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Free online Loan Shark Training Session

A free online Loan shark training session will be available on Tuesday 17th November at 11.00 am. The training will be with Nadeem Mahammed from Birmingham Council’s Illegal Money Lending Team

Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, neighbours and even you. It’s not always easy to spot a loan shark as they come in all shapes and sizes and will at first appear friendly, just part of the community. It is when you can’t pay that they will turn on you.

To book a place contact susan_clark@sandwell.gov.uk

Loan sharks:
• Are running an unauthorised businesses under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
• Often refuse to tell the borrower how much they still owe or when repayments finish.
• Often increase the debt or add additional amounts.
• May take items as security- including passports, bank cards and driving licences.
• May resort to violence, threats and intimidation.
• What is being done to stop this?

The Illegal Money Lending Team investigates illegal money lending and any related offences. In the past this has included violence, blackmail, drugs offences, threats, kidnap and even rape.

If you think you may be involved with a loan shark, call the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or Text 0786 002 2116.  E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk.

Visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk


Outdoor Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation COVID-19 Guidance

Public Health have created an overview from the official Government COVID-19 guidance and Sport England resources to aid organisations returning in their delivery of outdoor physical activities, sport and recreation.

Please note, there is separate guidance for Out of School Activity for children. If you are providing out of school activities for children, please refer to this guidance as well.

The report can be accessed by clicking the adjacent link Physical Activity Providers V3.

Source: Public Health

 


West Midlands Police – Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

A message from Chief Superintendent Mat Shaer, Force Lead for Hate Crime:

“Dear All,

You will all, no doubt, be aware that due to the current Covid-19 situation, this season’s Pride events will be held entirely online.  I am aware through contact with the LGBTQ+ community; both within West Midlands Police and wider, and national policing of a planned campaign of homophobic abuse. It is suggested certain individuals are planning to attack websites and social media accounts that have posted support for the LGBTQ+ community.

This kind of harassment is clearly unacceptable. I would like to reassure anybody who is concerned that this is being taken seriously. There are robust plans locally and nationally to deal with any incidents as well as to support those who may be affected.

I would encourage anyone affected to make contact with West Midlands Police (Hate Crime App, Live Chat, 101) or True Vision or third party reporting centres and/or their community support networks.”


Regulators Urge Safe Giving to Charities as Communities Respond to Coronavirus Pandemic

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator urge people to ‘give safely’ as people continue to respond with generosity in the current crisis.

At this time of national emergency charities are coming together to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is vital at this unprecedented time of need that donations reach their intended cause. Charities will form a core part of our collective response to the pandemic, so we encourage people to give to existing registered charities. By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with the charity law framework.

The regulators encourage people to support registered charities, including the National Emergencies Trust (NET) national coronavirus fundraising appeal, launched yesterday to raise funds for local charities responding to the pandemic. The Commission helped to establish the NET following other devastating disasters, and it is well equipped to coordinate the charity sector’s contribution to emergency response.

Thousands of other registered charities are also dealing with the pandemic or continuing to do important work throughout the country to support vulnerable people and communities.

Advice for the public on giving safely to registered charities is:

  • check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
  • make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending

To read the full Charity Commission article click here.

Source: Charity Commission


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Increased Risk of Fraud and Cybercrime Against Charities

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams.

The Charity Commission are issuing this alert to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds and cyber-attacks.

All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters.

Webinar about the risks of coronavirus frauds: what to watch out for and how to stay safe click here to watch.

The Fraud Advisory Panel and Charity Commission have pre-recorded a webinar with sector partners to help you spot COVID-19 related fraud, and better protect your charity from harm.

The Charity Commission have joined by fraud experts from the City of London Police and Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy who share practical advice and tips.

To read the full Charity Commission article click here.

Source: Charity Commission


The Charity Commission Issues COVID-19 Guidance for the Charity Sector

The Charity Commission in the UK has issued advice for charities across the country on handling potential coronavirus (COVID-19) related fraud and cybercrime.

According to the commission, fraudsters are exploiting the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak to carry out cybercrime. Police have reported a spike in coronavirus related scams as well, which has prompted the commission to issue an alert to help charities in minimising the risk of falling prey to such frauds and cyber-attacks.

The Charity Commission warned that all charities across the UK, particularly those offering services and supporting local communities during the COVID-19 crisis, could be the targets of fraudsters.

The commission believes that there are various ways in which charities can be a victim of scams, including those which involve the online sale of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and gloves.

Warning that certain sellers have been fraud, the commission said that in some cases, once payment is done online, no products are dispatched or the products do not comply with the necessary standards.

The Charity Commission wants charities to undertake due diligence in case they are purchasing from a company or person they did not know previously. Furthermore, when charities are not sure from whom they are buying, it is advisable that the concerned person discusses with fellow trustees, colleagues or volunteers before making the purchase, said the commission.

The charities’ regulator wants charity employees to be cautious all the time when asked to make changes to bank details or sending payments to a new account. It urges charities to follow their validation procedures, wherever possible, and check the authenticity of such messages prior to making any payments or carrying out banking changes. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

The Charity Commission said that charities should always question unsolicited offers of goods or other financial support which require an advanced fee payment. It warned that just because someone knows the charity employee’s name and contact details, it does not confirm that they are genuine.

Source: Government Computing


Trading Standards Team Warning Against Coronavirus-Related Scams

Sandwell’s Trading Standards team is urging people to be on their guard against falling victim to rogue traders and distraction burglars.

Officers say that opportunists are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to knock on doors and defraud residents.

Reports include people posing as healthcare workers, offering to shop for older people, taking their money and not coming back, as well as the more usual attempts to carry out often unnecessary work to drives, gardens and roofs.

These rogue traders carry out poor quality and unfinished work, agreeing a price and then claiming more work is needed to increase the cost, they are very persuasive and often aggressive.

Council Leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said: “We want to warn people to be extra vigilant, don’t open your door to anyone that you don’t know.”

There are a number of coronavirus-related scams in operation.

Doorstep crime:
• Criminals are targeting older people on their doorstep, offering to do shopping. Thieves take their money and don’t return.

• Doorstep cleansing services offering to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Online scams:
• Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments putting people at the risk of identity theft. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people who are affected by coronavirus locally.

• Fake online resources – such as false coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing programme which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data.

A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.

Refund scams:
• Companies and websites offering fake holiday refunds to people who have been forced to cancel their trips.

Counterfeit goods:
• Fake hand sanitisers, face masks and coronavirus swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products are often dangerous and unsafe with some potentially harmful hand sanitise containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde) which was banned for human use in 2014.

Telephone scams:
• As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

Residents are urged to stop cold calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0345 070 0707.

Donation scams:
• There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a coronavirus ‘vaccine’.

If you are thinking of making a donation, please think about your local voluntary sector which is always looking for additional funds.

Loan sharks:
• Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence.

If you or someone you know has been targeted by a scam please report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For advice and information on how to check if something is a scam visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam

National Trading Standards is also issuing urgent advice to help prevent people falling victim to coronavirus-related scams through is Friends Against Scams campaign.

They provide free online training modules to empower people to take a stand against scams at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Residents can contact Sandwell’s trading standards team by calling 03454 04 05 06 or online at www.sandwell.gov.uk/tradingstandards


How to Organise a Bike Marking Event Tips

Are you thinking of organising a bike marking event in your community? Then take a look at PC Ford’s tips on how to organise a successful bike marketing event.

1 Promote it Properly

Whether it is an organised event in a local business, community centre or school or just an ad hoc event, it is important to let as many cyclists know as possible.

2 Use Social Media

Use Twitter and Facebook to publicise the details of a public event or encourage other community groups to promote events internally to volunteers or staff that cycle to work.

3 Location

If you are trying to catch people on their daily commute then set up on a main route where you can capture passing riders. Make sure you are clearly visible to attract cyclists.

4 Organisation and Equipment

Have a good system in place. Don’t just turn up with staff or volunteers and start making cycles. Ensure you have the correct equipment (e.g. clipboards, pens, gazebo, bin, etc.). Have one or two volunteers or staff (depending on how busy you are) with the forms to hand to capture and collect registration forms if you are registering the bikes with BikeRegister or other schemes.

5 Staffing

Ensure you have correctly trained staff or volunteers that know exactly how to mark cycles and obtain the correct registration information from the public.

Remember to look after volunteers or staff if it is going to be a long day.

Source: BikeRegister

 


Victims Summit at Villa Park

David Jamieson, the Police and Crime Commissioner, would like to invite you to the 2020 Victims Summit on the 27th of February 2020, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm at Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park, Birmingham B6 6HE.

The Summit will bring together services he has commissioned, regionally and locally, as a result of recommendations made by the Victims Commission. The Commission has played an integral role, assisting him to shape delivery for victims of crime across the region and over the past 5 years he has commissioned some new and innovative projects to support victims in ways which are meaningful to them.

The Summit will address ‘Online Abuse and Technological Victimisation’ which will be the theme of the summit.

The morning will address challenges of online abuse and tech victimisation from the perspective of survivors/victims, an academic from BCU and providers funded to support victims through the PCC’s Office. The Victims’ Commissioner, Vera Baird, will also give an overview of the work being undertaken by her office in 2020.

The afternoon slot will address remedies and support available for victims from the point of view of NSPCC, Refuge’s specialist Tech Abuse Service and a panel made up of all the speakers.

Please book your place via Eventbrite.

 


Make a Difference in 2020 – Volunteer!

Do you enjoy visiting Jubilee Park? Then why not join the Friends of Jubilee Park and help them to keep the park looking good.

They are looking to connect with individuals who can spare the time to help them undertake small community activities and events in the park, to help them keep the park tidy by supporting their litter picking events or by becoming a member of their management committee, all needed to help keep the park a beautiful space throughout the year.

They’d also encourage all park users to do their bit by using the bins provided to dispose of litter and cleaning up after their dogs.

Where would Jubilee Park be without its volunteers? Nowhere! People can volunteer during the week and at weekends as well as evenings during the summer.

If you feel that volunteering with the Friends of Jubilee Park would make 2020 richer and more meaningful for you, please contact Eileen Churchill on 0121 5204322 and see if there is a match for you.

#Stronger Sandwell


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