Walton on Thames

Don’t fall victim to online scammers

In recent years, we have become increasingly reliant on computers, tablets and smart-phones. We use the internet to do everything from ordering a pizza and chatting with friends to planning holidays and running our bank accounts. It all adds up to more convenience in our lives, but there are times when this reliance takes on a more sinister turn.

The more high-tech our society is, the more ingenious certain criminal elements become. We have all heard about computer fraud in the past, and indeed some of us will have fallen victim to it, but the increase in criminal activity means we have to remain ever more vigilant, especially when wrong-doers become ever more sophisticated.

Recently, an attempted scam was used to try to hoodwink an innocent house buyer. Although the attempt proved to be unsuccessful, it has served to re mind us all of the need for caution at all times. The case involved a fraudulent email that was sent to a purchaser asking for money to be transferred to the ‘estate agent’. The sum involved was substantial, so the harm that could have been done would have been significant.

It’s thought the scammers had hacked into previous emails between the various parties, so they knew about the amount of money involved and the approximate timeline. Sadly, this will almost certainly not be the last time such an attempt is made.

Fortunately, the intended victim smelt a rat, and decided to ask a few questions before parting with any money. Rather than send a sizable deposit to a bogus account, she had the good sense to contact the estate agency by phone. Only by doing this was the scam exposed.

This is perhaps the first time a bogus estate agent was involved, but we have seen many past examples of fake conveyancers making contact with property sellers. It’s a sad but perhaps inevitable fact that there are criminals who will do all they can to steal our money, and it’s even sadder to accept that some members of our community will fall for such tactics.

This rather worrying development reminds us all about the need to take every transaction seriously. Estate agents work hard to build a relationship with buyers and sellers, as well as with renters and owners, and they need to ensure everyone involved knows who they are dealing with. The seller who was the subject of the scam became suspicious because the email didn’t contain the estate agent’s logo, but even if the logo was present it could still have been a scam.

Here at James Neave, we strongly advise all parties to double check every single detail of an online transaction before hitting the ‘Send’ button. We recommend total vigilance at all times, and if there is any doubt whatsoever, even an inkling of suspicion, it’s best to contact the agent or canvasser by phone. This is one of those occasions when it pays to be on full alert.


Being a good sport is easy in Walton-on-Thames

Getting fit and staying healthy becomes so much easier when you have a top quality fitness facility right on the doorstep, and here in Walton-on-Thames we can regard ourselves as somewhat spoilt. Here on the banks of the Thames we have the Embridge Xcel Leisure Complex, a popular place that offers a wide range of sports and activities for all.

Whether you see yourself as the next Mo Farah or you just want to take a break from being a couch potato, it’s reassuring to know that this highly regarded centre is within easy reach. It has everything from squash courts and swimming pools to a state of the art gym and, for those with a head for heights, a climbing wall. A café and crèche are also on hand for those who have a hunger and those who are younger.

If you prefer your activity to be a little more slow-paced, you’ll find some excellent golf courses in this part of Surrey. Sunbury, Hersham and Burhill all play host to highly rated courses, and all are just a short drive from the centre of Walton-on-Thames. For something a little different, how about a round amid the royal grounds at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club?

Needless to say, many people would rather settle back and watch others taking part in the action. Walton & Hersham and Walton Casuals are our local football clubs, with the former playing at Stompond Lane and the latter currently ground-sharing with Whyteleafe while their Waterside Stadium ground is being redeveloped. There is a chance that the two clubs will share the ground when it’s completed.

Walton Athletic Club is an active and friendly club based in Stompond Lane. It has around 200 members at the moment and it has a strong juniors section. Walton-on-Thames Cricket Club was established back in 1898, and they play their home matches amid the picturesque scenery of Ashley Park. In 2016, they played in Division One of the Surrey Championship.

As you might expect from a suburb that’s so close to the river, there are plenty of opportunities to take to the water here. Walton Rowing Club is located in Sunbury Lane, and it welcomes experienced rowers as well as beginners. Thames Valley Skiff Club was founded in the 1920s, and it’s based just off Dudley Road. Other water sports on offer in the area include canoeing, kayaking and sailing.

Here at James Neave, we’re always happy to offer advice and guidance about local activities, including the many sporting facilities which are available to members of our community. Walton-on-Thames is buzzing, so if you want to get in on the action give us a call today.