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Consumer scam alerts

You can report scams to our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, online on the Citizens Advice website (opens new window) or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone), or you can report a scam to Action Fraud, the UK national fraud office using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Safety Alert - Ideal Heating launches modification programme for a number of their boilers - 29 February 2024 

Ideal Heating has launched a modification programme for a number of their boilers due to a risk of fire. 

Ideal Heating will apply a safety upgrade to boilers manufactured between August 2022 and 7th January 2024 across the following ranges: 

  • Logic Combi2 
  • Logic System2 
  • Logic + Combi2 
  • Logic + System2 
  • Logic Max Combi2 
  • Logic Max System2 
  • iMini2 
  • Independent Combi2 
  • Keston Combi2 
  • Keston System2 

The product presents a risk of fire due to the dry operation, meaning the boiler lights gas but the heat generated does not cool it. There have been three incidents of boilers that have been able to continue to operate when the boiler heat exchanger has been full of air at a low pressure. This has allowed the heat exchanger and associated plastic components to be subject to significant heat allowing the plastic to flash to flame and result in fire outside of the appliance. There has also been a report of a customer having to extinguish flames. 

Ideal has launched a modification programme to address the safety risk and has advised that customers can continue to use their boiler which should be repressurised to 1.5 bar. Instructions on how to do this can be found on the Ideal safety notice on the Ideal Heating website

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from 'Amazon' - 26 February 2024

We are again warning residents to be on their guard for telephone cold calls claiming to be from 'Amazon'.

We continue to receive reports from Norfolk residents of recorded message calls claiming to be from Amazon. Previously these have included:

  • That 'an order of £700 has place for an iPhone, if this isn't you please press 1
  • That 'a payment of £79.99 has been taken to renew your Amazon Prime subscription' the call then states you can 'press 1 to cancel the payment'
  • That 'a purchase costing £300 has been made on your Amazon account' the call then states you can 'press 1 if you did not make this purchase'
  • That '£1,000 has been charged to your Amazon account' the call then states you can 'press 1 to speak to the Amazon fraud team'
  • That 'you are required to make a payment of £399 to your Amazon account' the call then states you can 'press 1 to speak to an advisor'

Where residents have interacted with the call, they have then been connected to a person who attempts to gather personal, account or financial details.

These calls are a scam and are not connected with Amazon in any way. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

Amazon have put together some helpful tips on how to identify if a phone call is from them. This information can be found on the Amazon UK website.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering to clean driveways - 26 February 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of cold callers offering to clean driveways.

This follows a report in the Poringland area of males going door to door offering to undertake this work.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers which includes:

  • Never allowing a cold caller access to your property or gardens
  • Never agreeing to further visits from them or other people
  • Never agreeing to have work done on or around your property if approached in this way no matter what claims or 'special offers' are made to try and persuade you.

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory of businesses approved by Trading Standards and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

News Alert - Free electrical fire safety events being held by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service - 26 February 2024

Three electrical fire safety events will be held at different locations in the county next week, delivered by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Members of the public are invited to bring along their electric blankets and portable heaters to be tested and will also be able to speak to the fire service about fire safety in the home.

The events will also be attended by Trading Standards and Healthwatch Norfolk - giving people the chance to find out about product safety and advice and accessing help with health and social care.

The electrical safety days will take place from 10.30am to 4pm each day at:

  • North Earlham Fire Station on Tuesday 5 March
  • Great Yarmouth Fire Station on Wednesday 6 March
  • King's Lynn North Fire Station on Thursday 7 March

There is no need to book - just turn up with your electrical items.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service was successful in bidding for funding from national campaigning charity Electrical Safety First to hold these events, which aim to help people stay safe in their homes.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 21 February 2024

We are continuing to receive reports from residents about telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

During these calls a number of claims will frequently be made, previously these have included:

  • That they are calling from or on behalf of well know organisations
  • That they are 'your local energy experts'
  • That they are 'working in your area'
  • That they are offering 'free loft insulation inspections'
  • That they need to 'arrange a loft insultation inspection'
  • That 'old loft insulation is causing damp/a health hazard/a fire risk'

The cold caller will usually then attempt to make an appointment for a home visit.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal details or agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Employment scams - 21 February 2024

We are warning residents about scam adverts and messages claiming to be offering employment opportunities.

Adverts will often be placed on social media and messages are often sent by text or on WhatsApp.

If contact is made the scammer will start by asking for personal information 'to confirm identity', may ask for a CV to be sent or will send a questionnaire to complete. Providing too much personal information can put you at risk of further scams or identity theft, you should be very wary if asked to provide the following:

  • Your full date of birth
  • Full address
  • Passport number
  • Driving licence number
  • National Insurance number
  • Bank account details

Other employment scams may ask for fees to be paid upfront to cover administration, background checks or travel.

You can report suspicious text messages received by forwarding them to 7726View information on this free service, and how to forward messages from iPhone and Android handsets, on the Ofcom website.

Any online scam adverts spotted can be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by filling out a simple form on the ASA website. Based on reports to them, the ASA works with advertising networks and online publishers to remove scams as quickly as possible.

You can also report scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Life Insurance emails - 20 February 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud about a rise in reports of scam emails which claim to be from companies selling life insurance.

The emails often claim to be offering a 'free quote' but anyone following the link will be taken to a website designed to steal personal information.

If you receive an email you are suspicious about, or think is a scam, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the message to report@phishing.gov.uk.

You can also report suspicious messages received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Be on the lookout for scam emails - 20 February 2024

We frequently receive reports from Norfolk residents about scam emails they have received. A few recent examples include:

  • Emails claiming to be from Sainsbury's stating you can 'participate in our Loyalty Programme and receive a brand-new free Ninja Air Frier'
  • Emails saying your 'anti-virus software has expired' and needs 'renewing urgently'. These are often branded with the Norton or McAfee logos
  • Emails claiming, 'your iCloud storage is full' and offering a 'free storage upgrade'
  • Emails claiming your TV Licence direct debit 'could not be collected' or 'has failed'

Links provided in these emails will lead to phishing websites designed to look like genuine sites but will attempt to steal personal and financial information.

You can report suspicious emails to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

The NCSC has the power to investigate and remove scam email addresses and websites. It's free to report a suspicious email to them and it only takes a minute. By reporting phishing attempts you can help:

  • Reduce the amount of scam emails you receive
  • Make yourself a harder target for scammers
  • Protect others from cybercrime online

You can also report scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert - Bluetongue virus update - 19 February 2024

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have announced that the Bluetongue Temporary Control Zones (TCZs) in Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent have been lifted on Monday 19 February 2024.

This update, and further information including how to spot and report the Bluetongue, is available from the GOV.UK website.

Scam Alert - Fake parcel delivery text messages - 15 February 2024

We are warning residents about text messages claiming to be from parcel delivery companies stating they are unable to deliver an item.

Recent examples have included messages claiming to be from EVRI stating a package has been 'damaged in transit' and as 'address information is lost' it 'cannot be delivered'. The message goes on to state that updated address information is needed 'within 12 hours' via an included link.

These messages are sent by criminals who have created fake website to look like the genuine ones, with the same branding, layout, and font choices. These are used to gather personal and financial information or take payments.

If you receive one of these messages do not click on any links.

Suspicious or scam text messages can be reported by forwarding the message to 7726. More information on this free reporting service and how to forward messages from your device is available on the Ofcom website.

If you think you have interacted with a scam message and provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card.

You can also report scams received to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from banks - 14 February 2024

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone calls which claim to be from banks making claims of 'unauthorised transactions', 'attempted withdrawals' or applications for financial products, like personal loans, on your account.

In a recent report a resident received a cold call claiming to be from 'Nationwide Credit Card Banking', the cold caller then attempted to gather personal and account information. Following the call the resident made contact with Nationwide who confirmed the call was not genuine.

We always advise people to be very wary of claims made during telephone cold calls. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

We also advise that:

  • Your bank will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another 'safe' account.
  • They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.

If you are concerned about the security of a bank account contact your bank directly using the Customer Service number printed on the card, on a recent statement or via information available on their genuine website or app. Never use details provided in a cold call.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on 0808 223 1133

Remember these steps if you are approached:

  • Stop - take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
  • Challenge - Could it be fake? It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect - Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering tree work - 13 February 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers offering tree work.

This follows an incident in the Aylsham area where a male cold called at a property stating he was 'working in the area' and offering to work on trees.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers and never agree to have work done on or around your property if approached in this way.

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website to see our Trading Standards approved members and read feedback from their customers.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller offering to undertake work on roofs - 13 February 2024

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs.

This follows recent reports in the Ludham area of cold callers offering roof cleaning and other repairs.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers which includes:

  • never allowing a cold caller access to your property or gardens
  • never agreeing to further visits from them or other people
  • never agreeing to have work done on or around your property
  • if approached in this way no matter what claims or 'special offers' are made to try and persuade you.

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory of businesses approved by Trading Standards and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz.

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls asking about 'Internet Strength' - 09 February 2024

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls which attempt to engage with the recipient about 'internet strength'.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the cold caller claimed they were calling from Sky and attempted to get the resident to reveal account details for their current internet contract.

If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not give or confirm any details.

If you think you have responded to a scam call and given bank details contact your bank immediately.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Fake DVLA emails - 08 February 2024

We are warning residents about fake communications which claim to be from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

One recent example which states it is a 'DVLA Notification' and claims that 'We need a moment of your time for a quick payment update' due to 'an issue with your last transaction'. The email then provides a button to 'update payment'.

These emails are not from DVLA, anyone clicking on the update button provided will be taken to a fake version of the DVLA website which will attempt to gather personal and financial information.

If you receive an email you are suspicious about, or think is a scam, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the message to report@phishing.gov.uk.

You can also report suspicious messages received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep cold calling incidents - 06 February 2024

We are reminding residents to be on their guard to doorstep cold calling even if they are displaying a No Cold Calling sticker.

Residents often report to us that they have had cold callers at their door despite displaying a sticker, with some reporting that the callers can be difficult to turn away and, in some cases, verbally aggressive when the presence of the sticker is pointed out.

We are asking residents to report all doorstep cold calling incidents to us, especially if their property is displaying a No Cold Calling door sticker of any type. We are also offering the following advice:

  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door, if you can check through a spy hole or look from a window to see who is there
  • Think about your home security, make sure other doors to your property are locked before answering the front door
  • If the person is offering services or trying to sell something politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or charity ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book, DO NOT use information on the ID, it could be fake If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you can not verify it is genuine politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • As the cold caller leaves, if you can safely from inside your property watch and see: Do they go to call at neighbouring properties? Do they return to a vehicle, is it sign written, can you see the make, model, colour and registration plate? Are they alone or working with others? Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were calling and who they say they were representing - all of this information is very useful to Trading Standards and the Police when looking at Cold Calling incidents

You can report doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Constabulary on 101. If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

If you would like one of our No Cold Calling door stickers contact the Norfolk County Council customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.

Why not consider setting up a No Cold Calling Zone in your community? You can find out more about our scheme at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Scam Alert - Investment Scams - 02 February 2024

We are warning residents to continue to be alert for social media posts which claim to be about well-known celebrities who are endorsing investments.

Scammers frequently make posts or place paid for adverts often linking to fake news articles which claim that the celebrity named is promoting online investments after making large amounts of money from doing so themselves.

These post and adverts are placed attempting to lure people into making contact so they can be encouraged to invest in these investment scams. Common investment scams include:

  • Fake shares
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Gemstones
  • Fine wines.

In reality, the celebrities used in these investment scams have nothing to do with the fraudsters and their image and status are being used without their permission or endorsement. Any money handed over is likely to end up in the hands of cyber criminals with little or no possibility of you ever recovering it.

Protect yourself

  • Be very sceptical about social media posts and online adverts offering shares and other investments using celebrity endorsements - especially if they're claiming to be 'guaranteed' or 'risk-free'
  • Get independent financial advice before making any investment
  • Never sign up to anything immediately or if you're told to keep the deal confidential
  • Make sure any firm you are thinking of investing with are on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register of authorised firms, you can check the list by visiting the FCA website.

Which? have put together useful guidance on how to spot an investment scam which can be found on the Which? website. The Financial Conduct Authority website also provides further details on how to avoid investment scams online.

Any online scam adverts spotted can be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by filling out a simple form on the ASA website. Based on reports to them, the ASA works with advertising networks and online publishers to remove scams as quickly as possible.

If you think you have received an investment offer that you believe is a scam or you have become a victim of a scam, you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert - Bluetongue virus update - 02 February 2024

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have provided updated guidance to livestock keepers in the bluetongue virus temporary control zones (TCZ) in Norfolk

This update, and further information including how to spot and report the disease, is available from the GOV.UK website.

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'Disney+' - 01 February 2024

We are warning Disney+ customers about a number of scam emails circulating claiming your subscription has or is about to expire, and offering you the chance to extend your subscription at a heavily discounted rate.

The emails, which are sent using Disney+ logos and imagery, provide a link to 'Extend now', anyone following the link will be taken to a fake version of the Disney+ website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Our advice is always to be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

You can report any suspicious email received by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk

You can also report scams received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Unknown charges on bank accounts - 31 January 2024

We have recently been contacted by a resident who had become aware of possible attempts to defraud them.

While checking their bank statement the resident noticed there were unexpected 'subscription' payments leaving their account to a service they were not using or had ever contacted.

It is important that we all do what we can to try to ensure we keep our personal and banking information as secure as possible but if you become aware of unusual activity, either through emails received or when checking bank statements, that you take steps to protect yourself.

If you become aware of unusual activity on your bank account or credit card, you should contact your bank or service provider directly using:

  • The Customer Service number printed on the card or a recent statement
  • Via information available on their genuine website or app
  • By visiting a branch

Never use details provided in an unexpected email or cold call.

Citizens Advice offer further advice around banking, security and fraud on their website.

Action Fraud offer advice about staying safe from Identity Theft and Identity Fraud on their website.

If you have received something which you think could be a scam, you can contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 29 January 2024

We are continuing to warn residents to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows a recent report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the cold caller claimed they were 'offering free insulation inspections'. When the resident asked the cold caller for information about the business calling them the cold caller hung up.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call, never give, or confirm any personal details and never agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this way.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert - Websites offering CSCS Cards - 29 January 2024

We are warning construction workers in Norfolk to be aware of websites claiming to be offering Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards but charging higher fees than the official application service

Complaints have been received from those who have used third party companies to apply for their CSCS cards. These companies are unaffiliated to CSCS and simply use the official CSCS application service on their client's behalf, while charging an admin fee.

While many third-party sites provide the services advertised and are entirely legal, some charge significantly more than the official application fee.

There is only one official service which is via the CSCS webstie. A CSCS card costs £36 and in most cases, applications will be processed, and cards issued within 48 hours.

If a website is attempting to charge more than £36 for a CSCS card or £22.50 for the separate CITB Health, safety and environment test you may want to visit the official CSCS site instead.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties' roof - 26 January 2024

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs.

This follows an incident where two males cold called at a property in the Great Yarmouth area telling the resident that they were 'working in the area' and 'had noticed damage to the roof'. The cold callers quoted a price of £1,000 for the repair and were given access to the roof. Following this the males returned to the resident claiming the damage was worse than they thought. This led to the resident making a payment totalling several thousand pounds to the cold callers. Not long after the payment was made the males left the property, it is believed little or no actual work was undertaken.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is 'just passing' or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Scam Alert - 'Page deletion' messages on Facebook - 25 January 2024

We are warning Facebook users about scam messages being sent claiming that 'your Facebook page is scheduled for permanent deletion'.

The message states that this is 'due to a post that has infringed upon our trademark rights' before going on to offer a link to 'request a review'.

These messages are not from Facebook and anyone following the link will be taken to a phishing website which will attempt to gather personal and Facebook login information which can then be used to take control of your profile.

To report a scam group, page or profile on Facebook select the three dots on the right hand side of the page and click 'report'.

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'TV Licensing' - 25 January 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud about TV Licencing scam emails after they received over six thousand reports in the first two weeks of 2024. Common themes for these emails are claims that your licence is about to expire or there was an issue with your latest payment or direct debit. The emails also provide a link to enable the recipient to resolve the 'issue'.

These emails are not from TV Licencing and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine looking fake version of the TV Licencing website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Our advice is always to be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

TV Licensing offer the following advice to help spot scam TV Licence emails:

  • Check the sender - Genuine TV Licensing emails are sent from donotreply@tvlicensing.co.uk or donotreply@spp.tvlicensing.co.uk.
  • Partial Postcode - If you have provided us with your postcode details, our emails will include part of your postcode and/or the name on the licence
  • Look for your name - If you've given us your name, then we'll always address you using your last name and title. The scammers won't normally have that information about you. So, watch out for emails that only address you as "Dear client" or "Dear customer" - or just use your email address (or part of it)
  • Check the spelling and grammar - Because scammers can't use our genuine TV Licensing web addresses or email addresses, they'll try to use slightly different spellings - look out for things like hyphens and full stops in odd places. Be suspicious too if there are mistakes in the email with capital letters or other grammatical errors, like missing full stops - this could be a scam
  • Check the links - Be wary of emails promising money/refunds. For example, phrases such as, "click below to access your refund", followed by a request to provide your credit card or bank details (we would never process a refund in this way). Always check links in an email before clicking or tapping them.
    • If you're on a computer hover over the link (but don't click it). This will reveal the name of the web address that you are being sent to.
    • If you're on a smartphone or tablet press and hold on the link (don't release while you are on the link). This will reveal the name of the web address that you are being sent to.

TV Licensing offer further advice on helping you to avoid TV Licensing Scams on their website.

You can report suspicious emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Text messages claiming to be from HMRC - 23 January 2024

We are reminding residents to continue to be alert around text messages claiming to be from HMRC.

  • HMRC does send text messages to some of their customers which may include links to GOV.UK information or the official HMRC webchat.
  • HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal, payment or financial information by text message.
  • HMRC also advise that you should never open any links or reply to any text messages claiming to be from HMRC that offers you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details.

You can forward suspicious HMRC text messages received to HMRC by forwarding the message to 60599 (network charges apply) or screenshot the message and email it to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk

You can find more information about phishing approaches and scams claiming to be from HMRC on the GOV.UK website.

You can also report suspicious text messages received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering to take waste items - 22 January 2024

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers offering to remove waste items.

This follows an incident where a number of males were cold calling at properties in the Kings Lynn area offering to take waste items for cash payment. The males were seen to be using a white Peugeot Partner van.

We are reminding residents to check that anyone taking waste from their property for disposal is a licenced carrier to avoid the risk of possible fines or prosecution. For this, always think SCRAP:

  • Suspect all waste carriers
  • Check that the provider taking away waste is licenced using the Environment Agency register on GOV.UK or by calling 03708 506 506
  • Refuse unexpected offers to have waste taken away
  • Ask what will happen to your waste
  • Paperwork should be obtained - such as a detailed invoice, waste transfer note or full receipt

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Information Alert - Register my Appliance week 2024 - 22 January 2024

More than 40 million large appliances in use in UK homes are unlikely to be registered with the manufacturers, rendering them extremely hard to trace if a safety repair is ever needed.

Trading Standards is supporting Register My Appliance Week and urging all households to take the simplest and most important act of care: registering their home appliances to ensure their brands know where to find them. Whether machines are newly purchased, long installed, have been acquired 'nearly new' or second-hand, registration is vital to help ensure the longest possible safe lifespan.

To find our more or to register your appliances visit the Register my Appliance website.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold callers regarding solar panels - 18 January 2024

We are warning residents with solar panels on their property to be on their guard for telephone cold callers who call making claims regarding existing systems and checks which they will state are needed.

The cold callers will then attempt to make an appointment for someone to visit and inspect the system.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never agree to services, to having work done or for someone to visit your home if approached in this manner.

We also advise that solar panel owners should always talk to their supplier before allowing any work or 'maintenance' to take place on their panels. Generally a solar panel system does not need servicing, but it may benefit from being cleaned if the panels are dirty.

Any work on the electrics of a solar panel system should only be carried out by a qualified electrician, suitably qualified electricians can be found on the Norfolk Trusted Trader website or via the Electrical Safety First Website.

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have agreed to a visit during a cold call contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 16 January 2024

We are again warning residents to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows two further reports from Norfolk residents. In the first incident a resident received a call during which the cold caller claimed they were 'investigating a company' that had installed insulation at the property six years before. The cold caller then attempted to make an appointment to visit the residents' property.

In the second incident a resident has reported receiving multiple cold calls during which the caller claims they need to make an appointment for a 'free insulation inspection'.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call, never give, or confirm any personal details and never agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this way.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering driveway work - 15 January 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Taverham area.

This follows reports of a male cold calling at properties offering to undertake work on driveways.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers which includes:

  • Never allowing a cold caller access to your property or gardens
  • Never agreeing to further visits from them or other people
  • Never agreeing to have work done on or around your property

If approached in this way no matter what claims or 'special offers' are made to try and persuade you.

Anyone sighting cold callers in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

Scam Alert - Text messages claiming to be from 'Royal Mail' - 12 January 2024

We are warning residents about text messages continuing to circulate claiming to be from the 'Royal Mail'.

One recent example reported to us states 'Royal Mail: Post Office - We regret to inform you that we are unable to deliver your package due to a missing address' and then offers a link to 'update address'.

Criminals are experts at creating spoof messages that then link to fake websites using official logos and branding of trusted organisations to trick you into taking urgent action without closer inspection.

Always be wary of unexpected messages received and never respond or click on any links or attachments unless you know you can trust them.

Suspicious or scam text messages can be reported by forwarding the message to 7726. More information on this free reporting service and how to forward messages from your device is available on the Ofcom website.

If you think you have interacted with a scam message and provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card.

If you have received a text message which you believe to be a scam you can also report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133
Royal Mail offer further examples of text and email scams using their name on the Royal Mail website

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller offering to clean gutters - 12 January 2024

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers offering to clean or clear gutters.

This follows an incident where two males cold called at properties in the Hellesdon area offering to clean and clear gutters quoting a low price to undertake the work. Where residents agreed to the work the males returned for payment after a brief period although it is believed they undertook little or no actual work.

Previously this approach has also been used to gain access to roofs, after which the cold caller then claims that 'urgent' work on the roof is needed to prevent leaks and damage. The cold caller will often show images on a mobile phone which they claim they have taken on the properties' roof. They will then try to persuade the resident to pay them to undertake these repairs that are often unnecessary or even due to damage caused by the cold caller.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is 'just passing' or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers selling household products - 11 January 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell household products.

Reports this week have been received from the Eaton, Unthank Road and Newmarket Road areas of Norwich, Wymondham, Poringland, Brooke and Ditchingham.

Often this type of cold caller will claim to be 'ex offenders' or that they have 'recently been released from prison', and that the work is part of their 'improvement' or to 'earn a reference'. In one report this week the cold caller claimed he was selling the items for a well-known national charity that supports ex services personnel. They usually carry large holdall type bags or rucksacks containing a range of household products including packaged kitchen knives, scissors, dusters, tea towels and cleaning products.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

Anyone sighting these sellers or other doorstep cold callers in Norfolk should contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel intimidated or sight doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from the National Crime Agency - 10 January 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud who have reported a recent increase in reports of emails impersonating the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The email states that the NCA has evidence that the recipient has accessed and viewed 'child pornography' or other 'illegal pornographic content'.

The emails demand that the recipient make contact within a specified deadline. If they do not, the email claims that a warrant will be issued for their arrest and that the recipient's details will be added to the sex offenders register, quoting legislation to make the threat sound legitimate.

It is assessed that the intention of the email is to prompt the victim into initiating communication with the suspects so that personal information can be disclosed to be used for blackmail or to commit fraud. Unlike other emails which impersonate law enforcement, there is no up-front demand for money however, where victims have engaged with the suspects, they have demanded money at a later stage.

The use of such threatening language creates a significant and emotional impact upon the recipient. The time pressure that is applied encourages victims to panic and act without thinking, unknowingly exposing themselves to compromise and blackmail.

The NCA offer the following advice:

  • The NCA will not send unsolicited correspondence requesting money or bank details. If you have doubts about the authenticity of a message received from the NCA, please call 0370 496 7622
  • Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will not ask you to supply personal information over email. If you receive which you think is suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the email to report@phishing.gov.uk.

You can also report scams received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 9 January 2024

We are warning residents to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows two recent reports from Norfolk residents. In the first incident a resident received a call during which the cold caller claimed they 'needed to arrange a visit' to inspect the properties insulation as 'there was a 1 in 16 chance it contained dangerous chemicals'.

In the second incident a resident received a cold call during which the caller claimed they cold offer 'free Government backed loft insulation' with the caller then trying to make an appointment for an 'insulation expert' to visit.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call, never give, or confirm any personal details and never agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this way.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller claiming issues with properties' roof - 8 January 2024


We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs.

This follows an incident where a male cold called at a property in the Thetford area telling the resident that they 'could quote for roof repairs' that he claimed would be needed.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is 'just passing' or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit No cold calling zones.

Scam Alert - Investment Scams and fake cryptocurrency exchanges - 8 January 2024

We are continuing to receive reports of individuals falling victim to online investment scams, including fake cryptocurrency exchanges. Losses to these scams range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but there are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies including other well-known ones such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Cryptocurrencies only exists online and are not controlled by a bank, treasury or country meaning you can't get physical notes or coins from the bank.

Our advice is to always ensure you understand a cryptocurrency or an investment before transferring any money.

A cryptocurrency scam can take many forms, this could include:

  • A fake cryptocurrency which doesn't or will ever exist
  • A bogus investment which promises to put money in a legitimate cryptocurrency
  • A dangerous website link that then downloads malware onto your computer

Which? have put together useful guidance on how to spot an investment scam - find details on their website.

The Financial Conduct Authority website also provides further details on how to avoid investment scams online.

If you think you have received an investment offer that you believe is a scam or you have become a victim of a scam, you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller in the Downham Market area - 5 January 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a cold caller in the Downham Market area.

This follows reports of two males cold calling at properties offering 'solar panels'.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers which includes:

  • Never allowing a cold caller access to your property or gardens
  • Never agreeing to further visits from them or other people
  • Never agreeing to have work done on or around your property

if approached in this way no matter what claims or 'special offers' are made to try and persuade you.

Anyone sighting cold callers in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Scam Alert - Consumer website Which? warns drivers to avoid search engines when downloading parking apps - 20 December 2023

We are highlighting a warning from the consumer website Which? about scammers using online adverts to trick drivers into paying for expensive subscriptions when looking for parking payment apps.

Which? report that in recent weeks they have seen adverts impersonating well known parking apps including JustPark, PaybyPhone and RingGo on search engines, often appearing higher in searches than the genuine websites for these companies. Read the full report about downloading parking apps on the Which? website.

Which? advise drivers looking to download apps to pay for parking to use the official Apple or Google Play app stores to avoid the risk of downloading a copycat version.

If you see a fake or misleading online advert on a website, social media platform or ad networks operating in the UK you can report it to the Advertising Standards Authority via their website.

You can report suspected scams to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from 'Visa' - 19 December 2023

We are warning residents about automated telephone calls that claim they are from 'the Visa card department'.

This follows a report from a resident who received a call which stated 'This is a call from the Visa card department, your card has been debited by £500 to Amazon and eBay', the call went on to say 'If you did not make these transactions press 1 to speak to a member of the fraud team'.

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

If you receive this, or a similar call, do not interact with it in any way and hang up.

It is likely there are several variations of these calls stating different transactions, amounts and actions that can be taken.

If you are concerned about the security of a bank account or credit card contact your bank or service provider directly using the Customer Service number printed on the card, on a recent statement or via information available on their genuine website or app. Never use details provided in a cold call.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Safety Alert - Gas hob elbow joints corrective action programme continues - 18 December 2023

Twelve UK gas hob manufacturers have committed to undertake a corrective action programme to make certain hobs safe, as a result of an investigation by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

The companies involved are Apelson Appliances UK Ltd, Buy It Direct Ltd, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, Kingfisher International Products Ltd, Lancaster Holdings Ltd, Maurice Lay Distributors Ltd, Midea UK Ltd, Product Care Trading Ltd, Samsung Electronics, Shop Direct Home Shopping Ltd, Stax Trade Centres Ltd and The Wright Buy Ltd.

This followed a number of incidents, including an explosion at a caravan park in April 2023, where a person suffered serious burns. The investigation by OPSS identified that faulty elbow joints used to connect certain models to the gas supply could give rise to a serious risk of poisoning, burns or gas explosion and/or fire.

The companies will visit every home containing affected hobs and make them safe.

While all affected consumers should check the model links, owners and consumers in caravans, leisure homes and motorhomes should do this as a matter of urgency. If they are using an affected appliance with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), they should disconnect it from the LPG cylinder immediately.

The affected models are listed on the OPSS Product Recalls and Alerts pages.

Belling / Stoves Gas Hobs
Caple Gas Hobs
Cata / Culina Gas Hobs
Comfee Gas Hobs
Cooke and Lewis Gas Hobs
Cookology Gas Hobs
Electriq Gas Hobs
Kitchenplus Gas Hobs
Russell Hobbs Gas Hobs
Samsung Gas Hobs
Statesman Gas Hobs
Swan Gas Hobs

Owners and consumers in domestic premises should continue to be vigilant. If they smell gas or are concerned that their product poses a risk, they should contact the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.

Information Alert - Stay safe from Loan Sharks - 18 December 2023

The Christmas period can be a very expensive time and knowing where to go to get the right help can be tricky too. We want you to know the red flags of loan sharks, so you can protect yourself.

  • Loan sharks can pose as your friend and draw you in with a loan, no questions asked.
  • Loan sharks often don't provide any paperwork or receipts and will add huge amounts of interest on what you owe.
  • Loan sharks can become aggressive and threaten you and your family if payments are missed or late.
  • Loan sharks can take valuables or personal documents as security.

If you recognise any of these signs there are people who can help. Stop Loan Sharks England can provide help and support for anyone involved with a loan shark. Contact them today on 0300 555 2222.

Scam Alert - Fake parcel delivery emails and text messages - 13 December 2023

As Christmas approaches we are again warning residents to be aware for fake parcel delivery emails and text messages.

Previous examples have included ones claiming to be from Royal Mail, EVRI, DPD, UPS and the Post Office.

They are sent by criminals who have created fake website to look like the genuine ones, with the same branding, layout, and font choices. These are used to gather personal and financial information or take payments.

If you receive one of these messages do not click on any links or open attachments.

You can report any suspicious email received by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk

Suspicious or scam text messages can be reported by forwarding the message to 7726. Find more information on this free service and how to forward messages from your device on the Ofcom website.

If you think you have interacted with a scam message and provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card

You can also report scams received to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Scam Callers claiming to be Police Officers - 12 December 2023

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Constabulary for residents to be aware of telephone scammers pretending to be police officers after they received a number of recent reports from residents in the Breckland and South Norfolk areas.

During the call, the call recipient is told their bank cards have been cloned and money is being taken from their accounts. The caller then uses this to attempt gather personal and financial information which can then be used to commit further frauds.

If you receive this or a similar call you should not engage with the call in any way, hang up and then contact Norfolk Police on 101, if possible on a different phone, quoting 'Operation Radium'.

If you believe a crime is in progress, always call 999.

What is courier fraud?

Courier Fraud happens when a fraudster contacts a victim by telephone claiming to be a police officer, bank or from a government department, among other agencies. A number of techniques will then be adopted in order to convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which may then be passed on to a courier.

Further advice includes:

  • Police officers, banks and other government agencies will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another account as part of an undercover operation
  • They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN
  • The police will never ask you to handover money for safe keeping or as part of an operation
  • The police will never send someone to your address to collect money, cards or PIN Numbers or ask you to deliver these to another location

Try these steps if you are approached:

  • Stop - take a moment to think before parting with your money or information
  • Challenge - Could it be fake? It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • Protect - Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it

Communities can help by ensuring they share warnings about this type of approach with neighbours, family and friends, particularly elderly relatives to ensure they are aware of these scams and the warning sign.

Scam Alert - Fake 'Royal Mail' websites selling stamps - 11 December 2023

We are warning residents about fake Royal Mail websites claiming to be offering postage stamps at discounted prices.

The websites are being advertised on social media sites with posts often claiming to be part of a limited time 'clearance sale' selling large amounts of postage stamps at heavily discounted prices.

Recent versions have offered 80 2nd Class postage stamps for around £30.

Anyone following the link to the website is then encouraged to order larger amounts with additional offers made including 'buy 4 get 20% off' and 'free shipping' on multiple purchases.

In some cases these websites are used to collect personal and financial information, in others consumers who have made purchases have received stamps which, when used, have turned out to be counterfeits.

When looking at social media posts making claims of offers and sales remember:

  • Is the offer too good to be true? Often this is a sign that it could be scam
  • When was the social media account created? Scam sites will often be recently made
  • Is it the genuine URL associated with the brand? The official Royal Mail website is royalmail.com
  • Look at the payment options. If they only take bank transfer treat it with real caution as it offers you no or little protection
  • Are you being rushed to make a purchasing decision? Scammers will look to push you into a transaction before you've had time to think. Always stop and take five if you're being pressured

If you see a scam or think you have been the victim of an online scam you can report this to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers selling household products - 8 December 2023

We are again warning residents to be on their guard after receiving further reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell household products.

The most recent reports have been from the Downham Market and Hilgay areas.

Often this type of cold caller will claim to be 'ex offenders' or that they have 'been in trouble with the police', and that the work is part of their 'improvement' or to 'earn a reference'. They usually carry large holdall type bags or rucksacks containing a range of household products including packaged kitchen knives, scissors, dusters, tea towels and cleaning products.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

Anyone sighting these sellers or other doorstep cold callers in Norfolk should contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel intimidated or sight doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Information Alert - Bluetongue confirmed in cattle on a premises near Cantley - 8 December 2023

Bluetongue virus serotype 3 was confirmed in cattle on a premises near Cantley on Friday 8 December 2023. A 10km temporary control zone (TCZ) has been declared around the premises. Find details of the measures that apply in this extended zone in the declaration via the GOV.UK website.

The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer advises that bluetongue does not affect people or food safety. The virus is transmitted by midge bites and affects cows, goats, sheep and other camelids such as llamas. The midges are most active between April and November and not all susceptible animals show immediate, or any, signs of contracting the virus. The impacts on susceptible animals can vary greatly - some show no symptoms or effects at all while for others it can cause productivity issues such as reduced milk yield, while in the most severe cases can be fatal for infected animals.

More information, including how to spot and report the disease is available from the GOV.UK website.

News Alert - Norfolk Police granted closure order on shop selling illegal vapes in Dereham - 7 December 2023

On Wednesday December 6th, Norwich Magistrates' Court granted Norfolk Constabulary a three-month closure order on a shop in Dereham, Norfolk. This is the first closure order for a shop selling illegal vapes granted in Norfolk

A closure notice was initially served by Norfolk Constabulary at The Green Shop on Norwich Street in Dereham on Monday 4th December following four visits over a seven-month period from Norfolk Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary. A significant number of items were seized during those visits including thousands of illegal vapes alongside tobacco, cigarettes, NOS canisters, THC rolls and very strong alcohol, the shop does not hold a valid licence to sell any alcohol. Find further information on the closure order via the Norfolk Constabulary website.

If you have concerns about unsafe products on sale, including illicit vapes, you can report this to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls offering to stop telephone cold calls - 7 December 2023

We are warning Norfolk residents to be aware of telephone cold calls stating they can help stop telephone cold calls after receiving reports from residents recently.

We are aware that there are a number of companies who cold call claiming to be able to offer this 'service' with some charging one-off fees and others charging ongoing monthly fees.

It is extremely unlikely that any 'service' of this type can legitimately claim to be able to stop cold calls, so any money paid is unlikely to achieve any benefit.

We advise never to buy items or agree to ongoing services when approached by a telephone cold call.

If you have responded to one of these cold calls which you now believe may not have been genuine or the company is taking an ongoing monthly payment and you need further advice, contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Safety Alert - Fake branded chocolate bars - 6 December 2023

We are highlighting a warning from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about food safety risks from fake branded chocolate.

The FSA warn that fake branded chocolate bars may be unsafe to eat as there is a possibility that they are being made or repackaged by unregistered businesses or by criminals who will not be following hygiene, labelling and traceability laws.

Last year, fake Wonka Bars were removed from sale after having been found to contain allergens which weren't listed on the label, posing a major health risk to anyone who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.

They are now warning about Prime branded chocolate bars which again are fake as there are no Prime branded foods.

If you see Prime or Wonka chocolate bars on sale please report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep cold caller claiming issues with properties' roofs - 5 December 2023

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs.

This follows an incident in the Sprowston area of Norwich where a man cold called at a property claiming he 'could see loose ridge tiles'. The man went on to point out other issues he claimed needed repair and stated he could start work the following morning.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is 'just passing' or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden, even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property, only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before starting the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk, please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999. Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Check out our online directory to see our members, read feedback from their customers and send work requests.

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? Find out more about the No cold calling scheme and how to apply.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep cold callers offering gardening and tree work - 5 December 2023

We are again warning residents to be on their guard after receiving further reports of doorstep cold callers offering tree and garden work.

This follows an incident in the Swaffham area in which a man cold called at a property offering to undertake some garden work, which the resident agreed to, with the man charging £250. The same man returned to the property the following day demanding a further £500 for the work which the resident refused to pay.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers and never agree to have work done on or around your property if approached in this way.

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999. Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Check out our online directory to see our members, read feedback from their customers and send work requests

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep cold callers selling household products - 4 December 2023

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell household products.

This follows a recent report of young men doorstep cold calling in the Lakenham area of Norwich.

Often this type of cold caller will claim to be an 'ex offender' or that they have 'been in trouble with the police' and that the work is part of their 'improvement' or to 'earn a reference'. They usually carry large holdall type bags or rucksacks containing a range of household products including packaged kitchen knives, scissors, dusters, tea towels and cleaning products.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

Anyone sighting these sellers or other doorstep cold callers in Norfolk should contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel intimidated or sight doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering gardening and tree work - 30 November 2023

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers offering tree and garden work.

This follows a report in the Downham Market area of three males cold calling at properties offering to undertake garden work. The males were seen to be using a white flatbed van.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers and never agree to have work done on or around your property if approached in this way.

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Check out our online directory to see our members, read feedback from their customers and send work requests.

Scam Alert - Text messages offering loans - 29 November 2023

We are warning residents to be wary of unexpected text messages claiming to be offering loans.

Scammers often try and target people when looking to take out loans or may contact you unexpectedly offering money at very low interest rates.

But before giving the loan, they'll ask for an upfront payment as a deposit, administrative fee, or insurance. They might claim it's because of issues like a bad credit history.

They'll often put pressure for the fee to be paid quickly via a bank transfer, or they may ask for vouchers to be used, for example from Google Play, Amazon or One4all. Scammers have even started asking for payments to be made via crypto exchanges.

Some scammers will claim that the fees are refundable but no matter what amounts are paid no loan will ever be given.

The Financial Conduct Authority offer more advice on protecting yourself from financial scams on their website

Suspicious or scam text messages can be reported by forwarding the message to 7726. More information on this free reporting service and how to forward messages from your device is available on the Ofcom website.

You can also report scams received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold callers regarding solar panels - 28 November 2023

We are again warning residents with solar panels on their property to be on their guard for telephone cold callers who call making claims regarding existing systems and checks which they state are needed.

The cold callers will then attempt to make an appointment for someone to visit and inspect the system.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never agree to services, to having work done or for someone to visit your home if approached in this manner.

We also advise that solar panel owners should always talk to their supplier before allowing any work or 'maintenance' to take place on their panels. Generally a solar panel system does not need servicing, but it may benefit from being cleaned if the panels are dirty.

Any work on the electrics of a solar panel system should only be carried out by a qualified electrician, suitably qualified electricians can be found on the Norfolk Trusted Trader website or via the Electrical Safety First Website.

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have agreed to a visit during a cold call contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'energy efficiency' - 27 November 2023

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls regarding 'energy efficiency'.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the cold caller stated they were 'calling about the Government scheme for energy efficiency' before going on to ask a range of questions about the resident's property.

Our advice is always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call, never give, or confirm any personal or financial details and do not agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

You can report suspicious cold calls received to us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Next '£200 gift card' WhatsApp messages - 24 November 2023

We are warning residents about scam WhatsApp messages which are circulating which claim to offer '£200 Next Gift cards'.

The message, which will often come from a known contact, provides a web link to 'claim your exclusive voucher code'.

Anyone who clicks on the link will be taken to a fake Next website which requires you to complete a 'survey', which is used to gather personal and financial information, and then share the message with your WhatsApp contact list to claim your 'prize'.

By including the sharing element the scammers are ensuring the scam approach continues to be distributed to more people.

The message is a scam and is not connected with Next in any way. If you receive this message do not interact with it in anyway and please do not share it with your contacts.

To report scam WhatsApp messages, press and hold the message and select 'report'.

To report senders on WhatsApp click on the number, scroll to the bottom of the list and select 'report'.

You can also report suspicious messages you suspect are a scam to us by contacting our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Information Alert - Buying Online this weekend? Check out our top tips to stay safe - 23 November 2023

With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend here there many sites are offering numerous deals, but can you be sure they are all genuine? Check out our Top Tips for buying safely online:

Who are you buying from?

If you're buying from a website that you don't know or for the first time make sure you check them out, especially if they're claiming to have stock of this years 'must have items' that no one else has:

  • Does the site have full contact details? If it's just an email address be very wary
  • Look online, what is the site's reputation? What are other customers saying about them? Check feedback, if available, but remember it can be falsified
  • Have a good look at the site and its quality What is the copy like, are there spelling mistakes, do all the links on the pages work
  • Are they offering eye catching prices or items not available anywhere else? What they're offering could be poor quality, unsafe, counterfeit or not even exist.

If you're in any doubt, back out of the purchase.

Is it just too good to be true?

Be very wary of links shared via social media to websites offering big name brands with huge discounts. Where is that link going to go, and will your data be safe? Just clicking through to check it out could put your device in danger, make sure your antivirus and phone software is up to date so that you don't fall victim to any kind of malware that could be lying in wait.

Watch out for Scam emails

With many people looking to shop for bargains across the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend scammers may also be using this period as an opportunity to send out fake email offers amongst the numerous ones from genuine companies. Take some extra time to check out emails and never click on links or open attachments. Not sure about it, just delete it.

How are you paying?

When buying online, make sure you use a secure form of payment. Credit cards, debit card and secure payment sites like PayPal give you extra protection from fraud than other methods of payment. Credit card is probably the most secure option in terms of shopper rights as you can dispute charges made if your item never arrives or dispute any suspicious charges generally Never pay for items by directly transferring money into an account unless it is someone you know and trust, as this offers very little protection.

Out and about?

Avoid purchasing on public wi-fi Public wi-fi can now be found in many locations and provides a convenient way to search online without using any of your data allowance. But connecting to that network means any personal data you send could be intercepted if the wi-fi connection is compromised. If you're planning to buy something when away from home stay safe and use your data instead.

When do you need it by?

This is a very busy time of year for many online businesses. Make sure you check the delivery date for your order. If it's just an estimated date it could change, and you could end up waiting till after Christmas for your delivery.

What if there is a problem?

If you need to return anything, proof of purchase is very important. Keep all emails and receipts, electronic or otherwise. Also when you receive items you have ordered online check them before wrapping them. This way you'll avoid disappointment on Christmas Day and can sort problems quickly with the supplier.

Need more advice following an online purchase? Contact Norfolk Trading Standards via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC - 20 November 2022

We are again receiving reports about telephone cold calls claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Recent reports have included an automated recorded message calls which state they are from 'HMRC' and that 'a case for unpaid tax has been raised against you' and that 'you must press 1 to speak to a supervisor or a warrant for your immediate arrest will be issued'.

Often these calls come from a range of different 'spoofed' numbers and previously residents have reporting receiving a number of calls in quick succession.

These calls are not genuine and do not come from HMRC. If you receive this or a call making similar claims or threats do not interact with the call in any way and hang up immediately.

You can find more information about bogus contacts and phishing emails claiming to be from HMRC on the GOV.UK website. You can also report suspicious HMRC phone calls received via this GOV.UK online form or by emailing phishing@hmrc.gov.uk where possible including:

  • Your phone number
  • The callers phone number
  • The date and time of the call
  • A brief description of the call content

If you think you might have responded to a scam cold call and provided your bank account details, contact your bank immediately.

You can also report suspected scam telephone calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from bank 'fraud teams' - 17 November 2023

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone calls which claim to be from bank 'fraud teams' making claims of 'unauthorised transactions', 'attempted withdrawals' or applications for financial products, like personal loans, on your account.

In a recent report the cold caller was using a spoofed number on the call, so it appeared that the call came from a genuine contact number for the residents' bank.

We always advise people to be very wary of claims made during telephone cold calls. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

We also advise that:

  • Your bank will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another 'safe' account
  • They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN

If you are concerned about the security of a bank account contact your bank directly using the Customer Service number printed on the card, on a recent statement or via information available on their genuine website or app. Never use details provided in a cold call.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on 0808 223 1133.

Remember these steps if you are approached:

  • Stop - take a moment to think before parting with your money or information
  • Challenge - Could it be fake? It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • Protect - Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it

Cold Calling Alert - Flyers offering 'Landscaping and garden maintenance' work - 16 November 2023

We are again warning residents to be on their guard after receiving further reports of flyers being hand delivered offering 'Landscaping and Garden Maintenance' work, this time in the Sprowston area.

The flyers claim to offer a range of services and gives contact numbers but no further details about the business.

When looking to have work done on or around your property we advise you:

  • to only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself
  • to get a written quotation from the company before going ahead

Anyone concerned about possible doorstep cold caller activity in Norfolk can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website

Scam Alert - Text messages about your accounts or payments - 14 November 2023

We frequently receive reports about text messages claiming to be from various companies and organisations stating there are issues with accounts or payments.

These messages are spammed out randomly to huge numbers of mobile numbers hoping to trick people into clicking on a link, which will take them to bogus versions of the organisation's genuine website, or calling the number given, which will connect them to a fake call centre. This contact will then be used as an attempt to gather personal, login and financial details.

The messages will often claim that accounts have been frozen, that money is about to leave the account, that payments can't be made or that there is unusual or fraudulent activity with the aim of panicking the recipient into reacting.

If you receive messages like these our advice is:

  • Do not click on any links or open attachments
  • Do not reply to the message
  • Do not call any numbers given in these messages

You can report suspicious or spam text messages to your network operator by forwarding the message to 7726. You may get an automated response thanking you for the report and giving you further instructions if needed. You will not be charged for sending texts to 7726.

If you are concerned about the security of an account contact the service provider directly using the Customer Service number printed on the card, on a recent statement or via information available on their genuine website or app. never use details provided in a text message.

If you think you might have responded to a text message scam and provided your bank account details, contact your bank immediately.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller claiming issues with properties' roof - 13 November 2023

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs.

This follows an incident where a male cold called at a property in the Hellesdon area telling the resident that they 'could see the chimney needed repairing' going on to claim that it was 'unsafe and could fall down'.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is 'just passing' or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • Only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself
  • Obtain a written quotation from the company before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the No cold calling scheme or to apply visit  www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Scam Alert - Computer 'Fault' Scams - 10 November 2023

We are again warnings about 'computer fault' scam telephone cold calls after further recent reports from Norfolk residents.

These callers claim to work for well-known computer software, telecoms or broadband suppliers. The caller advises that there is a problem with the user's device or broadband equipment, often making claims about 'viruses', 'directory issues', 'criminals controlling your machine' & 'hackers accessing your router' and that they will be 'cutting off broadband access' or you will be 'unable to access the internet' if the recipient does not agree to immediate remedial work.

The caller will then then attempt to gain remote access to the computer or tablet. This could give them the opportunity to plant malicious software and apps on your device or access personal information held, including account log-in information and bank details, which can be used to commit fraud.

Victims can also end up being asked to pay for the 'fixes' the scammer has made to their device.

If these cold callers fail at the first contact they are known to try calling again repeatedly. Also where they have been successful in charging a fee the scammers have targeted people again telling them the 'problem' has returned.

We have been issuing warnings around 'computer fault' cold calls for several years but reports continue. Fortunately many reports we receive are from residents who are aware of the issue and have terminated the call without giving access to their computer or making payment.

Please continue to share with others the information that well known computer companies, telecoms or broadband providers never cold call offering to fix problems with devices or requesting personal or financial details.

If you are concerned about the security of your home computer or to fix problems or issues with it we would advise you to find a quality local business like a Norfolk Trusted Trader. View the Norfolk Trusted Trader website directory. 

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold callers regarding solar panels - 09 November 2023

We are again warning residents with solar panels on their property to be on their guard for telephone cold callers.

In a recent incident, a Norfolk resident received a call which claimed to be offering 'a free Government survey for solar panels'. The cold caller then attempted to make an appointment for a home visit.

Previously we have warned about telephone cold callers and the range of different claims regarding solar panel systems and checks that they can state are needed.

Our advice is always to be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never agree to services, to having work done or for someone to visit your home if approached in this manner.

We also advise that solar panel owners should always talk to their supplier before allowing any work or 'maintenance' to take place on their panels. Generally a solar panel system does not need servicing, but it may benefit from being cleaned if the panels are dirty.

Any work on the electrics of a solar panel system should only be carried out by a qualified electrician, suitably qualified electricians can be found on the Norfolk Trusted Trader website or via the Electrical Safety First Website.

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have agreed to a visit during a cold call contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Council Tax 'annual fee invoice' emails - 08 November 2023

We are warning residents to be aware of scam contacts claiming to be relating to Council Tax.

This follows information from our colleagues at South Norfolk & Broadland Council after they received reports from residents of emails claiming to be 'your annual fee invoice from Council Service' with a link to 'pay your fee by Direct Debit'.

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

If you need to confirm a contact about council tax is genuine, or you have any other council tax queries, contact your local council directly, their contact information is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you think you have received a scam contact you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.