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Shirley North Safer Neighbourhood Team Newsletters – Archive

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Crime Alerts

Be aware! Information about scams and alerts


Online Scams Awareness Session

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams.

Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Complete the online Friends Against Scams awareness session and help to raise awareness throughout your community from the comfort of your home.

Please use the link below to access the online Scams Awareness session and help Croydon Trading Standards raise awareness and protect our residents:


For further information on Friends against Scams and for advice please visit:

Please remember to report to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 if you have actually been the victim of a scam or call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 0808 223 1133 if you require advice on an issue you are having with a trader.

Phishing for Information

Government warnings regarding state sponsored cyber hacking of collective personal data are currently in the news, but we should always be on our guard for attempts to steal our own personal data.

Cyber criminals use fake messages as bait to lure you into clicking on the links within their scam email or text message in an attempt to get you divulge sensitive information, particularly financial details such as those of your bank account. This is one of the most enduring types of scam and according to Citizens Advice research currently accounts for almost half of all scams, of which half of those concerned a malicious parcel delivery scam.

How do these work?
We all now live in an online world where the sound of the doorbell, or a knock on the door, tells us that a parcels or packages are being delivered by one of the various delivery firms, or by Royal Mail.

We are all so used to receiving goods in this way, that we often think nothing of a an email purporting to be from Royal Mail or Evri informing us that they “tried to deliver a parcel but no-one opened the door “ or perhaps “ has arrived at the warehouse but cannot be delivered (for some reason)”.

These emails are sophisticated in their appearance, often bearing what appears to be genuine addresses and other details of the business. What all of them will do is to seek your financial information, requesting sums of money to allow the goods to be “delivered” and to gain access to your accounts to enable further fraudulent actions in the future.

If you do receive a message like this, take a minute to think –
If it is a genuine order, they already have your details.
Did you actually order this package?
Why are you being asked to enter your details on another website?

If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS):

If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime and incurred a financial loss or have been hacked as a result of responding to a phishing message, you should contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via

Further advice can be obtained by emailing


Trading Standards Alert – Choose Safe, NOT Fake!

The Intellectual Property Office have launched a consumer protection campaign against counterfeit beauty & hygiene, which runs between 28 February 2024 – 31 March 2024.

The sale of counterfeit beauty and hygiene goods is on the rise. These products, which include skincare, cosmetics, perfumes and other hygiene products, are untested, unregulated and unsafe. They often contain a cocktail of toxic ingredients which on testing have been found to include horse urine, animal faeces, lead, mercury and arsenic.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) communications campaign aims to raise awareness of the health risks of buying and using fake products in a bid to deter people from choosing fake over the real deal.

Trading Standards are supporting this campaign and want to spread the campaign messages to ensure more consumers know how to stay safe and avoid the risks.

Did you know that fake beauty and hygiene products can contain ingredients harmful to your skin and general health?

Don’t risk a nasty reaction.

Choose safe, not fake

How to stay safe
We know the lure of a bargain is hard to ignore. But knowing how to spot a fake and how to avoid falling victim to scams that offer you legitimate-looking goods for a fraction of the price can help you stay safe.
What to look out for and how to keep yourself safe:

  1. Vet the seller Do they look official? Have you bought from this seller before? Even if on a well know marketplace or retailer website, does this seller seem legitimate? Does the seller have a returns policy? If you are in doubt, look for a genuine online review, not just recommendations from influencers to buy the item.
  2. Avoid payments by bank transfer Always beware of retailers asking for payment to be made via bank transfer. Well known credit card providers like Visa or Mastercard, and services like PayPal offer protection to buyers if the goods don’t arrive or are proven to be counterfeit.
  3. Be wary of social media ads taking you to fake online platforms Many sellers of fakes set up online platforms with the sole aim of conning you out of your hard-earned cash and they use social media ads to entice you. Always check the domain name is authentic – you can use website checkers for this. If you’re buying goods check that the little padlock appears in the URL bar when checking out – this indicates it’s a secure payment platform. Check reviews and make sure they have a returns policy. Fake platforms will often offer no way of contacting the business which is a sign that it may not exist.
  4. Question the price if much cheaper than elsewhere Whether buying online or in person, always think about the price. Scammers often sell counterfeit goods at discounted prices to make you drop your guard. If the item is significantly cheaper than you’d expect, that’s a good reason for alarm bells to ring. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. Trust your instincts Does the item on offer look and feel like an authentic product? Sellers of counterfeits often make spelling mistakes in their descriptions and sometimes on the products themselves, which is an obvious warning sign. Spelling and grammar mistakes can indicate fakes!
  6. Don’t just take their word for it This is particularly the case for those considering purchasing fake products off the back of a recommendation from friends or family. Your skin is unique. What may have worked for them might not for you. Don’t take the risk of putting unsafe ingredients on your skin.

Choose safe, not fake.

What about ‘dupes’?
To be clear, fakes aren’t the same as dupes. Dupes often appear under their own branding which can look similar to well-known brands but are their own brand. They aren’t claiming to be the well-known brand or using that brand’s design, visuals and name without prior permission of the brand-owner.

What to do if you suspect fake?
If you or someone you know has purchased a fake product or suspects that a website is selling counterfeit products, you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.


Trading Standards Warning – Unsafe Teeth Whitening!

We are aware that there are many people advertising teeth whitening services or kits online and on social media. Tooth whitening is a dental treatment which can permanently alter the structure of your teeth. It should only be undertaken following a proper assessment by a registered dentist and on their prescription.

A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness amongst consumers in regards to the risks of dodgy products. Click here for the General Dental Council Advice Leaflet.

Thinking about whitening your teeth?
Caution: Say no to fake whitening!
These dodgy products may promise a Hollywood smile, but they often contain harsh substances that can erode enamel and lead to long-term damage.

Before falling for the #ForFakeSake trap, take a moment to study the  ingredients.

Learn more here –


Quishing – QR Scams

QR codes seemed to really take off during the pandemic, when restaurants had us enthusiastically scanning them so we could order from our phones and minimise interactions with waiting staff.

But as with anything, they’ve been exploited by cybercriminals to deceive victims into using copycat sites. This con is known as ‘quishing’, or QR phishing.

The criminals have cottoned on to the fact that we tend to assume such codes are genuine and scan them without a second thought.

For example, in recent years phoney QR codes stuck on parking meters by scammers have misdirected drivers to spoofed payment apps, where they end up unwittingly enrolling in costly monthly subscriptions.

  • Always go direct to a website by looking up a company on a reputable search engine or app store and picking the highest relevant organic result.
  • Watch out for search ad scams that can appear at the top of results pages on search engines, as a recent investigation found scammers imitating legitimate parking firms on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

If you have been scammed or duped, please report to Citizens Advice Consumer Advice Line on 0808 223 1133 or go to the following website to report online:


Be Aware of Romance Fraud

What is a romance fraud?
Romance frauds happen when the victim thinks they’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating website or app or via email or phone, but the other person is using a fake profile and identity to form a relationship with them. They gain the victim’s trust and ask them for money using some made up but believable reason or enough personal information to steal their identity.

How does it happen?
Romance fraudsters are masters of manipulation and will go to great lengths to create a false reality in which an individual feels that they are making reasonable and rational decisions. The challenge for many family and friends of romance fraud victims is being able to disrupt the false reality created to enable the victim to see the situation for what it really is – a fraud.

A booklet has been designed to demonstrate the clever tactics used by romance fraudsters with a view to empowering the knowledge of our communities. It also dispels the myths of shame and embarrassment often associated with this crime by highlighting the link to coercive control.

You can access the booklet by visiting the Thames Valley Police website:

If you have been a victim of a Romance Fraud please report this to the police via 101 or online at:

Please ensure you contact your bank to report the situation and get advice on how to protect yourself from further risk of fraud.


Register My Appliance

AMDEA is the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances, the UK trade association that represents over 85% of all small and large domestic appliances sold in the UK. Products include most of the UK’s top selling brands of major white goods, other large and small kitchen appliances, heating, water heating, floor care, waste disposal and ventilation equipment.

You can register your appliance on the website to ensure you:

  • Never miss out on appliance recalls
  • Be the first to know of any safety repairs or recalls
  • Improve your after sales service
  • Keep in touch with upgrade news

Simply register new & older models here…

If you’ve just purchased, register right now

Check the details of your older appliances. Most brands will let you register these too!

If you need advice in regards to a purchase or have issues with a trader, please report to Citizens Advice Consumer Advice Line on 0808 223 1133 or go to the following website to report online:

For more information, visit the Register My Appliance website.

Reporting Scam Calls

Criminals often impersonate legitimate organisations in an attempt to dupe their victims and leave them out of pocket. So it’s important to be extra cautious if you receive a text message or a call from a number you don’t know.

Scam calls often involve criminals purporting to be from HMRC, your bank or from a legitimate business such as well-known energy providers or phone network providers offering better deals or ‘upgrades’ to your account. Texts often involve parcel delivery scams from various couriers or Royal Mail, or even scammers pretending to be your friends and family!

How to report and where to report
Most major communication networks have signed up to the 7726 service, making it very easy to report scams texts/whatsapps or calls to your mobile.

7726 is a number that most mobile customers using UK networks can text to report unwanted SMS messages or phone calls on a mobile. The number ‘7726’ was chosen because it spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad!

The following Ofcom web page has some useful information on scam calls and messages:

The link below takes you to a ‘How to report’ page and takes you through a very quick guide on reporting numbers to 7726 on iPhone or Android. The videos are very short and easy to understand.’ve%20been%20the%20victim%20of%20a,visiting%20the%20Action%20Fraud%20website

To report a scam text you copy the content of the text and start a new message to 7726, paste in the content and send the message. The service will then reply to you asking for the number the message was sent from. You copy and paste the number or manually type it in and send it as a message.
To report a scam call number you just need to copy the number, put it into a text writing ‘Call’ before you put the number in and send it to 7726.

When you’ve done this, it alerts your mobile provider to investigate the number and potentially block it from the network, if it’s found to be a nuisance.

Please also remember to block the number on your handset!

See below an example of what it looks like on your phone when you report these texts or calls.

If you have actually engaged with a scammer over the phone and been defrauded or given out personal information as a result, please report this to the police on 101 or Action Fraud: Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 or visit

If you have been scammed or duped into contracting with a business or a trader, please report to Citizens Advice Consumer Advice Line on 0808 223 1133 or go to the following website to report online:


Further information about female targeting vulnerable and elderly residents in the area from Shirley North Police: Suspect is black, slim build and in mid-thirties.