Milverton, Somerset
13/07/2024

Vaccine passport scams

Action Fraud has received over 700 reports from members of the public about fake emails purporting to be from the NHS. The emails claim to be able to provide people with a ‘digital passport’ that ‘proves you have been vaccinated against COVID-19’. These emails are fake, and the links within them lead to genuine-looking websites that steal your personal and financial information.

How to protect yourself

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

The NHS will never:

  • ask you for your bank account or card details
  • ask you for your PIN or banking passwords
  • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips

Your vaccination status can be obtained for free through the official NHS app, NHS website,
or by calling the NHS on 119.

How to report scams

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, you can report it by forwarding the email to: report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages can also be reported by forwarding them to the number: 7726 (it’s free of charge).

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting Action Fraud.

Beware of Royal Mail scams

There are renewed warnings to be aware of delivery scams and phishing emails claiming to be from DPD and Royal Mail. Fraudsters are sending texts and emails that claim delivery drivers were “unable to deliver your parcel” as “you weren’t in or there was no safe place to leave it”, or that there is an outstanding charge on the package. The message then gives instructions on how to arrange another delivery, leading to websites that request a small payment to rearrange the delivery.

If payment is made the recipient, then receives a phone call within a few days from someone claiming to be from their bank to inform them about suspicious transactions on their account.

They are then instructed their bank account may be compromised and instructed to transfer their money to an ‘alternative secure account’ to prevent further losses.

Criminals carrying out this scam are able to use a tactic known as “spoofing” to make the call or text appear genuine by cloning the phone number, or sender ID, used by the bank.

If you receive a suspicious email, text message, telephone call or discover a Royal Mail branded website which you think is fraudulent, please report it to reportascam@royalmail.com.

For suspicious emails, forward the email to reportascam@royalmail.com, do not click on any links or attachments and then delete if from your inbox.

For suspicious text messages, please send Royal Mail a screenshot of the message to reportascam@royalmail.com.

For suspicious calls or websites, please include the phone number or website address in the body of the email.

You can report suspicious texts you have received but not acted upon, by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.

If you have been the victim of a payment scam, you can get a crime reference number by reporting it to your local Police station.

If you have clicked on a link, provided any personal data like your bank account details on a website or over the phone or you’re concerned that you’ve been compromised, you should also report the scam to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre.

Community Council for Somerset (CCS)

Do you look after someone else? Or know of a person that does? In Somerset there are around 66,000 people who are classed as unpaid carers, and it is estimated that 1 in 3 of us will become a carer at some point in our lives.

Would you know where to turn if you suddenly had to care for someone else? Or if looking out for someone evolved into looking after someone?

Who cares for the Carers? The CCS do.

At Somerset Carers, Village Agents are ready to support you at any and every stage of your caring journey. Support isn’t intervention. Support is a listening ear, advice to help you see the wood for the trees, connecting to the right services, respite help, an occasional supply of food to give you a break and more.
Support is making your life easier. Please raise your hand and be seen, raise your hand and be heard. CCS have produced a video about Somerset Carers.

Please call CCS’s Carers Advice Line on 0800 316 8600, email carers@somersetrcc.org.uk or visit the Community Council for Somerset website.

M5 Junction 25 improvement scheme

Toneway Creech Castle junction

Contractor, Alun Griffiths Ltd has been appointed to deliver the Toneway Creech Castle junction improvement scheme on behalf of Somerset County Council. This is a major improvement scheme to reduce congestion and improve access to Taunton by increasing the capacity of the junction. As well as greatly improving this route for motorists, the upgrade includes much better access for pedestrians and cyclists and is a really important part of ensuring the network can cope with the ongoing development at Monkton Heathfield.

Work will begin on Monday 9 August 2021 and is expected to be complete in Summer 2022. For more information go to Creech Castle, Toneway improvements.

Taunton park and ride travel free

Taunton’s park and ride service will be made free of charge as part of a special initiative to encourage use of the park and ride service and, minimise disruption during a major upgrade of the Creech Castle junction.

The £8.3m project was deferred last year because of the pandemic, now work is about to begin on these much-needed improvements for one of Taunton’s busiest junctions. The scheme, which starts on Monday 9 August and is due for completion in summer 2022, requires the A38 Bridgwater Road on the north side of the junction to be closed to all traffic for the duration of the works and a diversion will be in place using the new Western Relief Road.

This will have an impact for everyone travelling around Taunton, so SCC has taken the decision to provide the park and ride service at both sites for free from 9 August until further notice, subject to review.

This will include a Saturday service from 14 August.

Suspension of garden waste collections reminder

Somerset Waste Partnership has reluctantly decided to suspend garden waste collections for six weeks from Monday 2 August. Collections are expected to restart from Monday 13 September. Should that date change, SWP will let subscribers know.

If you are a subscriber, you do not need to do anything. Your subscription will be automatically extended by eight weeks, in recognition the disruption.

Compost all you can

Turn your garden waste into compost, transforming your unwanted garden waste, vegetable peelings and non-cooked kitchen waste into a free, nutritious material that puts the goodness back into your garden.

If you home compost you could:

  • Save money – good compost can make excellent soil conditioner; saving time, money and effort
  • Improve your environment – the more you compost the less you send to landfill
  • Improve your garden – compost puts nutrition back into the soil, improving your garden or allotment.

You do not even need a compost bin to make compost. You can compost to add nutrients directly back to your soil in compost trenches or pits

Royal Horticultural Society have a video about making compost.

Reporting fly tipping

Fly-tipping, dumping rubbish, is an environmental crime. If you fly-tip you can be fined or jailed. It’s a blot on our landscape and a threat to wildlife. We can all fight fly-tipping by reporting dumped rubbish and, if possible, who dumped it.

Everyone, including businesses, must be responsible for how they get rid of rubbish, even when it’s left your home or premises. If you pay someone to remove your rubbish such as man-with-a-van, builders, gardeners, carpet-layers or others, ask to see their waste carrier’s licence, and make sure you know where your rubbish will go. If you don’t you could be fined.

To report fly-tipping use Somerset West and Taunton Council’s report fly-tipping online form or phone 0300 304 8000.