As we start 2016 many of us think about New Years Resolutions and improving our lives in small or in more dramatic ways. Whilst some of us will join gyms, or try to cut back on our vices, now is a great time to check your security at home, and especially online.
There will be many homes with new tablets and laptops, high value tools, shiny bikes and possibly even a few hover-boards … and maybe one or two new engagement rings! Please don’t leave yourselves open to threats from thieves – make sure your homes are secure and that your contents insurance has been updated as often individual high value items will need to be listed separately on your policy. We will be teaming up with the police in the next few weeks to support a bike marking scheme so watch this space for more information.
I am sure that some people reading this are hoping that 2016 is the year that they meet that special someone. Evidence shows that after Christmas there is a spike in online dating and some figures suggest that within the next 15 years more than a 1/3 of all new relationships will begin this way – contrary to what you might think, the biggest increase is expected to be in the 55-64 age group!
However, Action Fraud reported that in 2014 dating scams increased by 33% with £34million lost in romance related scams. Scams can come in two main formats – website scams, and manipulating users to part with their cash.
As I reported last month, being safe online is about looking for safe sites – a site needs be secure (address starting ‘https’ and looking for the padlock on any checkout) and of course, making sure the site is genuine…look for slight spelling mistakes or altered logos from the well known brands.
Apparently 80% of people lie about one or more aspects of themselves on their online dating profile but this does not make them a fraudster – they may exaggerate their love for culture or lose a few years from their age! However, be aware of someone who looks too good to be true, or someone who expects you to share lots of information about yourself but doesn’t reciprocate. When you do meet someone, be sure to do so in a public place and if someone you have never met – or only met once or twice – asks to borrow money, think very carefully before agreeing. If you are worried, check out the advice on www.actionfraud.police.uk. I have friends who met online who are blissfully happy so I wouldn’t wish to put you off, but hope and love can lead us to recklessness and I would hate anyone in Broadstone to fall victim to a deliberate scam.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to give something back to your community, we are still looking for volunteers – some of our roads need new co-ordinators after long standing volunteers moved away, our membership officer is due to retire this spring and, if we are to pursue the idea of a Community Office for the Neighbourhood Watch we would need regular volunteers for this too. If you would like to chat about what you might do, please ring or email me or any of the committee.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and safe 2016
Broadstone Neighbourhood Watch