Contactless Card Crime – What you need to know.

The past couple of years have seen a huge spike in the usage of contactless cards, with an estimated 81 million debit and credit cards across the UK alone now carrying the functionality. That’s not to mention the amount of wireless travel cards and work IDs that now carry your personal information.

As the popularity of “tap and go” cards has increased, so too has the danger of Digital Pickpocketing (also known as Electronic Pickpocketing). We’ve prepared this handy guide to get you clued up on the subject, as well as providing a solution for protecting yourself from falling victim:

What is contactless card technology?

Today most new payment and access cards will contain a chip that allows the information on them to be read by simply holding them on or near a scanning device. This works via RFID technology.

What is RFID technology?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) refers to the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag or chip that is attached to an object (such as the chip attached to your credit card). These tags can be read from up to several feet away and do not require a direct line of sight.

What are the benefits to using contactless cards?

Contactless cards allow you to pay for transactions (currently up to a max of £30 in the UK) by simply presenting your card over a reader for approximately one second, rather than the hassle of inserting your card into a machine, entering your pin and waiting for confirmation.

What are the dangers of using contactless cards?

Tech-savvy criminals have seized upon the new tap and go culture by using handheld payment terminals or mobile phone apps to ‘skim’ the card information of those around them. The criminals can use these devices to charge the maximum £30 from your card direct to their payment device straight away, or store your details for unlimited use online later on. This has become known as Digital Pickpocketing.

When am I at risk of Digital Pickpocketing?

As RFID technology works within several feet and without a clear line of sight. you could be the victim of a digital pickpocket when you are standing in a shopping queue, on public transport, in a lift, or even just walking down the street.

Is it a real danger, or just scaremongering?

Unfortunately it is the former; the subject is a growing concern with ITV recently running a special report on it’s Tonight program. The total amount lost to Digital Pickpocketing in 2014 was over £150,000, with the number of contactless cards in circulation growing all the time. Recently a research team from Which Magazine were able to purchase a £3,000 TV online using the information they had ‘skimmed’ from a payment card.

How can I protect myself?

Digital Pickpockets can be foiled by a simple innovation developed by Solon Security: the Card Defender is a handy, credit card sized sleeve that you can keep your contactless card inside. The sleeve is made of a special RFID blocking material that prevents your details being skimmed, protecting both your money and your identity from tech-savvy thieves.

For more information on the Card Defender, view our Product Focus blog HERE

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Your Checklist for Beating the Bogus Callers

Doorstep Crime can affect people of all ages, but in particular the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities.  Such instances of crime often involve Bogus Callers i.e. criminals pretending to be someone they’re not in order to gain your trust or distract you.

Bogus Callers can take many forms, from those posing as workmen or police officers, to those who claim their car has broken down. Once at your doorstep the criminal will try and talk their way inside to commit a burglary, or distract you long enough for an accomplice to slip in through another entrance.

How can you protect yourself against Bogus Callers? Simply follow our handy checklist below for what to do when there’s a knock at your door:

Are you expecting anyone?
If not, consider whether you should answer at all, particularly if it is after dark.

Can you see who is calling?
Using a peephole, electronic door viewer, intercom, or even just glancing out of a window can help you establish if the caller may be suspicious.

You’ve decided to answer.
Before you open the door, are your back doors and windows shut and locked? This will prevent sneak-in burglaries whilst you are occupied at the front door.

Have you applied your door chain?
These essential bits of kit allow the identification and verification of callers, without allowing them access. The higher quality chain the better.

You’ve partially opened the door with your door chain applied.
If the caller is a stranger then ask them who they are and what they want. 

Is the caller claiming to be in trouble or that their car has broken down etc?
Do not feel obligated to invite them in or to leave your home, offer to call the police or breakdown recovery. Don’t worry about being rude, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Is the caller claiming to be from an organisation?
Ask to see some ID. Ensure you check it closely, a genuine caller won’t mind handing their credentials over.

Does their ID seem genuine?
If you’re not sure, call the organisation they claim to represent. Always try and use a number you find yourself (e.g. online) rather than the one that’s on their ID. 

If you decide to call their organisation.
Shut the door again whilst doing so. A genuine caller will understand and won’t mind waiting.

Does everything check out?
You’ve now completed the Lock, Stop, Chain, Check process for identifying Bogus Callers and combatting Distraction Burglary. You can return to your visitor with confidence. However if you’re still in doubt, just keep them out!

For more information on Bogus Callers, or to view our range of crime prevention products, visit www.redlinesecurity.co.uk or follow our twitter account @SolonSecurity.

 

Outdoor Security: How to ‘Spring Forward’ Securely

This year the 27 March sees the clocks officially Spring Forward, meaning we can all begin to enjoy longer days and lighter nights. This time of the year also means we can look forward to 3 bank holiday weekends in the next 10 weeks!

Many of us will use the coming months as an opportunity to get out in the garden to salvage our flowerbeds, or blow the dust off our power tools in the shed. Others will see the upcoming bank holidays as the perfect time to get the BBQ out for it’s first turn of the year.

Whatever you’re planning to do follow our 5 Top Tips for good outdoor and garden security:

1) The first time you get back out into your garden, take the time to have a walk around your perimeter and see if you can spot any potential weakspots; if you can spot a way in, so can a burglar!

2) Whether you’re toiling with your new hedge trimmer or re-mastering the handling of your lawnmower, ensure all tools and equipment are safely locked away after use inside your shed.  Don’t leave valuable items out in the open for thieves to snatch!

3) There’s no point in having a shed if you don’t keep it locked! Make sure you have a sturdy locking hasp and/or padlock fixed to the door and consider shock sensor alarms for the doors and windows.

4) Many burglars will target walls or fences as the simplest ways to breach your perimeter. For a simple but ultra-effective solution consider installing a lightweight wooden trellis on top of your existing fencing, making them near-impossible to put weight on and deterring climbers!

5) Whilst you are occupied in the back garden busy planting, painting or barbecuing, some opportunist thieves will look to target the front of your home, undisturbed. Ensure the front of the house is protected with reliable door and window alarms that will get your attention if activated.

To view our full range of outdoor security products visit www.redlinesecurity.co.uk.

Family Safety Week 2016 – Safety Starts with a Secure Home!

This week sees the return of Family Safety Week across the UK, an annual initiative run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).

This year’s focus is on keeping children safe in the home, particularly in regard to preventing accidents and removing hazards. For more information you can visit the website here.

The first step to keeping your family safe is to ensure they live in a secure environment . With this in mind we have prepared a list of 10 Top Tips for keeping your family home safe from external threats, such as burglars and vandals, and internal risks such as accidents and house fires. Take a look below:

1) Let’s start with the basics: ensure all windows and doors are securely locked whenever they are not in use or are left unattended. Use British Standard locks for maximum protection.

2) You can add an additional layer of security to your home by installing window alarms and door handle alarms. These simple devices can help prevent forced entry and sneak-in burglaries.

3) It is important to practice good Doorstep Security to combat bogus callers and distraction burglary; install a Police Approved door chain and always ask for ID. If you’re not sure, don’t open the door!

4) Good home security extends to your garden too; ensure any sheds or outbuildings are kept securely locked and alarmed, with any tools or other equipment tidied away.

5) CCTV is one of the most effective anti-theft devices your home can have, enabling you to spot potential thieves or vandals and make it easier for Police to catch them.

6) Decoy CCTV can be equally valuable in terms of deterring burglars, particularly when the units are positioned in plain sight, and won’t break the bank! Hi-Vis warning signage is similarly effective.

7) Security lighting is a constant deterrent to thieves all year round, particularly solar powered models that are easy to install and require no maintenance.

8) Many accidents around the home can occur at night due to poor visibility. Dusk Till Dawn bulbs and Nightlights are great, cost effective and energy efficient ways to combat this risk.

9) Slips, Trips & Falls are common causes of domestic injury, particularly amongst children and the elderly. Consider safety items such as handrails, non-slip tape and covers for sharp edges.

10) Ensure your home is strong on Fire Safety; install both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and ensure they are tested at least once a fortnight.

If you are looking to improve your home security you can view our range of quality products at www.redlinesecurity.co.uk, or call our team on 01352 736125.

CCTV Designed to Capture Rural Crime

Rural Crime has been a growing concern across the UK for the past decade, with such cases estimated to have cost the UK almost £38 million in 2014 according to NFU Mutual.

The term Rural Crime can be used to refer to any crime that affects those living, working or visiting rural areas of the UK (Crimestoppers). Common instances can involve theft, vandalism, fly tipping and even poaching.

Over the years the implementation of CCTV has helped reduce crime and aid the capturing of criminals within traditional hotspots, such as car parks and city centres (College of Policing). However these locations benefit from easy access to electricity that most rural locations do not share, meaning CCTV has not always been a viable option for capturing Rural Criminals.

However there are now quality CCTV units available that are specifically designed to operate within rural environments, using battery power and SD cards to record and store video footage wirelessly. One such example is the Acorn Black Light Camera, shown below.

A camera such as the Acorn (above) runs off regular AA batteries, meaning it is fully portable and unrestricted in its deployment. One set of batteries can be enough to allow the camera to operate for as long as 6 months; the battery life is dependent on usage, so activating the optional PIR function, which means the camera will only power up and record when it senses movement within its 15-20m radius, will conserve battery life considerably.

The best battery powered CCTV (sometimes also referred to as Trail Cams) will come with Night Vision capabilities, meaning they will record regular colour footage during the day, before automatically switching to black and white playback once night has fallen. This means that the rural location in question will be under optimal surveillance 24 hours a day.

Top of the range cameras will also be weatherproof, come with handy accessories such as tree straps or protective cases, and will often have a covert design or finish. A covertly designed camera will blend in more effectively with rural surroundings, catching oblivious criminals in the act.

Battery powered CCTV, mixed with quality security lighting, locks and signage, can enhance the security of a remote location considerably. For more information on Rural Crime security products visit http://www.redlinesecurity.co.uk or call our team on 01352 736125.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Focus: Police Selected Defender Lumos Torch

Introducing Solon Security’s Defender Lumos, the latest handheld LED torch on the market that has already beaten off stiff competition to become Officially Police Selected for UK Officer use.

With a powerful output of 150 lumens the Lumos is designed to illuminate the darkest of environments with bright white LED light. The torch’s beam also spans an impressive 120m; that’s longer than a football pitch! This optimum combination of power and range makes the Lumos an extremely sought after piece of kit.

As well as its high performance levels the torch has also drawn praise for its robust design, with the tough aluminium alloy body ensuring durability and the IP54 independent waterproof rating highlighting its ability to operate in challenging conditions.

Light by name light by nature, the Lumos weighs in at just 90g meaning it can be seamlessly carried on your person, with a handy wrist strap or belt holster also available for effective storage. The user-friendly design is further complimented with a micro-textured barrel for improved grip.

As well as being selected for Police usage the sturdiness of the torch makes it ideal for other professionals such as mechanics and tradesmen. A reliable torch is also a great accessory to have around the house in the event of power cuts (such as those recently caused by Storm Frank), in the car in case of a breakdown after dark, or for walkers to carry on their person.

For more information on the Defender Lumos Torch, or to get one for yourself, call our team on 01352 736125.

Key Safes – What you need to know

Key Safes are an increasingly common fixture at properties across the UK, but what exactly are they and why are they so popular? 

07155930editThe Police Approved Keyguard XL is the
newest and most secure key safe to hit the market

Key safes do exactly what the name suggests; they keep keys safe from unauthorised users. Installed in a subtle, outdoor location at a residential property or business, keys are locked inside and can only be accessed by entering a preset combination code.

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to leave a spare key under a doormat or plant pot. These and similar hiding places (no matter how discreet!) are now common knowledge and wide open to burglars. A reliable key safe is a crucial part of good home security.

There has been a particular rise in usage amongst residential properties in recent years, particularly at the homes of elderly or vulnerable residents in line with increased assistive technology measures across the UK. A correctly used key safe allows the safe coming and going of carers and relatives and whoever else the secure code is shared with, without the need for residents to physically get up and let them in.

This helps cut the risk of slips, trips and falls and eliminates the danger of bogus callers committing distraction burglaries. In the event of an emergency it can also provide first responders with the opportunity to gain entry in a timely manner that could make all the difference. With an ageing population it is important to take such steps to enable independent living.

Away from residential use key safes are perfect for use at holiday homes or private lettings as the keys to a property can be securely left for the visitor to pickup, without the need for the landlord or owner to be present. Many businesses have also taken to using the units to store their office keys on site.

The most secure, highest quality key safes will hold independent security accreditations, such as the UK Police Secured by Design and Sold Secure certifications. The new Keyguard XL holds both of these titles, as well as possessing an anti-tamper backing plate to protect against hammer and saw attacks and a user-friendly 12 push button design for over 4000 possible code combinations.

For more information on key safes or to discuss our range, call our team on 01352 736 125.