Every week in the Dudley Police Control Room we get a range of calls from local residents who in one way or another have become victims of fraud. Fraud is not new. Offences committed by fraud have been around for a long time but we seem to be getting an increase in the calls and also the type. Many of them are related in one way or another to the Internet, either responding to an e-mail or purchasing goods. Generally the caller has received an offer of something or seen an item that they may want.
For many of the cases when you sit back and look at the ‘offer’ it immediately strikes you that this is just ‘too good to be true’. Many of the victims also recognise this as well, frequently commenting ‘yes, I thought it didn’t seem quite right but then I thought maybe it is.’ I’m not talking here about the fake e-mail from your bank requesting details, etc but that item on some selling sites that is such a ‘great bargain’. Often when we speak with the caller you realise that they have already spent significant amounts of their money either buying non existent shares or releasing money from non-existent accounts abroad.
Earlier this week I received a call from my bank wanting to tell me about a great offer they had but first they needed to check that they were talking to the right person and could I just confirm some security details. Well, as my kids will testify, a Cold Call alone is enough to start me off on a rant but a cold call asking for my security details had me well and truly in Victor Meldrew mode.
Now I would never be rude to someone but I pointed out that as a responsible Bank they could not expect to phone up out of the blue and ask for my security details, clearly I had no idea who they were and whether it was a genuine call or not. This seemed to pass my caller by as he continued to believe it was a genuine request on his part because he couldn’t be sure I was who I said I was! The caller finally gave up, with both of us saying that we were going to speak to his supervisor!
Anyway having checked with the bank later that it was a genuine call they were apologetic insisting that the caller should not have asked for security details ‘if I did not want to give them!’ The moral here really is that you should not give out your details to anyone, whether by phone, E Mail, post or any other method unless you are 100% sure who they are (and a cold call is not 100% sure!!!).
There are many support systems out there if you think that you may have been the victim of Fraud or feel that you want to take some precautions and while such crime is an increasing area of activity it does remain rare and certainly is generally easily prevented if you ask yourself a simple question – Is this too good to be true?
Watching the queues developing outside some of our High Street clubs this weekend had me thinking again about the popularity of one club compared to another. Its one of those great mysteries of life – no, not why all those people would queue on the coldest night of the year but why for that particular place. It’s always one of those things, one week Bar X is the ‘in’ place then by next week the crowd have moved on to Bar Y with no real sign of anything changing.
Nice Day for a white wedding
We had a busy night at the end of last week and it was only as I was heading home in the morning that it dawned on me what an extraordinary night it had actually been. Unlike our counterparts on TV programs day-to-day policing can be very repetitive and if you have been following our Twitter posts you may have picked up on some recurring themes. But this night clearly had something different. It was busy yes, but nothing serious, nothing that stood out, just lots of calls and demands to get officers to different places. It kept everyone very busy and as I said it was only as I was going home that some of the Incidents came back to mind.
I suppose a word of warning is required here – any resemblance to real people in any of the posts is, unfortunately entirely real! These are real people’s lives and while I may be a little bit flippant here and there about the incidents, each and every incident that we deal with is somebodies personal tragedy (we don’t tend to get called to the good bits!). Often the incidents are not of the persons own making, being entirely outside their control but too often there are times when you just think…..
Early in the night we got a call to an address where there was a family gathering to celebrate some occasion. I don’t know what it was and it doesn’t really matter but somebody said something about somebody else that somebody took exception to before long all the family members were involved and Coleslaw was flying around the house. Yes, literally everywhere, carpets, walls, clothes, hair, everywhere! It was fortunately one of those times when the arrival of the officers immediately calmed everything down and brought a degree of sense and embarrassment to everyone.
Then there was perhaps one of the oddest calls of the night, if not all time. A dispute over plans for a ‘White Wedding’. Apparently one family wanted it and the other didn’t. Ok so far, planning weddings is a very stressful thing and I guess it’s not an uncommon discussion point between those involved. But to reach the point of calling in the police to solve your wedding plans does not really point to a harmonious future. Police officers have many skills but Wedding Planing is not too high on our list of required training so both families were told that if they felt the need to sort out their plans by fighting they would all have the opportunity to discuss it at length in our cells.
Anyway having had the night start off with this dispute it was even more alarming to find ourselves called at 4:30 in the morning to a couple fighting on a car park, particularly as they had only gotten married the previous evening and this was the start of wedded bliss. Perhaps the shortest lived honeymoon period ever.
In among all of this we received a 999 call from a lady saying that she was babysitting her Granddaughters while their mother was out for the night but that the girls (17 & 14) were playing up. She had called the mother but she had said to call us to ‘teach them a lesson’! The only lesson that was taught was what an emergency call is, what the police are for and what a mothers (and fathers) responsibilities are. We did not go!
That’s it for this week, if you want to comment please use the buttons below. If you want to follow what we’re up to you can follow us on Twitter.