Watch Out For These 6 Christmas Internet Scams

Every year, as Christmas draws near, cybercriminals tend to ramp up their nefarious activities. They trundle out the same tried and tested tactics that they use all year long, but trick them up with Christmas, Thanksgiving, and holiday themes to draw in more victims. And, they capitalize on the fact that, during the holiday season, people are buying more products online, searching for more gifts, and may be spending more time on their computers.

Here are six common cyber scams to watch out for this holiday season:

1. Package Delivery Malware Emails

Criminals regularly send out bogus 'failed package delivery' notifications as a means of distributing malware. The emails claim that, because of an addressing error, a parcel could not be delivered and you should therefore click a link or open an attached file to retrieve shipping details. The links open websites that harbour malware. The attachments generally contain the malware in a .zip file.

And, as Christmas approaches, the
frequency of these scams tends to increase. The criminals know that, near Christmas, more people are expecting packages from friends and family or sending packages themselves.  Thus, the criminals tend to trick more people into infecting their computers than at other times of the year.  The criminals often try to create a sense of urgency in their bogus messages by warning that a package will not be delivered in time for Christmas if you do not follow the instructions in the email immediately.  Be very wary of any email that claims a package delivery has failed and you must click a link or open an attachment to fix the problem.  

2. eCard Malware
Christmas eCards can be a fun way to send holiday greetings to your friends and family. But, cyber crooks often use fake eCard notifications to trick people into visiting sites that contain malware. The notification emails may look like they are from a genuine eCard provider but, when you click the link in the hope of viewing your eCard, you may be tricked into downloading and installing malware.  Remember that genuine eCards will contain the name and email address of the sender, which should be somebody you know.

3. Gift Card Survey Scams
Survey scammers also exploit the holiday season. Typically, the scammers will create fake Facebook Pages that falsely claim to be associated with well-known brands. Via these pages, they will offer you the chance to win Christmas gift cards and vouchers. But, to enter, you are required to like the fake Page and share its bogus promotions with all of your friends. Then, you will be told that you must participate in various online surveys or offers as a condition of entry or to verify your identity.
In reality, the promised gift cards do not exist and the personal information you provide on the bogus survey sites will be used to inundate you with unwanted marketing material and phone calls. You may also be tricked into subscribing to very expensive SMS 'services'. As well as gift cards and vouchers, survey scammers may also offer 'Christmas Promotions' that supposedly allow you to win expensive prizes such as luxury cars or game consoles. Be wary of any 'promotion' that claims that you must like and share material and participate in online surveys to enter.

4. Charity Phishing Scams
Many charitable organizations hold Christmas or holiday appeals to raise extra funds. And, with the Christmas spirit upon them, people may be more likely to give to those less fortunate. Again, criminals are aware of this. Carefully vet messages asking you to donate to Christmas or holiday appeals. Scam messages may contain links to bogus websites designed to emulate the sites of genuine charities. Once on the fake site, you will be asked to donate by providing your credit card details and other personal and financial information. Criminals can collect the information you submit and use it for credit card fraud and identity theft. When donating, always ensure that you are giving to a genuine charity.

5. Customer Reward Phishing Scams
Another Christmas themed criminal tactic is to send out emails claiming to be from well-known banks or companies that offer 'customer rewards' such as cash bonuses or vouchers as part of a Christmas promotion. The emails will instruct you to click a link to claim your bonus. The link will take you to a website that looks just like the targeted bank's real website. Once there, you will be asked to login and provide personal and financial information, ostensibly to allow you to claim the bonus. But, again, the criminals will collect the information you provide and use it to hijack your account and commit financial fraud and identity theft.

6. Fake Shopping Websites
Criminals also capitalize on the holiday shopping frenzy by tricking people into 'buying' items on fake retail websites. They launch spam campaigns that offer seemingly unbeatable 'Christmas Deals'. Links in the messages lead to sites that look like the websites of well-known companies. They may use logos and formatting stolen from genuine company websites. But, you will never receive any items you 'buy' on these fake sites. And, via the phoney purchase pages on the scam websites, criminals can harvest your credit card details and other personal information.

Stay vigilant and don't let scammers ruin your Christmas! And, keep in mind that cyber crooks use variants of the tactics described above every month of the year, not just at holiday time.


There are a number of emails flooding email systems at the moment that you need to be aware of. They may appear to come from one of many different sources including for example Companies House, FedEx, Wells Fargo, City Bank,, and many more. The one thing that they all have in common is that there is a 'zip' file attached and the nature of the email message will encourage you to open that file. Typical examples are shown below.

If you receive a suspect email with a 'zip' file attached - DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHEMENT. Ignoring this advice could expose your computer to malware that could corrupt files, or introduce key logging spyware, or a ransom virus program that in effect blocks your computer and only lets you see the ransom message telling you how to pay the ransom.

If you do fall victim to a ransom virus, ON NO ACCOUNT PAY. Contact a computer specialist that can help you clean the virus off your computer.

If you are encountering these type of emails, report it to ACTION FRAUD at

Urgent Consumer Alert From Lancashire Trading Standards

This is a warning of a telephone caller purporting to be representing Lancashire County Council and offering energy surveys. They seem to be targeting the elderly. The caller asks for personal information such as if they own their own property and which energy provider they are currently with.

The Government is currently launching a scheme called the Green Deal where independent traders may seek information such as whether you own your own property and if you are claiming benefits – however, none of these traders are working with or on behalf of Lancashire County Council.

For more information about Green Deal visit

or call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

Trading Standards strongly suspects this is a scam call and residents should not give any information out to the caller. Trading Standards advice generally is not to do business with cold callers,

Contact the Trading Standards Service via the
Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on
08454 04 05 06


THERE IS A NEW and clever credit card scam — be wary of those who come bearing gifts.

It works like this: Someone phones to say that he is from an outfit called 'Express Couriers' or a similarly named courier company. He will ask if you are going to be home for a while, because there is a package for you that will arrive shortly. A deliveryman duly arrives with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. Not expecting such a gift, when you ask who the sender is the deliveryman will tell you that he is only delivering the gift package but that you will receive a card from the sender in the post. The card will never arrive.

Meanwhile there will be a consignment note with the gift and the man will explain that because the gift contains alcohol, there is a £3.50 'delivery charge'. If you ask why he will tell you that this acts as proof that he has actually delivered the package to an adult and not just left it on the doorstep at risk of being stolen. This can sound reasonably plausible but when you offer to pay him cash you will be told that the company requires the payment to be by credit or debit card, so that everything is properly accounted for. When you produce a card you will be asked to swipe it on a small mobile card machine. This will have a small screen and keypad and you will be asked to enter the PIN and security number. So that everything appears legal, a receipt will then be printed out and given to you.

Whilst the receipt is meaningless, do not be surprised if within the next few days, your card is debited with large amounts of money for various purchases that you have not made. What has happened is that the mobile card machine that the deliveryman carried has scanned your card details and you have then supplied the PIN and security number. It is then possible for a dummy card to be made up with all your details on it.

In conclusion be very wary about accepting any surprise package that you neither expected nor ordered, particularly if there is any payment involved. Never accept any package where it is not clear who the sender is. Never ever give your card details to anyone unless you yourself have initiated the purchase or transaction.



Between 08/11/13 and 09/11/13 two Scania Highline Trucks were stolen from a Farm Produce and Distribution Company in Lathom, Ormskirk in Lancashire at around midnight on Friday night 08.11.13. The registration numbers are PF10 ACJ & PF10 HRK.

If anyone has an informationplease ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and quote LC-20131109-0397


There have been a number of attempted thefts & thefts from vehicles in the Banks area on 21/07/2013. Where the offender has approached vehicles and tried the door handlers with the intention of gaining entry to steal items. Offender left scene riding a bike but was arrested.

Learning Points:

  • Lock the doors, windows, sunroof and boot EVERY time you leave your vehicle.
  • Do not leave any belongings in your vehicle, even in the glove box. Criminals will break into a vehicle on an opportunist basis.
  • Do not leave stereos under the seat and the cradle or wiring for mobiles or Satellite Navigation Equipment. Sucker marks on the window indicate to criminals to break in to find the hidden sat nav…..DO NOT LEAVE ANY TEMPTATION.
  • Security mark your stereo or satellite navigation, note the serial number and take it with you.
  • ALWAYS try to park in a well-lit busy open area or on a car park that is well supervised, has restricted entry and exit points, good lighting and other security features.
  • If your car has an alarm fitted, turn it on EVERY time you park.
  • Etch the car’s registration number on all glass surfaces, windows, lights, sunroof etc.
  • Consider fitting a vehicle immobiliser device and use it EVERY time you park.
  • Consider fitting lockable wheel nuts and a fuel cap.
  • Tuck wing mirrors in and put the aerial down to discourage vandalism.

Remember. If you see something suspicious - CALL THE POLICE

For more advice on avoiding car crime read Steer Clear Of Car Crime leaflet


Lancashire Police are warning of a bogus official making telephone calls to homes in Lancashire claiming to be a United Utilities representative saying that there is a need to come to your property to test the water supply.

If you do get a call like this Please telephone the Police on 101 and quote reference 0684


Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Alerts June 2013

The Newsletter above are the most recent received from Lancashire County Council Trading Standards

If you wish to read any of the previous issues of these please go to the Newsletters page


Be on the look out for a white transit van reg number AF11 VLH. Persons using this van have been selling mattresses from it.

If you see this van, report it by telephoning 101, quoting 20130314-0549 and stating where and when you saw it.


A report of a Hare course incident. A SILVER SUBARU WITH NO BACK WINDOW AND NO Vehicle Registration Plates has just rammed its way out of a local yard on Carr moss lane Halsall . The offender was caught and members of the public were trying to block him in a yard until police attended , the offender has rammed his way out causing head injuries to members of the public who have now gone to hospital .

If you have  info ring 101 quote 0699

National Mobile Property Register

Lancashire Constabulary are currently promoting the use of the National Mobile Property Register. simply register your valuables for FREE at and should they be lost or stolen and end up in the hands of the police they can be traced back to you and returned.

For more information please visit:


Be on the lookout for a white vane registration number V923 EPY. This vehicle was recently in Boundary Close   New Longton  with 4 males aboard, (3 passengers and driver), all with Irish accents, behaving suspiciously perpetrating to be selling fish.
If you have information ring 101 &  Quote  1174




On 11/02/13 a set of golf clubs were stolen from an insecure garage in the Tarleton area. 

The offenders approached a detached property in a semi rural location. They made down the driveway to  the detached garage at rear of the property and gained entry via an insecure garage door. Having removed property from within the garage the offenders made off undetected.

If you think you know any relevant information please ring 101 & quote 0187.

  Suspicious (Phishing) Email

What should you do if I receive a suspicious (phishing) email that seems to be from Western Union?

If someone contacts you claiming to be Western Union and asking for your password or inviting you to click on a link, do not open the attached file or click on the links.

Forward any suspicious emails ‎to Delete the emails immediately.

Western Union advise that they will never send you an email asking for your user ID or password. These emails have come from fraudsters who are phishing for information and have sent messages to many random emails addresses – they have not gotten hold of your specific email. Western Union strongly recommends that you not respond to these emails nor share any of your personal information with anyone associated with these emails.

Typical example email:

                                                From: Western Union 
                                                Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:05 PM
                                                Subject: Important Notice
                                                Dear Western Union member,

                                                Our database is being upgraded to provide a higher layer of
                                                security to our customers. You are required to validate your
                                                online account by clicking on the following link:

                                                Click here to go to online form

                                                Failure in validating your account will result in suspension.

                                                Thank you,
                                                Jeremy Ronson,
                                                Western Union Online.

 Police warning around mattress seller

Police are warning residents in the West Lancashire area that a man is approaching schools in a van trying to sell beds and mattresses.

A number of incidents have been reported to us in the Tarleton, Hesketh Bank and Banks areas over the past few days.

A man is wondering the school play grounds at going home time dishing out cards to parents advertising the sale of these items.

Lancashire Trading Standards advice is never to buy anything from a stranger out of the back of van, should something go wrong they will have taken your money and it is unlikely you will ever be able to contact them again.

These sellers can be quite insistent and pushy but don't be pressurized into making snap decisions. Mattresses are required to comply with specific safety regulations and because the source of the mattresses are unknown it is possible they may not comply even though they may be displaying what appear to be fire safety labels.

Don’t let scammers con you, be sceptical, take your time, know who you're dealing with and always protect your personal information. 

If in doubt ring the non emergency for the police on 101 quoting Log Number LC-20130205-0837, or Trading Standards on 08454 0405 06 asking if they response team could attend immediately.


Today (5th July 2012) we received an email via the pctnhw email address with Header "REPLY" from "". With the email was a Microsoft Word file which can be read by clicking here.

Any communication with the sender reinforces the chances of your email being used again and being passed around. To take any steps towards complying with the request risks you exposing your personal information and it could be used for fraud.

If you get anything similar to this through your email, you are strongly advised to delete the message and not to reply.


The incident occurred during week beginning 25th July 2012 and involved two men calling at a dwelling in Church Road claiming to be working for the water board and there was a need to check the water. Once the door had been opened one of the men forced his way into the property. The owners of the property requested an ID but were told that it was in the van.  The offender made for the kitchen saying to the house owner that the occupiers needed to watch him while he did the checks on the water. A second offender then entered the property and stole items belonging to the occupiers. The incident turned into an aggravated robbery when the home owners discovered what was happening.

Don't let this happen to you. Remember the following learning points:

  1. Do not open the door to people you do not know. Keep the door held on a security chain. (If you don't have a security chain on your door, get one fitted).
  2. Before releasing the door to to open it make sure that you are presented an ID card and check it with the organisation that the callers are supposed to represent.
  3.  Remeber - there are no such organisations  as The Water Board, Gas Board or Electricity Board any more.  These have been replaced by utility companies and their employees must  carry identification, (ID). 
  4. You would be wise to join the password scheme of the utility companies that you trade with as an added security measure. By doing this any caller from the utility company will have to give you YOUR password before being allowed into your property. 
  5. Consider getting assistance from the Police if you are at all uncertain.


We have been alerted to a hoax email that has been circulating purporting to originate from Crimestoppers. It claims that if you enter your pin number in reverse into a cash point the police will be sent to your location.

For a sample email

This email did not originate with Crimestoppers. It's content is false.

If you receive an email similar to it please delete it. Do not forward the email onto anyone else.


The web based email account of a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator in Lancashire been hit by hackers and her account used to distribute spurious emails to email addresses in her Address Book. It is unfortunate that web based emails, (such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo), are very susceptible to hackers and it is not unknown for a legitimate user to be locked out of their own account. Fortunately Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo, do have procedures to help you regain control if you have one of their email accounts and you find it has been taken over.


If you become aware that someone has hacked into your email and is using it to send out messages that appear to come from you:

1.    Re-establish control of your email account. Sign in to your account and immediately change the password. If you find that you are locked out – try using the ‘forgotten password’ feature on the ‘sign in’ page. If this fails find the help section appropriate to ‘compromised accounts’ and follow the advice.

2.    Check the ‘Address Book’ of your account. Look for email addresses that you do not recognise and delete them. (Once into your account the hackers are likely to have added email addresses unknown to you.)

3.    Check all your settings and personal information. If possible change the email account used for ‘password resets’.

4.    If you believe that the spurious emails sent from your account are part of a fraud – notify ACTION FRAUD. (See


The following steps are not fool proof but they can substantially reduce the risk of being a victim of email accounts hacking:

  • Choose strong passwords of eight characters or more. (The more characters you use the harder it is for someone to guess. Strong passwords are a combination numerals with both high case and low case letters.) Do not use a password used for any other web based site access.
  • Change your password at least every 90 days to something completely different. Just changing one or two characters is not enough.
  • If you get an unsolicited email from an unknown source – do not open any links or attachments.




Please be on the lookout for a red Ford Focus Estate with the registration plate number T743 PVR. It has been spotted in the Hesketh Bank area carrying two people and a dog. (The dog was thought to be a Lurcher or a Greyhound).

If you do see this vehicle – please contact the Police on telephone number 101 stating where and when you saw it, and any other information that you think may be important.

The Police are anxious to establish the whereabouts of this vehicle.

 Secure your Garden

There has been an increase in the number of attempted burglaries in the West Lancs. and South Ribble areas, so the Lancashire Constabulary are urging residents to be vigilant and have issued the following advice on making gardens secure:

  1. Perimeter Security – Fences or hedges should be 1.8 metres high to the side and rear. Garden gates leading to the rear should be flush with the building line.  Add hostile toppings to vulnerable boundaries such as wall or cacti spikes.  Hostile Toppings should be accompanied by appropriate signage in accordance with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
  2. Install Outside LightingSecurity Lighting that uses a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor is effective.  This type of unit triggers when it has detected a person in its range and automatically switches on a Quartz Halogen type floodlight.  Imagine a burglar sneaking behind a house at night being greeted by a floodlight being switched on.  Not many stay to commit crime.   This type of unit also helps to reduce the fear of crime.
  3. Low Wattage Lights - External lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and stays on all night until dawn is beneficial where the property is overlooked by people passing by, or residents
  4. Don’t help the burglar – Lock all garden tools away including ladders.  If you do not have space to lock ladders away chain them to a solid post away from the house.  Consider marking the property with your postcode using an ultra-violet marker pen or more advanced kits eg etching and engraving.  Take photographs of any valuable property, this can be useful for identifying and providing proof of ownership for recovered property.
  5. Locks – Fit a good quality lock on the shed door, the fittings should be bolted through the door of the shed and reinforced at the back with a steel plate.  Install a low cost, battery operated shed alarm on all outbuildings.  These can be purchased from DIY stores.  Windows on outbuildings can be protected with glass alarms.
  6. Hostile Planting - There are numerous varieties of prickly deciduous shrubs, which may be used as an effective barrier.  Growing prickly shrubs next to your wall or fence helps to deter offenders from climbing over.  Hedges such as Ilex Aquifolium provide privacy, but few offenders would get through them. The hawthorn Paul Scarlet (Coccinea Plena) which has prickly thorns is also effective.
  7. Natural Surveillance - Making potential offenders feel exposed when they approach the front of your property helps to deter offenders. Low hedges /fencing to no more than 1 metre or transparent high fences will increase the opportunity for natural surveillance, as will outside lighting.
  8. Access to Flat Roofs - Drain pipes give access to flat roofs and windows.  These can be protected by anti-climb paint or consider hostile planting such as Leverkusen, which grows to about 10 feet in height.


For other tips on keeping your home secure - see the Home-Security page.

If you see something suspicious – CALL THE POLICE.


There is a scam currently operating in this area where telesales organisations are cold calling telephone numbers but are hanging up before you get a chance to answer it.  If you get a telephone call where the call has ended before have picked up the receiver - then dial 1471. If you don't recognise the number then you are best advised not to make a return call. If you do call back, you risk paying for a call to a telemarketing company that is banking on you being curious enough to call them back so that they can try to sell you something.

Telepest are an organisation trying to get the government to make telephone sales cold calling illegal. If you would like to join the fight - sign th on line petition at for more information on Telepest, see their website

  ISP Computer Viruses Scam

Nationwide there is a computer virus scam operating that has a different slant on previously reported Microsoft computer virus scams. It works like this:

It starts with a telephone call. The caller identifies himself as a Technical Support representative of your Internet Service Provider, (ISP). The caller then asks for the account holder, (he does not appear to know the person he contacting). Once getting someone that says they are the account holder he tells you that he is concerned that the ISP's technical staff has detected suspicious virus activity that appears to be affecting your computer. (The call appears legitimate because the caller has named your ISP, but beware - it is possible to identify telephone numbers allocated to certain ISP's, like Virgin Media for example, from the internet .)

The caller then directs you to a computer sharing website where you will be asked to allow the caller to access your computer. Once access is granted he will quickly start looking for files with personal details that can be cloned. It is not unknown for these scammers to ask for credit or debit card details for you to pay a cleanup fee up front.

  • Genuine ISP callers will not contact you this way.
  • Never to allow computer access via computer sharing sites where you are not sure who you are dealing with.
  • Never hand payment card details out over the phone to any company you do not know and trust.

Please refer any complaints to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 55 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancashire PR1 3NU

 Metal Theft

Lead flashing, copper boilers and piping, cast iron inspection covers, and cables from train lines are amongst the metals stolen by metel thieves.

Homeowners  and  business owners please note the following Lancashire Constabulary advice: 

  1. Avoid leaving anything lying around that could be used to help a thief e.g. ladders.
  2. Make it difficult for thieves to move stolen goods by storing wheelbarrows and wheelie bins securely.
  3. Consider anti-vandal paint and property marking.
  4. Use alternative materials to lead for any repairs - to reduce the risk of becoming a target for thieves.
  5. Regularly check your roofs so that any theft is found before it rains and further damage is caused.
  6. Consider installing security lighting, particularly at roof level where metal roof coverings are present.
  7. Anyone with information about the theft of metal can call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Crime prevention material
To help you get the message out, a crime prevention leaflet is available that can be printed off 

  Home Watch scam email warning

The BBC has issued a warning over a scam email circulating

The scam email which claims to be from the Daytime Television programme called “Heir Huntersis being used to obtain personal information. The email prompts users to respond with personal information such as full name, date of birth, address and telephone number.

A warning posted on the BBC website reads:

“We have been informed that someone has been sending out emails purporting to come from the Heir Hunters programme and referring to this website”.

“Please be aware that these emails have no connection with the BBC or Flame Television, the makers of Heir Hunters, and you should ignore them. You should not reply to them and if you believe that persons are attempting to deceive you with a view to monetary gain, then you should contact the police”.

Remember - The number to use to contact the Police is now "101"



Occupiers of a dwelling in Oakgate Close, that has his front door and garden on Blackgate Lane, had a number of garden ornaments on display which included a stone lion a couple of feet long. The lion was stolen from their garden, apparently yesterday afternoon, (Wednesday 21 December), as they didn't notice anything amiss in the morning and only discovered the loss in the evening when they returned home from shopping. The lion was heavy and could not have been carried far even by two people. They reported the theft to the police but so far there have been no witnesses identified.

Due to the weight of the stone lion it has been assumed that the people that stole it must have had a vehicle of some kind, (a truck or a van), and there is a strong likelihood that there were two or more people involved.

Were you in the vicinity of Oakgate Close on Wednesday? If so – did you notice any activity involving the removal of garden ornaments?

If you think you may be able to help in any way please contact the Police by dialling 101.

This kind of incident serves as a reminder to be suspicious if you notice items being removed from gardens or houses where the person that normally resides there does not appear to be present. If you see something suspicious – CALL THE POLICE.


There has been a notable increase in theft of car number plates throughout the North West of England. This appears to coincide with a large increase in people filling up their cars with fuel at filling stations then driving off without paying. In most cases reported the apparent registration numbers of the cars linked to the theft of fuel match numbers of car number plates that have been stolen from cars parked outside of their owner’s homes.

If you tend to park your car on your drive rather than in your garage, please ensure that the number plates are not easy to remove.  Anti-theft fasteners available at a low cost. 

Again - If you see something suspicious – CALL THE POLICE


Burglary In A Dwelling – Manor House Close – This occurred on 17th May 2011 between 0100 hrs and 0435 hrs in the morning 

Offenders had approached the rear of a property whilst the occupants were asleep.  The offenders have gained entry via an insecure upper window and have selected property, car keys and then stolen the vehicle from the driveway.

A short time later the vehicle was sighted by the Police and failed to stop.  A brief pursuit took place but unfortunately the offenders abandoned the vehicle and made off on foot.  After a search by a dog patrol and the helicopter, the offenders at this moment in time are still outstanding and enquiries are ongoing.

Again, just a reminder for residents to be vigilant and PLEASE ensure that all windows and doors are secure before going to bed at night and if you have a house alarm, ensure this is set. 


Burglary In A DwellingCuerdale Lane, Walton-Le-Dale – This incident occurred between 2315 hrs 11/5 & 0515 hrs 12/5.

Offenders have gained entry to the property via a rear UPVC conservatory door which had possibly been left insecure (whilst the occupants were asleep upstairs). The property was searched and items of value were stolen.  The offenders also removed a set of car keys from the kitchen and have stolen the vehicle from the driveway.

A reminder for everyone to be vigilant and PLEASE ensure that all your windows and doors are locked, especially before going to bed at night.  Also, ensure that laptops, jewellery & car keys are not left on view.


Warning issued  by Lancashire Police at 08:04 Thursday 24 March 2011

As you are aware, we are required to fill in our census forms this week and the following information has been brought to the attention of the Lancashire Police:

Residents in Lancashire are being warned to beware of bogus census workers who may try to falsely obtain personal details. Safer Lancashire Board has issued a warning after reports of a bogus worker in the Leicestershire area.

Genuine census staff are currently carrying out pre-arranged visits and they will be in possession of an Office for National Statistics (ONS) badge.

If you have someone who calls at your home who you suspect maybe a bogus caller, please DO NOT let them in and contact the Police immediately on 101 or 999 in an emergency.


Essex Police have issued CCTV images in a warning over cashpoint crooks who are tricking bank customers out of hundreds of pounds. Thieves were caught on camera while stealing £350 from a man withdrawing money from an ATM at a Santander branch in Loughton. The video clip from the CCTV are now being released to warn all cashpoint users to be extra vigilant when using bank machines.

Learning Points

When you are using an ATM there is a tendency to focus purely on the machine as you carry out your transaction. Be aware of your surroundings. If anybody is standing so close to you that they can see your hands don't enter your pin number. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable discontinue the transaction and walk away

Always cover your hand when you enter your pin number.

If someone tries to gain your attention in any way as you are carrying out a transaction ignore them. Concentrate on the machine and retrieving your bank card and cash safely as a priority. If they are genuine they will still be there when your bank card and money is safely back in your pocket.


The video shows how the victim was approached by two men who stood either side of him. Moments before the cash was about to emerge from the machine one of the thieves, who was standing on a hidden £10 note, flicks the note beneath the user then taps him on the shoulder to say he had dropped the cash.

When the vitim bent to pick up the note the second man grabbed the £350 from the machine and walked away. Meanwhile a third member of the gang started chatting with a woman waiting to use the machine to prevent her seeing what was happening.

The victim, a 57-year-old man from Loughton, was not immediately aware of the theft and thought that the cash machine was faulty.



TRADING Standards officers have issued new warning for residents to be on their guard against a computer scam.

Trading Standards have received many calls from concerned residents who have been contacted by traders offering to solve computer faults. The calls are made out of the blue and the traders offer to fix computers that are running slow or have other faults.

In all instances, the cold callers try to gain remote access to the computers to take personal information. This information can often be used for illegal purposes at a later date.

A number of calls have been made to premises in Southport and Trading Standards officers are asking residents across the borough to be on their guard. Some of the traders are becoming more aggressive in their sales pitch and are calling residents on a regular basis.

Learning Points

Don't keep personal financial passwords or information on your PC. This applies to everyone.
If you have a computer problem, use a reputable trader or consider joining a computer club where individuals freely share their expertise with other computer users.

Do you suspect you are being targeted by scammers? Citizans Advice on 08454 040506 for advice


The Police have received reports of ex offenders who have been going ‘door to door’ attempting to sell household goods. The seller has been advising local residents that they have permission from the local Police.  The Police/Probation Service do not support this in any way and residents are advised to be cautious when dealing with ‘doorstep callers’



(We have seen this one before - it's doing its rounds again)    

Residents in Lancashire and Sefton are being warned of a security alarm scam currently operating in the North WestResidents are being telephoned in the early evening by a representative of a security company who tells the resident that his / her home is in a high crime area but the householder can protect themself by buying a Police Approved security alarm system for just £1-00.  What they dont tell you is  that the housholder as a condition of buying one of these alarms, would be required to sign up to a very costly maintenance and monitoring contract.  The company is alleged to use hard sell and bullying tactics if you allow them into your home for a survey.  

The company is not approved by the Police. Police advice is NEVER to purchase from anyone cold calling on the telephone or from anyone who calls at your home unannounced.  If you receive a call like this, you are advised to make a note of the telephone number of the caller, tell them you are not interested in their product and that you will be informing the Police of their call. 

This sales scam appears to be a new variation on past sales attempts throughout Lancashire where residents have been contacted saying that they have been "chosen" to recieve a free alarm system.  Once in the house they will be signed up to a maintenance agreement costing thousands.

If you have any elderly friends or relatives, please bring this information to their attention. 

If anyone requires a Crime Prevention visit, or would like some security advice,

please make contact with the Police via telephone number 101


Two distraction burglaries have occurred in the past week. Both incidents occurred between 2hours of each other.

In the first incident, 2 unknown males offenders have approached the home of a 91 year old male stating they were from the water board. The offenders stated they needed to check the water supply in the house to check for leaks in the area. One male offender went into the kitchen and turned on the water while his accomplice waited outside.  While the home owner was distracted in the kitchen the second male offender entered the address through the front door. A search of the property was made and money was stolen from a drawer in the lounge.

In the second incident that occurred, a male offender approached the property of an 86 yearr old lady and advised her the property next door had been flooded and he needed to check her water.  The offender has entered the property and made his way to the kitchen saying to the house owner that she needed to watch him while he did the checks on the water. A second offender has entered the property and has taken a purse from a drawer in the living room.  Both offenders have made off undetected.

The description of the offenders is unfortunately quite vague:  One male was of heavy build and the other was slim build, wearing dark coloured base ball cap and light coloured jacket and jeans.

PLEASE  be extra careful when answering the door and ALWAYS check identification.  Remeber - there are no such organisations  as The Water Board, Gas Board or Electricity Board any more.  These have been replaced by utility companies and their employees must  carry identification, (ID).

Rule 1 - Keep out anyone professing to be representing a utility company if they can't produce an ID.

Rule 2 - Keep the telephone number of your utility supplier by the telephone and if someone does call from a utility company with an ID, check the authenticity of the caller.  Better still, join the password scheme with your utility company, by doing this any caller from the utility company will have to give you YOUR password before being allowed into your property.

For further advice read WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR -  Distraction Burglary Tactics on the Doorstep Crime page





The following is a re-issue of a previous alert but the activity has started up again.

Lancashire Police are asking everyone to keep an eye open for suspicious activity around church and school buildings. Churches in South Ribble have had lead stripped from the roof.  In one case - a church was raided twice.

Please be extra vigilant when near your local churches and schools and if you do see anything suspicious at all, contact the Police immediately.


Residents are being asked to look out for people behaving suspiciously delivering leaflets after two men had been seen in  Penwortham wearing high visibility jackets and posting leaflets through selected doors.  The men were trying door handles and walking around the rear of properties. The the activities of these two men were reported and Police officers advised the men to leave the area. The incident has also been reported to Lancashire Trading Standards.

Please be vigilant and if you do see anything at all suspicious, contact the Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.


Lancashire Trading Standards have issued a  warning that unsolicited phone calls are being received by residents from a company that claims that it is operating on behalf of local Crime Prevention, and that the caller is looking to set up a Neighbourhood Watch Zone.  The purpose of the phone call appears to be to find out personal details about the resident.  Please be aware that these calls are unconnected with either the police or Neighbourhood Watch.  Lancashire Trading Standards advise people never to give out personal details on the phone when cold-called.


Warning Issued By Lancashire Trading Standards 9 September 2010

House holders are warned to beware of traders targeting rural Lancashire residents, by offering to tarmac roads and drives using material allegedly left over from council work. On one occasion an farming couple was told that the men were working on a neighbouring road and had ordered too much tarmac, ( which is not believed to be true).  The couple were charged over £2000 to cover their drive with tarmac. On a second occasion a cold caller used a similar story and told a family in the rural outskirts of Chorley that he was working for the council and had left-over tarmac to use up, which was offered at £2.50 per square foot.

These individuals are not council contractors and Lancashire County Council would like to make it clear that they are not carrying out official work on the highways

A fake address in Sheffield is given and the work is overcharged and consists of a surface skim which is unlikely to last long. 

One of the men has an Irish accent and drives a silver car.

Residents are advised to use reputable traders with land lines, local addresses and references.  Alternatively check for a trader on the County Council-backed Safe Trader website

Please refer any complaints to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 55 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs PR1 3NU via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506 and ask them to pass the information to trading standards straight away. If there is any fraud or criminal damage the matter should also be referred to the police.



 The following was released by Lancashire Police 26th August 2010

Thieves recently broke into a house in Penwortham by breaking glass in the patio doors at the rear of  the property.  Once inside the property they stole two laptop computers and the keys to the Audi A3 that was standing on the drive. They made thier getaway in that car.

As it has become increasing difficult to break into a car to steal it, there is an increasing trend of the thieves breaking into the house to steal the keys first.  To have broken in the car may have damaged it and made it difficult to pass on.

Here are some learning points:

  • If at all possible, put your vehicle in the garage overnight
  • On entering the house secure the door behind you.
  • Put away out of sight high value portable devices such laptop computers , camcorders or cameras. 
  • Do not leave your keys on open view in your home or at work Keep them in a safe place away from doors and windows there they can be seen. People have stolen keys without even entering the premises
  • Use the security you already have, that is to say if you have a house alarm then use it.
  • Look to update your house security. You have purchased an expensive car with good security now spend some money on the home.
  • Are you able to gate your driveway?
  • Please keep an eye open for suspicious activity around your neighbours homes. If they get hit - you could be next.

Offenders cruise locations looking for the vehicles to target. If you see something suspicious - CALL THE POLICE

For more information on avoiding a 'break in' - read the "Home Security" Page

For more advice on avoiding car crime read the  Steer Clear Of Car Crime Leaflet 



Lancashire Police have received several complaints about an email that appears to be from HMR&C stating that the recipient is entitled to a tax refund.  The email includes a link to a form, which is genuine in appearance only. The form asks for personal information which includes full name, date of birth, national insurance number, and bank and credit card details.

Please note.

HMR&C do not send out emails. Any correspondance relating to tax matters would be via post

If anyone does receive an email from that looks like it came from HMR&C, please DO NOT respond to it.

    Bogus loan caller

Released by Lancashire Trading Standards 5 August 2010

Residents are asked to be aware that a company calling itself Quick Finance is somehow following up on queries made about loans.  Their operatives cold call by telephone, claiming to be linked to the major loan provider or credit broker at which enquiries have been made, and offer loans of £20,000 or £30,000 when a fee is paid to India by money transfer.  If a fee is paid, more money will be demanded.  One Lancashire resident has paid over £1,000 and still has no prospect of the loan she needs, and there other complaints from throughout the Northwest

Consumers should not give bank or credit card details over the phone unless they are sure that a company is genuine, and should be aware that money transfer payments are impossible to get back when things go wrong.

Please refer any complaints and further information to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 56-58 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs. via Consumer Direct tel. 08454 040506.    



Lancashire Police issued the following information at 12:10 on Friday 18 June 2010

Lancashire Police are warning householders about a recent spate of burglaries where access has been gained via a uPVC door. Investigations by the Police have revealed a serious problem with uPVC doors if they are not secured properly. Please take note of the following advice:

It has been revealed that is some cases, people are not lifting the handle high enough to engage the door locking mechanism correctly before they turn the key. While the householder may believe that they have locked the door, the position of door handle outside can indicate that the door has not been securely locked. A would be intruder can insert a tool between the door and the frame which pushes back the lock and opens the door.

Police are asking everyone to pay particular attention when locking uPVC doors ensuring, the locking mechanism is activated correctly.

Don't forget - this advice applies to French Doors and Conservatory Doors too



The following information is being circulated by Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Forum and the Lancashire Police. It involves a scam that we have seen similar warnings about before, but this time there is a twist that could blemish the credability of the Neighbourhood Watch movement. The incident in question happened in the Fylde but the Police are concerned that similar incidents could occur anywhere in Lancashire.

A new Neighbourhood Watch Member called to see their local co-ordinator to check on the validity of a phone call that she had received an hour previously. The caller was a man claiming to represent Neighbourhood Watch and he said that having seen her Neighbourhood Watch Sticker displayed in her window, and he was pleased to tell her that she had won 1st Prize in a Neighbourhood Watch Competition……………… a £2,000 Alarm System which they could purchase as prize winner for just a £1.00.

The Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator informed the lady that it was obviously a sales pitch, and asked her to explain to the man when he called round to them at 8.30 that same evening, that they had decided to pass “The Prize” on to a friend (which was the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator - as an attempt to get full details about the people behind this scam). Unfortunately the man phoned again whilst the lady in question was with the co-ordinator and the ladies husband recognised it was a scam and told the “Nice!!!!!!!!! Sales Man” not to bother coming to see them.

The incident is not unsimilar to the item immediately below. The Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Forum and the Police are very concerned about the lengths that people will go to in the quest of getting hold of householders personal details and the risk to the good name of Neighbourhood Watch.

If you get approched by someone you do not know via a phone call, an email, or in person on your doorstep, telling you that they are working for Neighbourhood Watch, Inform your Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator as soon as possible.


Beware of buying second hand cars sold at what appears to be very attractive prices on the Autotrader website.  When enquired about, the vehicles are currently based abroad and a quick sale is desired for personal reasons.  Potential buyers are informed that the vehicle will be sent over using a shipping agent, typically costing £600 or so, either to be halved between the seller and buyer, or paid by the buyer.  There will then be a chance for inspection.  If the buyer is not happy the shipping cost will be refunded.  Be aware that this is a variation on an ongoing vehicle-purchase scam- the vehicle does not exist, and the 'seller' intends to take the money and run.

Buyers are advised to be suspicious of email-only sales where they cannot speak to a seller.  Also be careful when purchasing items to be sent from abroad- it can be dangerous to send money up front.  Check that a seller in the UK actually lives at the house he claims to be resident at, and that a logbook is produced where addresses tie in.


Lancashire Trading Standards have today (5 th May 2010) advised that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served enforcement notices on SAS Fire & Security Systems Ltd and Direct Response Security Systems Ltd after both companies breached Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations and making unsolicited marketing calls.

The ICO received numerous complaints via the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and individuals who had been contacted by the companies without prior consent.  The complaints indicated that the companies had been making unsolicited marketing calls to individuals who had registered with the TPS or had previously asked for the companies not to contact them for marketing or promotional purposes.

Failure to comply with the enforcement notice is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution




Trading Standards Warning

 Lancashire Trading Standards issued the following waring on 29th April 2010

Residents are advised that a number of issues have arisen relating to the alleged non-arrival of concert tickets purchased from, which is believed to be a possible scam.

The site does not appear to be accessible at the moment but may start up again. 

If ordered tickets are not received, and customers cannot get in touch with the supplier, they should contact their credit card company in writing explaining the problem and asking for their credit card to be refunded with the amount paid, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.  If a debit card has been used this section does not apply, however in this case the credit card issuer should be asked if there is a chargeback scheme for contracts where fraud or non-performance is an issue.

Please refer any complaints to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 55 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs PR1 3NU via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506. If there is any loss of money the matter should also be referred to the police.


Throughout Lancashire:  Consumers are receiving emails purporting to be from HSBC, informing the consumer that they have logged in unsuccessfully for internet banking, and asking them to re-try using the link provided. The link takes you to a realistic looking fake HSBC website when you are asked to re-enter your personal details and account details. 

Your are strongly advised not to respond to any emails that look like they are from banks asking for personal details and if there is reported to be a problem with your account, speak to your local branch of the bank concerned.  Do not in any circumstances  reply to any email asking for personal and banking information.



 (This is not new but Lancashire Trading Standards are warning us that it is going round again,)

Residents throughout the county of Lancashire are asked to be aware of doorstep callers distributing cards that relate to free entry into a draw to win a new car. The draw does seem to be legitimate (and takes place once a year) but the doorstep callers are asking for the householders to give their details, including a telephone number. You are strongly recommended not give any personal details to these people unless you are looking to buy a very expensive, (£2500 approx.), vacuum cleaner. The scam works like this:

You WILL receive a telephone call a few days later informing you that you have won as a minor daily prize - free cleaning of a carpet in your home.  This free carpet cleaning is just a ploy to gain entry into your home and use high pressure sales techniques centred around a cleaning demonstration of a very expensive vacuum cleaner. You will be faced with sob stories about how the salesman is just short of his sales targets and how he may get the sack if he fails on this particular sale opportunity. (You may even get a phone call from his manager confirming this). You may be offered a very attractive, (their words not mine), of a substantial discount if you conclude a deal there and then.  Next will be an offer of the demonstration model at a much reduced price. The last ditch effort may be trying to shame you to buy as you have wasted their time. (Cheek of it). Oh and just one more thing to be aware Of. It may be a flirty woman who turns up to do the carpet cleaning.

Warn anyone you think may be vulnerable, (friend or family). People with Alzheimer's disease who have been on their own could be conned into signing an order which would make a very big hole in their savings. What's more,  they probably have difficulty in realising what they have actually agreed to pay. (One firm working this type of scheme boasts that the elderly are their best customers.) 

Trading Standards urge you to be wary about giving out details on the doorstep and to think carefully before agreeing to let traders visit your home.

Click Here to read an actual account by a victim of a similar scam

Lancashire Trading Standards advises that unless residents really want an expensive vacuum cleaner they should not accept the offer of a free carpet clean, since it is sometimes hard to say NO to an unwanted product once salesmen are in your home.

As a rule of thumb, never to deal with cold callers. However, if you have already done so and signed an order, remember that you have a seven-day cooling off period during which you have the right to cancel work agreed to, or any purchases made over £35. Also be aware that the contract will not be enforceable against the customer unless information about your right to cancel was given in writing.

Please refer any complaints or information to Lancashire Trading Standards Service, 56-58 Guildhall Street, Preston, Lancs via Consumer Direct tel 08454 040506. If there is any loss of money the matter should also be referred to the police.



In the last few weeks, there have been some 'sneak in' burglaries in the Central Lancashire Area where the offenders have gained access through doors of the property that had not been secured whilst the occupants have been in their house.

Please ensure that you keep your doors locked at all times and keep handbags, car keys, mobile telephones etc out of sight. 

Remember - If you see anything suspicious, report it via the Police non-urgent line 101, or alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.




Lancashire Trading Standards wish to alert the public to clothing and household goods collections that, thanks to carefully worded flyers, seem to be collecting to provide for charitable causes but are in fact companies who are out to make profits for themselves. One particular company that Lancashire Trading Standards are keeping their eye on is an Essex-based company called  Supporting Arms Ltd that has been distributing blue collection bags, (that strongly resemble charity collection bags), all over Lancashire. But beware, there are many more.

Typically, the householder will receive a leaflet or bag through the letter box appealing for donations of unwanted clothing, (and sometimes household goods, jewellery and cosmetics), to be distributed to poor families in Eastern Europe or the Third World. Householders are asked to leave the goods in plastic bags at the front of their house in a prominent position. These are later collected anonymously by men in unmarked vehicles.

How to tell if a collection is a genuine charity 

The donation bag should state:

  • The charity's name and registered charity number.
  • The authorised collection agent's name, address and telephone number.
  • A financial statement indicating what proceeds the charity will receive.

The law also requires bona fide charity collectors to carry identification.

Where to find information

  • Contact the Charity Commission help line 0870 333 0123
  • Contact your Local Athority's Licensing Department to find out if the collector has a license to collect in your area.
  • Check the organisation's or charity's website.
  • Contact your local Trading Standards to check on suspicioius companies
  • You can also check the legitimacy of a company by visiting Companies House website which is Bear in mind that status as an active company does not necessarily ensure that its agents are trustworthy

    A Fishy Tale

Buyers beware! That’s the warning from Lancashire Police about buying “fresh” fish from door to door sellers.

Trading Standards have reported that a number of fish sellers have been operating in the area and selling frozen fish which was unfit for human consumption.

Residents who had been told by “white van” fish sellers that they had to buy in bulk, the had bought £200 - £300 worth of the fish, then were unable to eat it and could not get their money back. The fish sellers wanted the money in advance and even told the residents that they would drive them to the bank to get the money.

  • It is not against the law for traders to sell fish door to door. But you should always take care to get a receipt which clearly shows the traders name and full address in case of complaint.
  • Don’t hand money over before you have examined the fish.
  • Don’t buy more than you can actually use - £200 buys an awful lot of fish!



Benefit Advice Companies

Throughout Lancashire, various benefit advice companies based in Ecclestone and Liverpool are currently advertising their services helping people claim disability benefits and tribunals. These companies charge a considerable portion, in some cases 45%, of arrears awarded after a successful appeal, which in many Disability Living Allowance appeals could be £1,000+, money that the claimants are due and need as most of them are on low incomes already. 

Please be aware that free advice and representation is available to all Lancashire residents from Lancashire County Council's  Welfare Rights Service and other agencies. 

Please also be aware of the website where you can check your circumstances using an on line calculator. This calculator will indicate the possibility of entitlement to available benifits. Use of this calculator is also free of charge.


West Lancashire Police released the following information at 15-18 on 23 November 2009


Two males have been going door-to-door in Church Road Tarleton offering FREE raffle tickets with fantastic prizes such as foreign holidays. They are not asking for money but do try to extract some personal information from the householder. The descriptions of the two males are as follows:-
  • The first male is short and stocky, short black hair with narrow piercing eyes. He was wearing a blue fleece with KMC or KCM logo. This male does all the talking.
  • The second male is taller, scruffy shoulder length brown hair and unshaven. Wearing black and grey "adidas" jacket. This male waits at the end of the path or driveway and appears to be weighing up the properties and cars parked in driveways. 
  • Both males have Liverpool accents and claim that they come from Kirby.
Please remember DO NOT engage in conversation with callers at your door no matter how good an offer they appear to be making. If these males call at your door, DO NOT give any personal information out to them and notify the Police immediately.

free templates
Make a Free Website with Yola.