 3 small Easter nests. Bring your completed cakes to the Village Hall at 11:00am where they will be put on display for all to enjoy before being judged at 12:00pm.
There will also be refreshments sold in aid of Marie Curie and a brilliant range of stalls including Studio Squee (playful products to make), Daisy-Jane Bakery, Lemon Studio pottery and Cheshire Soaps. For further details, please see our website.
The NAWB Show results are now in. To read about it on the NAWB website click here.
Elaine Robinson, the NAWB Entries Secretary and webmaster reports:
The number of people attending this year’s show at Manchester was unfortunately well down on last year at Coventry. Only 86 people attended the dinner on Saturday evening. NAWB has gained a few more members in the past year, and some of them did attend and enter the show and also stewarded on Saturday morning, along with several non-NAWB members who are members of clubs that belong to NAWB. Hopefully they enjoyed themselves and will become members of NAWB in their own right before the next show (which would enable them to enter all the classes in the show!).
Entries were well down on last year; there were 1135 entries, resulting in 1255 bottles and 8 photos. 58 people entered, as well as 8 circles and 4 federations. 55 competitors gained at least one place; all the federations gained places, as did all the circles. 31 people gained 1st places.
I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves. Congratulations to all the winners, and commiserations to the very few who did not get a place.
I look forward to seeing you all next year.
Next year’s Conference will – provisionally – be on 20th-22nd March 2020 at the Royal Court Hotel, Coventry. Further details will be posted once known.
Click below to view the Results documents and see the Show Photos:
Constabulary is advising residents across the county to be vigilant following a
spate of burglary incidents involving outbuildings, including sheds and
Such incidents occurred in Winsford, Northwich, Macclesfield, Wildboarclough,
Alsager, Little Neston, Frodsham and Warrington.
Superintendent Laura Marler said: “The public can aid our fight against such
crimes by contacting us if they see such burglaries being carried out or anyone
acting suspiciously in their area.
“Information in relation to anyone carrying out, or suspected to be carrying
out, such burglaries will also be gratefully received.
“Cheshire residents can also help us and
themselves by making it as difficult as possible for criminals to break into
their sheds, garages and other outbuildings.
“They can do this by following our anti-burglary advice.”
The force’s tips for deterring would-be burglars and protecting your
• Never leave a garage, shed or other outbuilding unlocked and easy prey for
• Fit strong padlocks to outbuilding doors and make sure that the doors are
solid enough not to be kicked in
• Good external security lighting can put off or draw attention to a thief –
the most appropriate form is high efficiency low energy lighting controlled by
a dusk-to-dawn switch so that it only comes on when it is dark
• If you have external security lighting that comes on when sensing movement
make sure that the lights are directed downwards to prevent them from being
annoying to neighbours and dangerous to passing traffic
• Strong fencing or gates will make it difficult for intruders to get onto your
• Solid fences or walls, particularly those with a flat or rounded top, are
relatively easy for a burglar to climb over – fixing trellising to the top can
make it more difficult
• Check for weak spots where a thief could get onto your land, such as a low or
sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock
• A thorny hedge along the boundary of your property can put thieves off, as
can gravel areas due to the noise of walking on them
Across Cheshire over the last month there has been a spike in Purse Dipping, this is where Purses or items from Purses are removed from handbags without the victim knowing. The offenders are particularly active in busy public places such as shopping centres.
Please follow the preventative advice below as proactive steps to avoid being targeted.
•Keep your handbag on you, zipped with no valuable items on display (this includes your mobile phone). Do not leave it unattended…. •Keep your handbag close to your body. •In restaurants and cafes put your bag on your lap or on the floor between your feet with your foot on the strap. Alternatively place the strap through one leg of the chair. •Never leave your bag in adjacent seats in theatres, pubs or on public transport. •If using public toilets, do not place your handbag close to the door or side walls, particularly if there is a gap between the walls and the ground. It could be snatched from the outside. •Keep to major, well-lit streets and avoid isolated areas. Be aware of your surroundings. •Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Withdraw only money needed at the time. •Look for ATMs located inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy locations. •Be mindful of distractions, thieves working in pairs may attempt to divert your attention in order to steal your handbag or its contents. •Attach your purse to your handbag with a secure cord and keep your mobile in a zipped internal pocket or on your person.
Message Sent By Chris Hodgson (Police, Community Support Officer, Warrington)
Did you know up to 10,000 mobile phones are reported stolen in the UK
Whatever you use your phone for, be it to keep in touch with family and
friends, for taking photos and videos, using social media, or for business
purposes, you won’t want to lose your phone numbers and other data stored
Follow this advice to help prevent your mobile phone from being stolen.
Securing your phone
•Never leave your phone unattended. If you have to leave it, make sure it’s
secure, out of sight and can’t be heard.
•Don’t draw attention to your phone by leaving it on view on tables in pubs,
cafes and restaurants. A tactic used by thieves is to place newspapers or other
items over the phone and scoop it up. They sometimes distract phone owners by
asking for directions and taking the phone when they are not looking.
•Don’t leave your phone unattended in coat pockets or bags.
•Lock the keypad using a PIN number or pattern code when you are not using your
phone. This means it can’t be used to make calls or access your personal data,
such as emails and social media accounts, if it is stolen. Use random numbers
instead of birthdates or other guessable formats.
•Regularly back up your data, contacts and photos in case your phone gets
damaged, lost or stolen.
•Record your IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) somewhere
safe. To find out what yours is dial *#06# on your phone or look in the
settings on your smartphone.
•Register your phone at property database Immobilise for free.
•Registering your details makes it more likely that you will be reunited with
your phone if it is stolen and later recovered by the Police.
•If your phone is stolen – report it to the Police immediately. Tell them your
IMEI number, if you have any tracking apps installed or any markings on your
phone. Tell your insurer and service provider too.
•Mark your phone, battery and accessories with your postcode using an
ultraviolet marker pen. If your phone is stolen and later recovered by police
this will make it easier to reunite you with it.
•Set it to lock after one or two minutes without use.
•Carry a charger wire or portable charger to make sure you are topped up when
•Avoid saving any personal/sensitive information on your phone.
•Consider turning off geolocation services in camera apps and your mobile
settings. Turn it on only when you need to use it. It will also increase your
•If you own a smartphone, activate the ‘Find My Phone’ app or install a free
tracking app, such as PREY
•These apps provide a GPS location of the
device when it is switched on. You can log in from a computer if your phone
goes missing and locate your device.
•The apps also allow you to instruct your phone to make a loud noise (to help
you find it if it is lost) or to wipe the contents (if you believe it has
fallen into the wrong hands). Activating the app could also help police track
your phone if it is stolen. Message
Debbie Potts (Police, PCSO, Warrington LPU Town Centre PCSO
Action Fraud has received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts purporting to be from TV Licensing. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information.
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
For more information about how to stay safe online, visit cyberaware.gov.uk
Message Sent By Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)