Game or Criminal Toolkit?

Essex Police’s Fraud Alert System Newsletter no.36

Essex Police are reminding residents that what appear to be innocent games posted on social media have the potential to allow criminals access to your personal data—ultimately
allowing them to get their hands on your money.

Local policing teams have recently identified an increase in Facebook posts encouraging
users to post their ‘Film Star Name’ using a pet’s name and mothers maiden name, or
asking questions such as what was number one in the charts when you were 10.
These seemingly harmless questions can provide criminals with lots of personal
information that can assist them with stealing your identity.

For example:
• What is your film star name?
First Pet and Mother’s Maiden Name
• What was number one in the charts when you were 10?
Allows criminals to work out your Date of Birth
• What car did you pass your driving test in?
Details of first car
• Describe the city you were born in with a clue?
Town of birth

All of these are potentially answers to bank account security questions.

Remember to Take Five before posting personal details on social media and make sure
to check your security settings so that your posts can only be seen by those who you
want to see them.

This information was provided via Essex Police’s Fraud Alert System Newsletter no.36

Fleeceware on the Rise

Essex Police’s Fraud Alert System Newsletter no. 33

Fleeceware is a recently coined term that refers to mobile applications that come with excessive subscription fees, and in March over 200 such apps were discovered being advertised on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The applications attract users with the promise of a free 3-day trial, but once the trial is
over, they are charged a recurring subscription fee – even if they have deleted the app –
until they cancel the subscription in their device’s app subscription settings. One app
offers a short free trial followed by a $66 (£47.73) per week subscription, potentially
costing the victim $3,432 (£2,482.19) per year unless cancelled. These fleeceware
applications are actively advertised on major social networks.

How to avoid Fleeceware apps:
• Be wary of free trials of less than a week – make sure you understand how much
you will be charged and that the app is worth the recurring fee.
• Be sceptical of viral adverts for apps – the adverts for fleeceware are likely to have
enticing messaging and images to attract users’ attention. They likely do not reflect
the actual functionality of the application.
• Read the small print – a closer look will likely reveal the true price of the app. Pay
close attention to the ‘In-app purchases’ section and be aware that even if it is a free
trial, as there may be automatic charges thereafter.
• Secure your payments – ensure that your payment methods are secured behind a
password or biometric check. This can also prevent accidental subscriptions by

This information was provided via Essex Police’s Fraud Alert System Newsletter no.33

Reporting Harmful Content

Staying safe advice
Staying Safe Advice

Report Harmful Content (RHC) is a UK wide reporting centre provided by the UK Safer Internet Centre. It is operated by South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL). It was designed to help people report harmful online content. RHC does this by giving up to date information on social media community standards. It also gives direct links to the correct reporting facilities across different platforms.

You can find more information at the Reporting Harmful Content website

This information was provided via the UK Safer Internet Centre’s e-bulletin. You can also find online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online on the UKSIC website.

Building Scam warning

Staying safe advice
Staying Safe Advice

Tendring Neighbourhood Watch would like to remind people that leaflets that come through your letterbox from businesses offering building, roofing, painting and decorating, gardening and other services are not always from reputable businesses.

While most of these leaflets are a business’s way of advertising legitimate services, there are however some that are targeted at the elderly and most vulnerable members of our communities. 

Neighbourhood Watch advise people to get quotations, not estimates, from at least 3 different businesses for any work you may require doing.  Try and get recommendations from friends, neighbours and family before deciding on the business to carry out the work, normally when people recommend a business, they will have had a positive experience with that business.

Check if the business is registered with a trade body or has approval from Trading Standards, this can be done by visiting the relevant trade body on line and checking that businesses registration, google the business name and see what comes up. 

Check your home insurance policies it may be that you are covered for any particular damage that has occurred to your property and if so, contact your insurer. Your insurer may even make arrangements for one of their approved contractors to do the work.

If you are being pressured by a business that is doing work for you to pay up front whether in cash or some other means, DON’T, a reputable business will never ask for money before the job is completed.  If you are feeling threatened, you should inform the police.

Read more about Doorstep Scams and how to avoid becoming a victim of them at Neighbourhood Watch’s website