Category Archives: Crime

Festival season is upon us, so keep your valuables safe!

It’s that time of year to kick back and relax at a festival and listen to your favourite kind of music but have you thought about how to keep your valuables safe from loss or theft.

Festivals can be an absolute goldmine for thieves, although there is plenty of advice out there about what is in vogue to wear at festivals this year, there isn’t much advice about protecting your property.

Opportunists can present themselves at any time especially in large crowds so whether you are protecting your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or HTC phone, or are worried about your wallet and camera there are a few things that you can do to keep your valuables safe.

  1. Firstly, you need to register any valuables on Immobilise, the national property register which is linked to the police database (NMPR) where if any property is found the police can run a search and return it to the rightful owner. It is a must do for gadgets such as your mobile phone, which you will want to take with you to a festival. You can register any property on Immobilise, so get registering!
  2. Try not to bring too many valuables in the first place, but if you do don’t leave anything unattended or in tent. Sometimes there may be free locker areas if you do have something you want to lock away.
  3. Keep valuables in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night.
  4. Only take as much cash as you think you will need and try separate cash from cards.
  5. Don’t put phones and wallets in your back pocket.
  6. Report any suspicious behaviour or crime to police immediately.

Stay safe this festival season and have a great time doing it!

Beware of the Mobile Phone Moped Muggers!

Thieves who steal mobile phones straight out of people’s hands as they zoom by on their, often stolen, mopeds are becoming an increasing problem for the public and police.

It’s completely shocking to the person being attacked. Martin Lewis, the money saving expert, who was one of the latest victims can confirm this from his recent attack near Oxford Circus. He tweets about his incident: ‘About 40 minutes ago two men on a moped just rode up on the pavement and snatched my mobile out of my hands. The speed and accuracy was frightening.’ To read more on this attack click here.

Scotland Yard claims that moped muggers are snatching 20 phones an hour and that thieves mainly go for iPhones. If the phone is still switched on then they reset it and sell it on, if not then they will trade it for parts.

If the owner has been astute enough to register their phone on immobilise.com, the National Property Register, they would immediately be able to change the status of the device flagging it as stolen to traders, as well as report it to the Police*. UK Police officers are the ONLY people with authorisation to access the Immobilise database to check the status and ownership of a mobile phone and repatriate it if it is recovered. The Metropolitan Police advise mobile users to activate their phone’s security features when they receive it and to register valuable possessions with immobilise.com for free, pre-loss or theft.

In this increasingly common crime the phone’s owner is often not the only victim. If you are buying a second hand mobile phone, whether that be an iPhone, Samsung, HTC or any other smartphone, then CheckMEND can help you avoid stolen property. An online check costs as little as £1 and will highlight if a phone is blocked, stolen or compromised in someway.  CheckMEND is the most comprehensive device check available helping consumers, traders, recyclers and retailers buy and sell second-hand goods with confidence.

The moral, however of this post is not to give thieves opportunities to steal your possessions or profit from your loss. Try to avoid using your smart phone in public, be cautious, and to be on the safe side always register new phones or mobile devices on immobilise.com.

* Flagging an item as stolen on Immobilise means that information is immediately available to the Police when they conduct searches for it on the Police only NMPR system. In the event of a crime, a report should also be made directly to Police so they are able to investigate it appropriately and request additional details when relevant.

Beat the Burglars this Summer

 

Summer is such a great time of year… the sun is shining (well some of the time), the evenings are longer and everyone seems to be in a much better mood. Whether you are breaking up from school, university or just looking forward to that long-awaited summer holiday (like me), we will all be preparing for some fun activities this summer.

As part of that preparation be aware that if you’re leaving your home and worldly possessions unattended, for even a short period of time, make sure it is safe and secure. The last thing you want after all the excitement of the summer holidays is to find that your possessions have been stolen in one of the 2.1 million burglaries that occur in Britain every year!

So, what can we do about it?

Deter burglars

Homes are 5 times more likely to be burgled if they have no security measures, so it is really important that we do as much as possible to deter burglars from targeting our homes. Taking just a few steps can make a huge difference in keeping your home safe.

  • Lock your doors properly. It sounds so simple but most burglars get in through windows and doors that aren’t locked properly or have flimsy mechanisms. Be sure to invest in strong, visible locks.
  • Install an alarm. Nothing puts burglars off more than an alarm going off.
  • Put Immobilise stickers in obvious places such as garden sheds so they are visible to burglars who will know you have listed your property on Immobilise which makes it harder for them to sell it
  • Use timers on your light switches and get a Fake TV 

 Lock Down 

Remember to lock everything up and keep anything of worth out of sight

  • Keep expensive jewellery in a locked safe
  • Keep TV’s and tech equipment out of view of windows
  • If there is someone you trust, ask if they can check on your property for you and take in your post
  • Don’t discuss holiday plans on social media. Burglars are more likely to live in your surrounding neighbourhood and may even be part of your social network.

Register on Immobilise

  • Should you be unfortunate enough to have any possessions stolen, having a list of everything on immobilise provides the Police with the information they need to be able to return your belongings when found.
  • Immobilise offer many products to mark your property which means it is much easier to identify. From UV pens to the infamous ImmobiTAG for bicycles. Click to visit the Immobilise shop. 

 

What’s the difference between ‘Locking’ and ‘Blocking’ of a mobile device?

There is a vast difference between blocking and locking of a smart phone or mobile device and it’s important not to confuse the two.

A locked phone is when a phone will only function on a particular mobile network and is in effect locked to that network. This usually occurs when you take out a contract with a network provider on a brand-new phone so that they can subsidise the cost of the phone into your monthly payments and encourage you to stay with that network provider.  It is however, possible to unlock a phone if you do want to change network providers and it isn’t illegal to do. You will often find unlocked phones available for purchase on second hand websites such as ebay or Gumtree.

A blocked phone, often referred to as blacklisted phone is an entirely different matter. This is when a phone has been compromised (stolen or lost) and has had a block put in place, usually by the rightful owners’ network operator. When a block is put in place, it is put on the phones IMEI (the number to individually identify each phone). This means that when someone inserts a SIM card in the phone and attempts to use it, the phone will not be able to join a network and therefore won’t work. It’s also useful to point out that countries such as the UK operate cross-network blocking which means a blocked / blacklisted phone will not operate on any network in that country!

To help avoid purchasing a blocked phone you can use CheckMEND to do a check on the device before you purchase it. All you need is the IMEI number of the device (which you can ask the seller for) and you can then get an instant check on the device which can inform any buying decisions www.checkmend.com

How to buy and sell phones and mobile devices online safely

Online shopping has rapidly become the easiest way to buy goods. With only a click of a button or tap of a screen between us and our next purchase, it’s no wonder that 95% of British people buy goods via the internet. According to The Daily Mail, 1 in 4 British people now shop online at least once a week, although this way of shopping is more convenient it does increase our exposure to fraudulent activity.

By this, I mean that although you may feel ‘safe as houses’, sitting at home on your laptop browsing your favourite sites, you can’t be quite as confident that what your buying is completely legitimate. There are more and more scams to be aware of and avoid especially when buying or selling any mobile devices in the second-hand market.

Many great bargains can be found in online auction and classified ad sites, and in turn you can, as a seller, make some money on the items you no longer need. It’s true what they say ‘one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure‘.  However without knowing the seller is reputable, it is very hard to be confident that a device is genuine or compromised. One well established way to put your mind at rest is to purchase a CheckMEND report.

A CheckMEND mobile device check costs as little as £0.99p per device and can help inform your buying decision by reporting on a devices current status and history including if it is blocked, marked as lost or stolen, plus many other important data checks. It’s like getting a clean bill of health when your device comes back clear, a green flag to proceed!

If you are selling an item, it is a great idea to sell it with a CheckMEND history report to build trust with your customers, achieving faster sales and higher prices in the process.

Trade with confidence when buying or selling second-hand goods, run a CheckMEND device check now.

Back to school… With £3.2 billion worth of tech

Schoolimage1When the school gates opened for the new term, its estimated that under 16s’ bags contained over £3.2 billion worth of tech – a staggering average in excess of £270 per school bag*. Such high values intensify issues associated with loss and theft requiring students to be ever more cautious.

To stay safe and secure we recommend …

  • Students shouldn’t leave their smartphones, cameras, iPods and tablets unattended, and when not in use they should be kept secure in a locked bag or locker.
  • Don’t show off expensive devices, especially in public spaces. Children and young teenagers make easy targets for unscrupulous thieves.
  • Ensure gadgets are registered on Immobilise,  recording the make, model,  and any serial codes but most importantly for smartphones the IMEI number – for mobiles just key in *#06#  on the handset to display the IMEI.
  • Bicycles should be kept in the school’s designated areas and secured with a D-lock to an immovable object such as ground mounted loop. Don’t forget to register the bike on Immobilise and consider enhancing the registration with an ImmobiTag RFID tag.

* Statistics sourced from USwitch Survey: USwitch

This post is an extract from our regular email updates that contain other crime prevention tips and topical news along side special offers and discounts on items in our Immobilise property marking and security products. (Go to: https://shop.immobilise.com/)

To subscribe please update the preferences in your Immobilise account: https://www.immobilise.com/login 

Recipero’s CheckMEND goes mobile to help protect mobile device traders!

CheckMEND Responsive WebsiteRecipero are pleased to announce the global launch their new CheckMEND website. The new mobile friendly design helps CheckMEND users run real-time reports to avoid trading stolen phones and mobile devices, regardless of location or access-device.

Launched simultaneously in the US, UK and EU the new responsive site has been well received by CheckMEND’s extensive footprint of users which include national consumer electronics retailers, international recyclers, traders and the public.

CheckMEND produces real-time history reports based on comprehensive data published into Recipero’s Device Service Bureau by numerous organizations covering mobile networks, retailers, police, insurers, lease providers and the public.

Reports are delivered instantly to aid buying/selling decisions, helping CheckMEND users avoid financial loss, legal implications and hassle that’s often associated with handling devices with questionable backgrounds!

The service doesn’t stop there either; CheckMEND Status Change Alerts are a powerful feature that helps mitigate issues that can occur when a smartphone or other mobile device is reported as lost or stolen after a check is performed!

For more information about CheckMEND’s features, how it creates savings for customers, helps Police provide Safe Trader Schemes, and aids compliance with the Recyclers Code of Practice please visit www.checkmend.com or www.recipero.com

Recipero’s US Cell Phone Crime Statistics in 2016 so far…

2016 has already been a busy year for Recipero resulting in our connected device fraud and theft intelligence solutions producing some very interesting statistics.

A more detailed report will be published at the end of Q1, for now though here are some significant facts you might find interesting.

A print optimized version of these stats is available here.

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Recipero US Cell Phone Crime Statistics in 2016 so far. Page 1
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Recipero US Cell Phone Crime Statistics in 2016 so far. Page 2
  • In the first two months of 2016, Recipero provided intelligence on transactions involving over 10 million devices globally.
  • 31% of devices reported stolen were NOT blocked by operators.
  • The Apple 6, 6s and Samsung S6 were the most stolen phones in the US in the first quarter of this year.
  • Day 48 is the most likely day after taking out a lease or rental contract that a user of a device will decide to sell it for cash and stop the installment payments.
  • 7% of devices that are blocked when an insurance claim is made for loss or theft are unblocked within 30 days.
  • 5% of devices offered for sale or trade-in at retail were reported as lost or stolen.
  • 4% of accidental damage or breakdown warranty claims were actually made on devices that had been reported as lost or stolen.
  • $2,100 is the price that a stolen Apple iPhone 6 sells for in some Eastern European countries.
  • Through our global reach, we have seen US stolen devices turn up in some far-reaching places including; Vietnam, Poland, Denmark, Jamaica, Romania, Spain, Mexico, Italy, South Africa and Colombia.

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Pawnbrokers step up fight against crime with Recipero’s CheckMEND

npa_logoThe National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) took another step forward in the fight against crime when it agreed to work closely with Recipero to benefit from and contribute to the Recipero Crime Reduction Ecosystem.

The NPA have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Recipero, to help facilitate provision of our CheckMEND history reporting service – enabling pawnbrokers across the UK to check that items being offered to them have not been reported lost or stolen.

National Pawnbrokers Association Chief Executive, Ray Perry, said:

“This is yet another step by pawnbrokers to help the police to crack down on crime”.

“We endorse the ‘Gold Standard’ whereby pawnbrokers check for ID and use UV lights to check for forensic property marking”.

“In London, we endorse the ‘Safe Seller’ scheme where pawnbrokers keep clear records so that criminals are kept away from stores. In Scotland, we are working with the police via regular meetings of our Forum to crack down on crime. Across England and Wales, we are working with the Home Office on measures to stamp out crime”.

“Now – with our agreement with Recipero – NPA members can use CheckMEND to check whether any items that enter their stores have been reported as stolen”.

“All this and more demonstrates clearly that 21st century pawnbroking has a zero tolerance approach towards crime”.

Les Gray, Operations Director from Recipero added:

“We are delighted to be working with the NPA and their members to help them trade safely through use of CheckMEND.”

“CheckMEND, as part of Recipero’s Crime Reduction Ecosystem provides risk mitigation to NPA members and by preventing the trade of stolen goods works to reduce the incentive to steal. Integration with the Police National Mobile Property Register ensures that attempts to trade stolen property are alerted to police and insurers in real-time.”

LINKS:

To learn more about the NPA please go to: www.thenpa.com

Christmas is a busy time…for thieves – 10 Crime prevention tips

Christmas brings the busiest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, jewellery and must-have accessories is commonplace, unfortunately though it provides thieves with an increased incentive to commit burglaries.

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10 crime prevention tips you shouldn’t ignore…

TIP 1: Deterring would-be criminals is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention. Invest in a motion sensor flood-light or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home’s exterior. This will hopefully make approaching your home too conspicuous for a burglar. Also, highlighting the fact your possessions are security marked and registered on Immobilise using window decals provide a further warning that your goods are traceable and not worth the risk of stealing!

TIP 2: Festive lighting – be secure. A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.

TIP 3: Dispose of gift packaging carefully. Refuse collections over the Christmas and New Year period are normally at different times. If you can’t take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to break apart boxes so that they do not advertise your new contents of your home to thieves!

TIP 4: Be careful not to advertise your home to burglars on social media! According to one recent study, social media is a commonly used tool for scouting potential targets. Social media savvy families have a tendency to publish their whereabouts during the holiday season, including any vacation plans. This can let burglars know when your house is going to be empty. Uploaded photos of pricey Christmas gifts can also be a problem as if privacy settings aren’t tied down, it can allow burglars to go shopping just by viewing your Facebook profile.

TIP 5: Check doors and windows for weak spots. Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window hinges could increase the security of your home exponentially.

TIP 6: Keep your curtains, drapes and window blinds closed at night, making sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy, you should also consider leaving a radio on or go further and invest in a Fake TV device to emulate the light given of by at television.

TIP 7: Away over Christmas – plan ahead! If you’re going away at Christmas be sure to cancel newspaper or milk subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Don’t leave overly descriptive telephone answering machine messages and again make use of light timers, radios and devices like Fake TV’s.

TIP 8: Secure garages and sheds. Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment – make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools. Naturally make sure anything portable / valuable is recorded on immobilise.

TIP 9: Don’t hide keys and use alarms if you have them. Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbour. Many houses these days have alarms, many though are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home when you are away and overnight where possible.

TIP 10: And lastly, don’t forget to register your gifts on Immobilise (www.immobilise.com)! Most gadgets have a unique identification code such as a serial number or for mobile phones an IMEI number – This IMEI number can be found quickly and easily by pressing the following keys on your mobile handset: *#06#. If your gift doesn’t have a unique identifier there are several affordable marking kits available from the Immobilise store allowing the police to easily identify the owners of items they recover and so detect crime.

We hope that you find these tips useful and encourage you to share them with your family, friends and colleagues. As always please remain vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately to the police on 999 if a crime is in progress, 101 in a non-emergency or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.