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Elderly woman almost lost £24k to scammers – just two years after being conned out of around £90k

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FRAUD prevention officers are urging people to stay vigilant after an elderly woman almost lost £24,000 to scammers – just two years after being conned out of around £90,000.

The woman was a victim of a fake investment scheme in 2018, and believed some of the money would now be returned to her if she made three payments to individual bank accounts.

She made two transfers totalling £9,000, and was asked for a further £15,000 before her funds would be released.

However, under Operation Signature, which sees banks and police work together to identify potential victims of fraud, Dyfed-Powys Police was alerted to the third payment and intervened.

Fraud safeguarding officer Rebecca Jones said: “Sadly, in 2018 this lady was convinced to invest a huge amount of money into a fake scheme. She was led to believe a significant proportion of this would be returned to her if she made two payments – but was then asked for a third.

“Thankfully, at this point we were made aware, and could begin to investigate where the money was going. After providing the victim with advice and support, she decided against making the payment.

“We have prevented the loss of a significant amount of money, and will continue to engage with the victim to ensure she is not at risk of falling foul of further scams.”

The offences have been referred to Action Fraud for dissemination to the Met Police for investigation.

The force’s Economic Crime Team is now urging people to be on high alert when contacted out of the blue from anyone asking for a bank transfer to be made – with particular concern that people might be more vulnerable to fraudsters while isolating.

Rebecca said: “Criminals will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. As more people stay at home, there is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain.

“This is especially relevant as older, more vulnerable people self-isolate and may be targeted over the phone, or even in person. Not being able to see family members might make vulnerable people feel more alone, and not be able to get advice quickly on whether an opportunity is genuine or a scam.

“We are asking people to stay on their guard, be alert, and always question the motives of someone who contacts them out of the blue over the phone, by email or in person with a questionable good deal.”

· If you’re purchasing goods or services from a person or company you don’t know, do your research before parting with any money.
· Never respond to an email asking for your personal or financial information.
· Avoid paying for goods and services by bank transfer as that offers little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or service such as PayPal if you can.
· If you’re contacted by someone asking you to make an investment, seek advice and check the Financial Conduct Authority’s register to check if the company is regulated. No legitimate organisation with pressure you into making a decision on the spot.

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Storm Christoph set to batter Wales says Met Office [Video]

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STORM Christoph will cause heavy rain and flooding in Wales on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Met Office has said.

Forecasters are warning that there could be up to 200mm in some parts of north Wales and say that the heaviest and “most persistent” rain will be in Wales.

The warning states: “Several days of persistent, and occasionally heavy, rain are expected to affect the region as Storm Christoph affects the UK.

The heaviest and most persistent rain is likely to be across Wales and the high ground of northern England.

“By early Thursday, 30-60 mm of rain is expected to have fallen widely across the warning area, with 100-150 mm over the high ground of Wales and northern England.

“Up to 200 mm is possible across parts of north Wales and northwest England.

“Melting snow across higher parts of the Pennines may exacerbate the potential for flooding. Strong winds will also accompany the rainfall and may add to travelling difficulties across areas higher and more exposed routes.”

The warning is in place from midnight on Tuesday until noon on Thursday (January 21).

Welsh forecaster Derek Brockway says: “Large rainfall totals on high ground in south and northwest Wales.

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Enabling works start at regeneration site in Pembroke

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WORK has started on the highly anticipated South Quay regeneration project in Pembroke.

Ambitious plans by Pembrokeshire County Council will see the site next to Pembroke Castle developed into a Visitor Centre, celebrating the town’s history and heritage and incorporating a new Library and Café.

The scheme will also include major enhancements to the public realm and landscaping improvements and public access to the building’s gardens at the rear.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economic Development, welcomed work starting on site.

“I’m delighted to see work getting underway. These buildings, right in the heart of Pembroke, have been left to rot for more than a decade by previous Council administrations but thankfully no longer. I am committed to Pembroke and am personally determined to help the town see a brighter future.

“Our investment in South Quay is just the first and most visible part of our commitment to the future of Pembroke and I’m looking forward to engaging with the community on the next steps over the coming months.”

The enabling works, undertaken by contractors Lloyd and Gravell are to ready the site for the development contract. They include the clearing and preparation of the site ready for the stabilisation of derelict buildings in Castle Terrace.

The South Quay project has secured £901,590 of Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding to support delivery of the first stage enabling works.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said: “The regeneration of South Quay is a fantastic example of how support though our Transforming Towns programme can be used to breathe new life into an old building to create a centre that will become as asset to the local community and celebrate the town’s history.  I look forward to seeing how this work progresses.”

Cllr Aaron Carey, County Councillor for Pembroke St Mary South, said it was good to see progress on site.

“No amount of plans or drawings can prepare you for the huge task at hand when the project is seen up close,” he said.

“We as a community are putting our generation’s mark on a thousand year old town and it’s really exciting to see the work being started on site after so many years as an eyesore in the castle’s shadow.”

(Pictured are Cllr Paul Miller and Cllr Aaron Carey at South Quay in Pembroke, where work has started on a key regeneration project.)

 

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Stephen Crabb MP to defy whips on Universal Credit uplift

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb will defy the Conservative whip for the first time today.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary will ignore an instruction to abstain on a non-binding Labour motion to keep the £20 uplift to Universal Credit beyond March 31.

In his Spending Review last November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to commit to keeping the £20 payment. The Chancellor introduced it last year to compensate families of the unemployed or
those on low incomes for the extra costs they incur during the Covid pandemic.

Stephen Crabb has repeatedly made it clear that he wants the £20 top-up to continue to give the poorest and most vulnerable at least some cushion from the effects of the deepening recession.

Although the Westminster Government claims it is optimistic about the economy’s future, the short-to-medium term looks grim.

Many businesses have closed and are unlikely to reopen. Not all of those who lost their jobs will get back into employment. It is likely any jobs on offer once the economy picks up will be low
paid and leave many still dependent on Universal Credit in some form.

Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Mr Crabb said: “No one can say we have a generous benefits system. We don’t. The unemployment component of benefits is at its lowest for a generation.

Withdrawing that additional £20 per week at the end of March will cause hardship. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

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