What is “smishing”

How to protect yourself from “smishing”

smishing image -couple checking their phone

With scams on the rise, it’s vital to educate yourself about “smishing” texts – what they are and how to stay safe
“Smishing” refers to phishing attacks, or attempted scams, conducted over SMS texts or messaging apps such as WhatsApp – and it’s on the rise in the UK.

Scammers know how to impersonate legitimate organisations. These can include your phone network, bank, or delivery company (or even one of your close friends or relatives). Scammers can skilfully nudge you towards clicking links, sharing personal information or transferring money.
Losing money is the last thing anyone needs right now. The criminal gangs behind scams are constantly developing more sophisticated methods – which means we need to be more sophisticated in our responses, too. Here’s what you need to know about keeping yourself safe from smishing.

Watch out for signs
It’s a red flag if you are asked for a one-time code, password or other security information. If you receive a text that looks like it’s from a known supplier and requests any of these details, it’s malicious and should be reported (scroll down to learn how).

Other tell-tale signs of smishing messages include spelling errors and an urgent tone telling you to act or call immediately.

Watch out for web links, contact names or email addresses that are incorrect, look strange or use substitute characters. For example, a text using the number zero, rather than the letter O. Remember: scammers are trying to exploit people’s desire to save money at the moment. If a deal feels too good to be true, it probably is.

Do your checks
Not sure whether a mobile phone message is authentic? Don’t click any links or follow the instructions in the text. Instead, see if you can independently verify the information in the message. Look up phone numbers or email addresses to see whether they’re legitimate. Confirm the message’s contents by checking with the organisation directly.

For example, if you’re expecting a parcel, you could be vulnerable to delivery scam texts containing links to “track your order”. But you should be able to check your package’s status on the verified company’s website rather than clicking links in a text.

Report immediately
Forward suspicious texts to 7726 immediately, including the message’s contents and the number it came from. The 7726 number is linked to all the UK’s phone networks. It means the scam number can be blocked and investigated.

You can report attempted HMRC scams via the dedicated government website.

Reach out for help
No one is immune from falling victim to smishing scams. Worried that you’ve clicked a suspicious link or shared information with someone you shouldn’t have? Don’t panic but act quickly.

Contact your bank, change all relevant passwords, and monitor related accounts to check for fraudulent activity.

computer fraud alert message

Information first published by O2 Nov-2022.

Nat West Bank Scam Update

Received from:
Andy Fox
North Yorkshire Police, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, Economic Crime Unit

The attached information is from my colleagues at Nat West bank who ask I circulate it which gives practical advice about impersonation scams, namely criminals pretending to be the police or your bank.


Preventing Bank Scams

Preventing Bank Scams

I think it is also worth a reminder about the type of scams we are seeing in North Yorkshire. Please be aware of scam calls about energy refunds/assistance. The reduction in your energy bills comes direct from the supplier and you do not have to apply for it.

Remember, the police or bank will NEVER ask you to move money to  a ‘safe’ account  and if you are ever told to lie to the bank/police/family etc as to why you are sending/moving money, it is a scam.

You can download this leaflet from the link below.

Withdrawal of Connexions bus service 412 from Wetherby to York

The following letter has been received from North Yorkshire County Council.


“We have been advised that Connexions Buses are wishing to withdraw their journeys on service 412 from 22 October owing to staff shortages.  Service 412 is operated commercially and the decision to withdraw or change the service is that of the operator, not the County Council.


To give some context, we spend £1.6 million across the whole of the County to support local transport services. Throughout the pandemic we have provided significant support to services, and many would been lost, including this one if not for financial support from NYCC and Department for Transport.


We are aware of the challenges being faced by operators due to reduced passenger numbers, increasing costs and staff shortages, however this is one route of over 70 that have been identified as at risk across the County.  As I am sure you appreciate it is impossible to support and retain all of them without significant additional funding.


We have only been advised of the intention to withdraw the service earlier this week and are working with our neighbouring authorities City of York Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority to explore what options are available to maintain some level of service for passengers. We hope to be able to update customers on the outcome of these discussions in the near future.”


The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022 Update



Buckingham Palace has announced the plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations over the four day weekend, Thursday 2 June through to Sunday 5 June 2022.


Please find attached a Platinum Jubilee Bulletin with all the links to information you may need to pass on to your community. Also attached is information from Bruno Peek, Pageantmaster for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons. A link to a detailed guide relating to beacons is included in the bulletin.  A poster inviting community choirs to take part in performing ‘A Song for the Commonwealth’ is also attached.

Scam Alert – NHS Digital Passport Scam


NHWatch Scam Alert

NH Watch Scam Alert

NH Watch Scam Alert

21/01623/REMMAJ. Reserved matters planning application Turnpike Lane

The Parish council have submitted an objection to the reserved matter application for the above, following outline planning permission being granted previously.

A copy of the objections are attached and have been forwarded to HBC.  The plans for the site can be viewed on the HBC planning applications portal, using the reference number above .

If you wish to put in an objection, please make sure your comments are about the reserved matters application. Planning permission has already been granted for the development , a judicial review was made to try to overturn the decision and failed. Any objections must be to get the best possible outcome for the village with the proposed development.

Update on the BT Phone Boxes from HBC October 2020

Harrogate Borough Council – Covid-19 community response update 11th August 2020

Community Recovery Plan consultation

As you are aware we have asked yourselves and partners what they think are the key issues that have arisen from the pandemic to date. We have now looked at this feedback and revised the community recovery plan accordingly.

We are now asking residents what are their main concerns and at the end of the consultation period we will look to see if we have missed anything out of the plan priorities and revise the recovery plan accordingly. This information is being captured through various meetings held with specific groups and through a quick survey.

Please encourage residents to contribute by completing the short survey Click here 

COVID Guidance for holiday clubs and out-of-school activities

Now that schools are closed for the summer, the government have issued COVID guidance (on outbreak management and test and trace) for anyone providing out-of-school activities/holiday clubs/groups/education/tuition etc. for children and young people. Please circulate this to any groups that this may apply too.

The guidance can be found here

Updated guidance on coronavirus testing

The Department of Health and Social Care has updated its guidance on who is eligible for a test and how they can be tested including instructions for care homes, volunteers and charities.


The Two Ridings Community Foundation Coronavirus Community Fund – Phase 3 (Recovery)
This grant fund re-opened for applications on 3 August 2020

More information can be found here

Grants are available of up to £10,000 for individual and group applications. Partnership bids will also be considered.
In phase 3 grant making will support the development of self-sufficient and resilient communities, by helping to support solutions rather than the symptoms of problems. Funds are available for either projects or running costs but the work supported must be aimed at strengthening communities and/or strengthening the organisations that provide vital support to communities.

The priorities for funding are:

  • Good jobs & economic growth
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health & wellbeing
  • No poverty
  • Reduced inequalities

Applications from organisations with an annual income of under £500,000 (based on current forecast annual income) will be prioritised. Groups must be based in and/or working in North Yorkshire, York, East Riding of Yorkshire or Hull.

National Public Health Campaign to encourage millions to lose weight

Public Health England has launched a major new adult health campaign to encourage millions of adults to kick start their health and reduce their risk of serious illness, including Covid-19.

The campaign aims to reach millions of people who need to lose weight, encouraging them to make behaviour changes to eat better and move more to prevent or delay the onset of serious diseases. This will be supported by a 12-week weight loss plan app that people who are living with obesity can use to develop healthier eating habits, get more active and lose weight. For more information go to www.nhs.uk/BetterHealth.

 More information can also be found here

NYCC Young People’s emotional health survey

North Yorkshire County Council wants to hear from young people about how the Coronavirus lockdown has impacted their mental health.

Complete the survey

 New grief and loss support service available to Harrogate district residents what

This is a new support and advice service that has been launched to help people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate through grief and loss.

More information can be found here

Ear To Help – a service provided by Just ‘B’

“If lockdown is relaxed, then why don’t I feel relaxed?”
“We may have a new normal, but none of this feels normal to me”

Anyone feeling anxious can talk to specialist support workers who are ready to listen, and share helpful tools and ways to cope.
The Community Helpline is available to all across Hambleton, Harrogate District and Richmondshire. 8am-8pm, 7 days a week on (01423) 856 799.  Calls are charged at local rates.

Racecourse Approach Update

Some of you will be following the events of the proposed 800 house build adjacent to the Young Offenders Prison. The Wetherby action group ‘Better Wetherby’ have been leading the opposition to this development which will have a major effect on Wetherby. Clearly, there will be an increased demand on doctors, dentists, schools, vehicle traffic and parking. There will of course be a knock-on effect to surrounding villages.

One of the conditions the planners imposed on the development was to have access onto the B1224 York Road. The builders, Taylor Wimpy, have been unsuccessful in purchasing land for this access and applied to Leeds planning to have this stipulation removed. Access will be on to Racecourse Approach.
Unfortunately, Leeds Planning have agreed by 8 votes to 5 and the application can now move forward to the detailed design stage.

More information here:


Chatterbox News Update August 2020

Chatterbox News update!!

As we continue to abide by the current restrictions surrounding the Coronavirus crisis we are delighted to share with you our planned village activities for August.
Your Chatterbox team has been greatly encouraged by appreciation shown and messages of support received, from residents during recent events.

Thank you! we couldn’t do it without You.

We include details below of our next two village events, both planned for Bank Holiday Monday 31st August.
We trust you will find them enjoyable. If you have any queries please feel free to contact any of the named coordinators listed.
Our events this year have aided various charitable organisations, we are delighted to continue in this way by offering Wetherby Food Bank the proceeds from this month’s event.
Our grateful thanks go to Julie McCready at West End Cottage for organising the Rock Trail/Hunt and to Teddy Edward at Manorlea who will be collecting donations from the Yard Sale.

If you have any suggestions which you feel would benefit Bickerton residents, during these difficult times, please feel free to contact any of the Chatterbox team.
Stay Alert! Stay Safe! Stay Distanced and most of  All, please join in on the 31st, we would love to see you!

We will send out a further reminder in two weeks time, meanwhile start painting your rocks.

With Our Best Wishes

Susie Joyce Linda and Karen


Susie Pilling                             Tel 01423 358340

Joyce Harrison     Tel 01423 358124

Linda Thornber            Tel 01423 358967

Karen Flood                       Tel 01423 358689


Bickerton Rocks! Our Hidden Gallery

A selection of painted rocks

Open to all – Please join in and decorate a rock for our Bickerton Rock Trail on
Bank Holiday Monday 31st August
Decorate a rock — getting as creative as you like — seal it with varnish or PVA to
make it waterproof.  Write your name on the bottom of the rock. Think of a
name for the design. Then, hide it on or before Monday 31st August so it can be
spotted along the public footpath or pavement and let me know via email

I need to know your name and the name of your rock design by Friday 28th
August this will give me time to compile a numbered list of the entries
Sample entry form for the painted rock competitionLists will be available at the start of the day on the cart outside West End Cottage.
You can collect a list and start your search – ticking off the rocks as you find them like bingo!
Who will manage to find and tick off all the rocks on the list? Will you remember
where they are all hidden?  A marvellous way to share and play with creativity.

No rocks can be moved during the hunt
No rocks should be hidden on private property
All rocks should be visible from the public paths but not create a trip hazard
All rocks should be hidden within Bickerton Village no further than the last


Bickerton Bonanza – Clear out for Charity

Composite yard sale image of items to display

Do you have things that you want to get rid of?
Have you been meaning to clear out your garage or house? Perhaps the
children’s toys or kitchen cupboards.
Now is the time to have a summer clear out.
We are inviting you to get rid of all those things you couldn’t take to the
tip or charity shop?
It may be rubbish to you but could be someone else’s treasure?

On Monday 31st August 10am-6pm

Place all the things you no longer want and are prepared to give away
at the end of your drive by 10 am.  Invite donations, to be left with
Teddy Edward at his collection station outside Manorlea, Main Street.
He will be ready and waiting to receive a Monetary donation or tinned goods, all for the Wetherby Food Bank.
Please place a sign on your goods directing people to Teddy’s donation station.
Enjoy walking around the village looking, collecting and donating.

Let’s redistribute the things we no longer need, hopefully they will find new loving homes and be of use to others.  Wheel barrows at the ready! Will you grab a bargain?

Chatterbox coordinator for this event – Joyce Harrison tel: 01423 358124