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Wednesday 13th May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week

Monday 18th May marks the beginning of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week. This year, perhaps more than any other, it’s a time to consider the mental health and resilience of ourselves and others and the affect that the last couple of months have had on our communities.

The theme for this year is kindness; defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.

Research suggests that when you help others, it can promote physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness. And it can also be an antidote to isolation, creates a sense of belonging and can help reduce stress, bringing a fresh perspective and even deepening friendships.

I’m already aware of how many of our communities across the county have come together to make sure our most vulnerable are protected and to try and maintain the morale of everybody during these difficult times.

When we eventually do come out of lockdown I hope that people can continue to show the same resilience and fortitude which has been evident over the last weeks and use the opportunity to build kinder, more tolerant and compassionate communities.

Phone Scams During Lockdown

Fraud over the phone – or Vishing (combination of Voice and Phishing) – is when a fraudster calls claiming they’re from your bank or some other trusted organisation.

It is easy for them to convince you too, since they can fake the telephone number on the screen to match your local bank, fraud office or other organisation to make the call appear genuine.

They carry out some basic research to find out some of your basic bank and personal details.
Remember though, a genuine bank will NEVER ask you for personal or financial details like your PIN number or full banking password (even by tapping it into your phone keypad).

5 things to look out for on a scam phone call:

The caller doesn’t give you time to think, tries to stop you speaking to a family member or friend or is insistent and makes you feel uncomfortable.

The caller asks you to transfer money to a new account or to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.

They phone to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password. Even if they ask you to give it to them by tapping into the telephone keypad rather than saying the numbers out loud, this is a scam.

They may say that you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book.

Inform you not to tell the cashier the reason for transferring / withdrawing the money as the staff at your bank are under investigation.

If you are in any doubt then please take 5 minutes to stop and think about it. If something feels wrong then you’re right to question it. Be confident and refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. Hang up and, whilst using a different phone, contact the bank to ascertain whether they really have contacted you.

If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of this type of fraud then please contact the Police immediately.

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