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Cybercrime has been a lucrative business for swindlers since the early days of the internet. Despite the advancements in security, such as biometrics, and promising payment trends, like the blockchain, hackers and criminals will always be one-step ahead of us. That’s why it’s important for us to become knowledgeable on the common ways that scammers use to steal your hard-earned money so that we can thwart any threats before they become a problem.

1. Phishing scams.

This is one of the oldest, and most prevalent, scams out there. In fact, GoDaddy customers are currently dealing with a phishing scam.

Phishing scams are when cybercriminals install malicious software onto your device after you click on a link that you received in an email or social media message, in order to trick you into sharing login credentials to your bank account, social network, work account, or cloud storage provider. They may even be able to steal your health insurance or frequent flyer miles!

Sometimes these emails or messages look legit. I know that I’ve received emails in the past that appeared to be from PayPal or my bank. Luckily, the address from the email sender didn’t exactly look right and I compared it to the address that I knew was from the bank – before I opened it. Sure enough, it didn’t match and I deleted the email immediately.

2. Free trial offer.

We’ve all come across those free one-month trials for an amazing product like a weight-loss program. The catch? You just have to pay for shipping and handling. And, that’s just a low price of $5,95!

Unfortunately, there’s the fine print that you’ll never be able to read – probably because it’s in a colour that blends into the background. This fine print states that you’ll be required to pay expensive monthly fees. Suddenly, that $5.95 for shipping and handling is costing you $99 per month after the free trial expires.

3. In the name of love.

With a fair amount of people looking for Mr. or Mrs. right online, it, unfortunately, makes sense that scammers would use this as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting people. As the Federal Trade Commission points out, these sick individuals “create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel.” They then profess their love and then tell you a sob story which can be resolved if you send them money.

Most of the time they’ll ask you to set-up a new account and have you transfer money into the new account. Although, if you watch Catfish, some of these people simply have your wire the cash to a place like Western Union.

4. “A friend has sent you an E-Card.”

This is another email scam that has been around for years. Basically, you receive an E-Card in your email inbox that appears to be from a friend or family member. You open the card, which results in malicious software being downloaded and installed on your operating system. Ultimately, this software will begin sharing private data and financial information to a fraudulent server that is being controlled by cybercriminals.

5. The Wifi Danger Zone.

We’ve been in a public space, such as a coffee shop or airport, and willingly log into the local Wi-Fi zone. The login page resembles a free service or a pay service like Boingo Wireless, and since it appears to be on the up-and-up, you join the network.

In some cases, there’s a nearby crook who is actually mining your computer for ebank, credit card, and other password information. This is why regtech is so important for financial institutions to implement.

6. It’s the “too good to be true” offer.

Did you just receive an incredible offer on the latest iPhone? How about a new credit card offer with an unbeatable interest rate?

Since you don’t want to miss out on this once-in-lifetime deal, you make the purchase or accept the offer. Of course, this was all a ploy to steal your financial information.

Always remember. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

7. Your Computer is Infected!

Here’s another golden oldie. You’re online doing your thing and then a popup appears from a legitimate-sounding antivirus software program warning you that your computer is infected and you need to download the program. Concerned, you click on the link and now malicious software is scanning your computer for login information.

In other scenarios, the “software” finds a virus and promises to remove it for a fee. Of course, this never happens. But, the cybercriminal now has your credit card information.

8. Tugging at your heart-strings.

There are some extremely vile people out there who will claim that they’re from a charity and pleading for your monetary help. Even worse, they’ll take advantage of recent natural disasters or events so that they scam seems legit – while also tugging at your heart-strings – in order to obtain your cash and banking information.

9. Ransomware.

“Ransomware, which is a form of malware, works by either holding your entire computer hostage or by blocking access to all of your files by encrypting them,” writes Cadie Thompson in Business Insider.“A person infected with ransomware is typically ordered (via a pop-up window) to pay anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in order to get the key to unlocking their encrypted data.”

What’s concerning about ransomware is that it’s evolving, and spreading. This is because cyber criminals are “using the most modern cryptography to encrypt stolen files and are getting really good at making their dangerous links and downloads seem perfectly benign.”

For example, a cybercriminal could be impersonating a utility company and is threatening to turn off your service unless you complete the attached form.

10. That’s not really your Facebook friend.

Since pretty much everyone has a Facebook account, it’s not really surprising that criminals would use the social network for their benefit.

This scam is simple. You get a friend request from someone that you may or not know. But, you have some mutual friends. So, you accept their request. Now this individual has access to your other friends, photographs, and information like your hobbies, where you work, and what school you attended. They then create a fake account where they pose as you.

This person then asks your Facebook friends for money or expose them to malware after “you” ask them to click on a link to watch a funny video or take a survey.

How to Avoid Online Scams

Regardless if it’s an email scam, social networking scam, or scare tactic, there are several ways to protect yourself.

  • Use common sense. If you recognize an email address, delete the message, and never open the message in the first place.
  • Never keep the same password across multiple accounts.
  • Change password to all important accounts every 6 months.
  • Avoid opening email attachments. For example, reputable E-Card companies never include attachments.
  • Pay attention to spelling and grammar.
  • Never share important financial information. Again, use common sense. A legitimate organization will never ask for your Social Security Number or bank account number.
  • If a deal or offer looks too good to be true, it is.
  • Consider using security measures like two-factor authentication. This is especially important when dealing with any form of mobile wallet or ePayment.
  • Only make purchases or donations by known and legitimate organizations.
  • Change your smartphone settings so that it won’t automatically join wifi networks.
  • Install a good antivirus program. And, make sure that you keep it updated.

If you do believe that you’ve been a victim of cybercrime, contact your bank and credit card company and cancel your card immediately – or even close your account completely. It also wouldn’t hurt to inform the authorities. And, don’t forget to turn off your computer and disconnect it from your network so that it doesn’t spread to other devices.

Protecting your church – use the direct to the police reporting tool under Reporting Crime on the front screen of your App

Protecting England’s Heritage

Heritage crime has significant impact on rural communities. Historic England’s Head of Heritage Crime and Policing Advice, Mark Harrison, explains the measures being taken to protect England’s heritage.

Historic England defines heritage crime as, ‘Any offence which harms the value of England’s heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations.’

Harm caused to a heritage asset by crime or anti-social behaviour will often have both direct and indirect impacts. For example, the loss of historic fabric from a listed building through vandalism or theft will not only have a direct impact by damaging the fabric of the heritage asset itself but may also have an indirect impact such as social or economic loss to the amenity of an area.

The problem of crime and anti- social behaviour relating to historic buildings, archaeological sites (both maritime and terrestrial) is not a modern phenomenon. It has been documented and recorded for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. However, what is new is the sheer scale and extent of the criminality.

For example, in 2012, English Heritage (now Historic England) published research, which revealed that in 2011, 18.7% of all listed buildings were physically affected by criminal activity. That is over 70,000 listed buildings! For almost 30,000 listed buildings, the impact was classified as ‘substantial’.

More generally, around 20% of listed buildings are harmed by crime every year. This figure is almost double for listed places of worship.

Our understanding of the threats posed to heritage sites, buildings and cultural property continues to improve. The following types of crime have been identified as the most prevalent:

  • Architectural theft – in particular metal and stone;
  • Criminal damage – vandalism, graffiti and in particular damage caused by fire;
  • Unlawful metal detecting (‘nighthawking’);
  • Unlawful disturbance and salvage of historic maritime sites;
  • Anti-social behaviour – in particular fly-tipping and off-road driving/riding;
  • Unauthorised works to a listed building or scheduled monument;
  • Illicit trade in cultural objects.

For more than 100 years, and through a succession of statutory measures, Parliament has recognised the need to protect England’s irreplaceable stock of historic sites and buildings, and more recently its shipwrecks, military remains and cultural objects.

This has included the introduction of specific offences to counter the threats of theft, damage and unauthorised works and alteration.

The challenge set for the authorities charged with the protection of the nation’s heritage is clear: the historic and cultural environment should be passed to the next generation in as good, if not better, condition as we find it.

In 2010, Historic England, in collaboration with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (formerly the Association of Chief Police Officers), the Crown Prosecution Service and a number of local planning authorities, recognised the need for a structured and coordinated approach to prevent and investigate crime and anti- social behaviour within the historic environment.

This was a significant development and highlighted the level of concern and commitment across the heritage and law enforcement sectors to address the issues.

Significant progress has been made over the last seven years. The Heritage Crime Programme has stimulated an awareness of the existence and significance of protected heritage assets at a national and local level.

Over 8,000 law enforcement and heritage professionals and local community activists have been provided with the advice, training and expertise they require to protect the historic environment in their local areas.

A growing number of police services have identified officers to act as single points of contact for matters relating to heritage and cultural property crime – a function that is often aligned with the investigation of offences within the rural and natural environment.

This network of specialist officers, police staff and support volunteers is helping to provide an effective and efficient response to heritage crime, which has been supported by the publication of Heritage Crime: A Guide for Law Enforcement Officers.

In addition, several partnership campaigns have been launched to target specific heritage crime threats. These include:

  • Operation Chronos – for unlawful metal detecting, sometimes referred to as ‘nighthawking’;
  • Operation Crucible – for theft of metal from protected historic sites and buildings;
  • Operation Birdie – for unlawful interference and salvage from historic wreck sites.

In parallel, the Crown Prosecution Service has identified specialist prosecutors to act as Wildlife and Heritage Crime Coordinators.

Across the country, local history and archaeological societies, sub-aqua and metal- detecting clubs are developing Heritage Watch schemes to seek to inspire and encourage communities to be more aware and vigilant about the threat of heritage crime within their local areas and to report any suspicious activities to the police.

The value of our built and cultural heritage cannot be judged in pounds and pence alone.

The impact of theft from historic buildings and archaeological sites, including those situated in the maritime environment, has far-reaching consequences.

NCRN has identified heritage crime as one of the six declared objectives:

“To encourage and support the activities of those involved in making rural communities across England and Wales become and feel safer, as well as assisting them in the protection and preservation of heritage assets and their settings.”

Our understanding of the extent and scale of the problem will continue to develop as the intelligence-gathering and assessment processes develop.

An increased level of understanding will allow for the effective implementation of appropriate preventative and enforcement measures and activities needed to reduce heritage crime, and, where offences do occur, will help us to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice.

If you see anything suspicious please report it through the link of reporting crime  on the Rutland App where it will go directly to the police.

Heritage Crime reporting through the Rutland App

You will have noticed if you have downloaded the Rutland NHW App, some changes which we hope will provide for better communications and ease of use.

Under Reporting Crime is a link for Heritage Crime.  An email link which will enable you to provide a written report of suspicious behaviour together with photographs of vehicles or individuals, of if you have it, video.

Heritage Watch Schemes are being introduced to allow the public to report and share information on any suspicious/illegal behaviour encountered at heritage sites in their community. Please see the additional links for more information and to see whether your local area is part of the Heritage Watch Scheme.


What is heritage crime?


Heritage crime, as defined by Historic England, is any offence which harms the value of heritage assets and their settings.


Heritage assets are sites which are considered to have value to the heritage of England. Such sites include –

  • Listed buildings
  • Scheduled monuments
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Protected marine wreck sites
  • Conservation areas
  • Registered parks and gardens
  • Registered battlefields
  • Protected military remains of aircraft and vessels of historic interest
  • Undesignated but acknowledged heritage buildings and sites.


This offence may take place indirectly through other crimes; those that are posing the largest threat to heritage sites are –


  • Criminal damage – vandalism, graffiti **and arson
  • Architectural theft – ** in particular metal and stone
  • Unlawful metal detecting – ** often referred to as ‘Nighthawking’.
  • Anti-social behaviour- ** in particular fly-tipping and off-road driving
  • Illicit trade ** in cultural objects
  • Unauthorised works to a listed building or scheduled monument

Please see the links in related websites for further information

How can I report heritage crime?


If you witness any criminal activity/suspicious behaviour taking place at a heritage site, you should report this to your local police force.

Most police forces have a liaison officer who will coordinate issues related to heritage crime in their area. You can contact them via 101 or, wherever there is an immediate danger to life or property and an emergency response is required, via their 999 number

If you wish to report your suspicious digitally and you have the Rutland NHW App downloaded, the click on the link and complete your report on Heritage Crime.  (This can be downloaded from this website should you wish.  Just click the link.  The App is free to download and contains no adverts).

You should also contact ** Historic England and/or your Local Authority’s Conservation Department to make them aware of any damage to a designated heritage asset e.g. a listed building or a scheduled monument.

Heritage Watch Schemes are being introduced to allow the public to report and share information on any suspicious/illegal behaviour encountered at heritage sites in their community. Please see the following links for more information and to see whether your local area is part of the Heritage Watch Scheme.


How can I prevent heritage crime?

One of the most effective ways to prevent crime reoccurring is to report it.

The Heritage Crime Prevention Measures provides guidance on reducing the threat of crime to historic buildings and sites throughout England. Some of the measures suggested include –

  • Use of CCTV
  • Monitor exits
  • Use of physical security e.g. locks, bolts, fencing
  • Raise public awareness of heritage crime throughout the community
  • Remove temptation; any valuables should be moved off site if unoccupied
  • Set and display rules



Heritage Watch reporting suspicious activity near your church

A heritage watch suspicious activity link has been added to the App and will be monitored by the police in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.  This is a completely new initiative and Rutland NHW is delighted to have been able to work with our police to bring this about.

It can be found under Crime Reporting and is another reason to have the App on your smartphone if you have one.  This will give parishioners and villagers a direct link to the police should you see criminals intent on stealing lead or artefacts from your churches.

Using this tool you can report suspicious activity taking photographs of potential criminals and their vehicles or video to attach to your report for the police.

You will only be contacted should the police require further information.