Toggle mobile menu visibility

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.

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from HMRC - 18 July 2024

We are again reminding residents to continue to be alert for emails claiming to be from HMRC.

This follows reports of emails circulating titled 'Notification Regarding Your Tax Rebate' which claim you are due a tax refund immediately and contains a link to 'Finalize Your Refund'.

These emails are not genuine. HMRC state they will never send notifications of a tax rebate or refund by email.

HMRC advise that anyone receiving this, or a similar email should not engage with it but report it by forwarding the email 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 emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Emails claiming 'Suspicious Virus Detected' - 17 July 2024

We are warning residents about a number of scam emails circulating claiming that a 'Suspicious Virus Detected' on your device. It goes on to state that 'it may soon corrupt your sim card, data, photos and contacts if no action is taken'. The emails are often branded with names like Google or Apple.

Anyone following the link will be taken to a phishing website which will attempt to gather personal and financial information.

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 - Scam Callers claiming to be Police Officers - 17 July 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Constabulary for residents to be aware of telephone scammers pretending to be police officers after recent reports from residents in the Watton, Great Ellingham, Attleborough and Necton areas.

During the call, the cold call claims there are issues with their bank accounts and that the resident needs to transfer funds to a 'safe account' to prevent further loss. Sadly in one case a victim lost £8,000.

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

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.
  • 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 signs.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties' roof - 15 July 2024

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

This follows an incident in the Caister-on-sea area where a male cold called at a property claiming that he could see 'slipped tiles'.
The male was seen to return to a sign written white VW Transporter van which was carrying a number of ladders on its roof.

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 Trading Standards Approved 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 - Rogue buyers on Facebook Marketplace - 11 July 2024

Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to buy and sell goods and services, however, unfortunately the platform is also seen as a hunting ground for scammers. Scammers are there selling non-existent, fake and dangerous goods, but there are also there to try and prey on those selling products.

If you are selling on Facebook Marketplace, look out for these red flags:

  • Refusing to meet up in person
  • Moving conversations outside of Facebook Messenger
  • Asking for items to be shipped before payment is received
  • Buyers providing a prepaid shipping label
  • Buyers overpaying then asking for a refund of the difference
  • Messages claiming you need to pay a fee to 'upgrade your account'
  • No profile picture
  • Requests for your phone number or other personal information

Payment scammers pose as buyers who ask to purchase an item and claim to have sent a payment. They may send a counterfeit cheque, use a fraudulent payment method, or claim to have overpaid and request a refund for the excess amount.

Payment scammers might also exploit sellers by using payment methods that can be easily cancelled after an item has been posted or delivered.

Even in person the scammer will try to exploit a payment via a banking app buy showing the transaction on their own mobile device. Always wait for the payment to have cleared before allowing the buyer to leave with the item.

Here's a quick summary of ways to stay safe when selling on Facebook Marketplace:

  • Deal with local buyers whenever possible
  • Avoid sharing personal information unless absolutely necessary
  • Use secure payment methods like PayPal or cash-on-delivery
  • Check comments under listings for warnings from other users
  • Report suspicious buyers to Facebook

Information Alert - Home Repairs or Improvements? Make sure you #CHECK - 11 July 2024

If you looking to have work done on or around your property our advice is always to only use reputable traders you have chosen yourself.

This follows recent incidents reported to us where Norfolk residents have placed adverts for home improvement or repair work on online sites that share these details allowing traders to respond. Unfortunately, in these cases, residents have ended up being pressured into having more work done than was needed, handing over money for work that has not been completed or work which has been done to a poor standard.

When planning work remember to think #CHECK when choosing a tradesman or business for the job:

  • Compare - Speak with multiple tradespeople to compare. Get at least three quotes. Check with friends and family for recommendations or find a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Norfolk Trusted Trader is the only trader scheme from Norfolk County Council with members who have been Trading Standards Approved, helping you to choose with confidence and supporting local businesses 
  • History - Ask for the traders' references, recommendations and reviews and make sure you check them out
  • Establish the details - What work will be carried out? When will it start? Who will be doing the work? How much will it cost? Remember that a quote is more binding than an estimate
  • Contract - Ensure everything is recorded and ask for a contract for the work
  • Keep all the paperwork - This may be needed should anything go wrong

Scam Alert - Employment scams - 9 July 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 7726. More information on this free service and how to forward messages from iPhone and Android handsets can be found 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

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 8 July 2024

We are continuing to warn residents about telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller stated that they 'needed to arrange a visit' to 'check insulation which had previously been installed'. Having agreed to the visit a male arrived at the resident's property and after being given access to the loft space he made a number of claims about the insulation 'being incorrectly installed' and that it 'was causing damp'. The cold caller then quoted '£6,500' to remove the insulation. Fortunately, the resident declined the work and reported the incident to us.

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

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls asking about shopping habits - 8 July 2024

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls which attempt to engage with the recipient about where they shop.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the cold caller asked about where the resident shopped. The caller then asked about a specific supermarket and if the resident used a card to pay before claiming that they could offer 'cash prizes to elderly shoppers'. The cold caller then attempted to get the resident to reveal their card details to 'claim their prize'.

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

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 - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from 'Amazon' - 4 July 2024

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

This follows a report from a resident who received an automated cold calling stating that '£1,000 has been charged to your Amazon account' and giving the instruction to 'press 1 to speak to the Amazon fraud team'

Previously, where residents have interacted with calls received, 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 - Telephone cold calls offering 'pendant alarms' - 2 July 2024

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls which claim to be offering 'pendant alarms'.

This follows an incident where a resident initially received an automated telephone cold call stating they were offering pendant alarms to 'older people'. After the resident hung up on this call they later received a further call from a male who claimed he 'needed to take payment to set up the pendant alarm system' and attempting to get the call recipient to reveal further personal information.

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

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

News Alert - Reminder to bird keepers about new registration requirements - 1 July 2024

We are reminding all bird keepers with flocks of less than 50 that they are encouraged to register their birds ahead of the legal deadline on 1 October 2024.

These new measures are designed to better protect the poultry sector from future avian influenza outbreaks and require all bird keepers, regardless of the size of their flock to register their birds. Previously only keepers of 50 or more birds were required to register.

By registering their birds, keepers will ensure they receive important updates relevant to them, such as on any local avian disease outbreaks and information on biosecurity rules to help protect their flocks.

This will help to manage potential disease outbreaks, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, and limit any spread. The information on the register will also be used to identify all bird keepers in disease control zones, allowing for more effective surveillance, so that zones can be lifted at the earliest possible opportunity and trade can resume more quickly following an outbreak of avian disease in Great Britain.

Registration can be completed on the GOV.UK website.

In Scotland, keepers should register from 1 September 2024 when there will be a new Scottish Kept Bird Register in place.

The new rules cover owners of backyard flocks, birds of prey and pigeon fanciers, but do not affect caged pet birds (excluding any poultry species) kept entirely inside a domestic dwelling, such as a parrot, canary or budgie, which never leaves the property other than to visit a vet or another short-term period.

Keepers will also be legally required to update their information on an annual basis.

Further information on the registration of birds can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering driveway work - 1 July 2024

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

This follows reports of three males 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

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Check out our Trading Standards Approved members on our online directory and read genuine feedback from their customers.

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls claiming to be 'bank security' - 28 June 2024

We are warning residents about telephone calls which claim to be from 'bank security'.

In a recent call reported to us the automated call stated, 'this is bank security', the call then said that 'three payments have been authorised on your bank account'. The message then offers a number of press button options to authorise the payments or to speak to a member of staff.

The wording of the call is designed to panic the call recipient into interacting with the message, if they do it is likely they will be connected to a call handler who will then attempt to gather personal and financial information which could in turn be used to commit further fraud on or with the account.

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.

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 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Text messages claiming to be from Three - 27 June 2024

We are warning residents who are Three customers to be alert for scam text messages that are circulating.

The messages claim that you have 'Three points' that will expire in '3 working days'. The message then provides a link to 'redeem the points for available rewards in time'.

These messages are not from Three and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal, account and financial details. This warning follows similar text circulating within the last month which made the same claims for Vodafone customers.

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 suspicious text messages received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold callers claiming to be a 'Local Health Worker' - 27 June 2024

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls during which the caller claims to be a 'medical practitioner working in your area' or a 'local health worker'.

The cold caller states that the call recipient is entitled to a free medical alert device due to being 'over 70 or having health issues'. They then attempted to gather personal and financial information to 'register the device'.

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

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

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering driveway work - 27 June 2024

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

This follows reports of males 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
  • neveragreeing 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 Trading Standards Approved Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'Halifax' - 26 June 2024

We are warning residents about scam emails circulating claiming to be from 'Halifax' stating they have 'attempted to contact you recently but could not get through'. The email then states 'Action Needed:' to 'verify and update your contact information' via an 'Update Now' button.

information' via an 'Update Now' button.

These emails are not from Halifax and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal, account 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

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering gardening work - 21 June 2024

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

This follows reports in the Costessey area of cold callers visiting properties offering a range of services.

We also believe these cold callers could be delivering leaflets to properties offering a wide range of services and giving contact numbers but no further details about the business.

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.
When looking to have work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

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 Trading Standards Approved members on our online directory and read genuine feedback from their customers

Scam Alert - Fake Websites claiming to sell tickets for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics - 21 June 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud to be aware for fake websites claiming to sell tickets to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. These fake websites are designed to steal your money and personal information.

Action Fraud advice to protect yourself online and only purchase tickets from the official Paris 2024 ticketing website as this is the only authorised source for purchasing tickets.

You can find out more about stay safe from ticket fraud on the Action Fraud website

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties' roof - 18 June 2024

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

This follows an incident in the Norwich area where a male cold called at a property claiming that they could see issues with the residents' roof and chimneys.
While this was taking place a second male accessed the residents' roof and began to work on the properties guttering and downpipes. The two males were seen to be using a white Ford Transit van.

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 Trading Standards Approved 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

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering Insulation - 17 June 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Hopton area offering 'home insulation'.

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

  • never allowing a cold caller access to your property or gardens
  • neveragreeing 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 Trading Standards Approved Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Scam Alert - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from banks - 17 June 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 recorded message cold call claiming that 'suspicious activity' was taking place in their account. The resident noted that on their caller ID it appeared to have come from a 'local' number to them.

In this case the criminals making the cold calls have 'spoofed' the number to make it appear more relevant to the call recipient.

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. Neveruse 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 - Telephone cold callers regarding solar panels - 14 June 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

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'ASDA' - 14 June 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud after they received almost 1,800 reports in two weeks of emails claiming to be from ASDA stating that 'you have been chosen' for a free prize. The email contains a link to 'take the survey' to claim the item.

Anyone following the link will be taken to a phishing website which will attempt to gather personal and financial information to claim the fictional offer.

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 - Fake parcel delivery text messages - 13 June 2024 

We are again 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 'arrived at the warehouse' but it 'cannot be delivered' due to 'an incomplete address'. The message goes on to say that the recipient needs to update address information via a link in the message. 

These messages are sent by criminals who have created fake websites 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 the, free, scam texts and mobile calls 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

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 13 June 2024

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

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller stated that they 'needed to arrange a visit' to 'check insulation which had previously been installed'. The cold caller then made a number of claims about the insulation 'being incorrectly installed' and that they 'just wanted to check it was all ok'.

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 in the Caister-on-Sea area - 12 June 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Caister-on-Sea area offering 'home improvements' 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.

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.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller offering to clean gutters - 7 June 2024

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

This follows reports of a male cold calling at properties in the Stalham area offering to clean and clear gutters.

The male was seen to be using a blue Mitsubishi Shogun.

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 of Trading Standards Approved members 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

Cold Calling Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers in the Eaton area of Norwich - 6 June 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Eaton area of Norwich offering 'home improvements' work. The cold caller was claiming that they could offer 'green allowances' for any 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.

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.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls offering 'SOS Alarms' - 6 June 2024

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls which claim to be offering 'SOS Alarms'.

This follows an incident where a resident received a cold call during which the caller stated they could offer alarms to 'those over 70 or with health issues'. The cold caller then attempted to get the call recipient to reveal personal and financial information.

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

You can report suspicious telephone cold 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 banks - 5 June 2024

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone calls which claim to be from banks making claims of 'compromised debit cards', '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 'Barclays', the cold caller then attempted to gather personal and account information before stating that the resident needed to post their card to 'their office' in London.

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.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering to lay gravel - 5 June 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after received reports of cold callers offering to lay gravel in the Hethersett area.

In the incident a resident was approached by two men who offered to lay gravel they claimed was 'left over' from 'a job nearby'.

Often, when this approach is used, the cold caller will quote an initial price for the work, but once work has commenced the price will increase dramatically

The two men were seen to be using a white Ford Transit tipper.

We always advise:

  • 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 property, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for free or a small fee
  • 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.

It is possible these doorstep cold callers could move on to other areas around Norfolk and could approach businesses as well as residential properties especially in rural areas.

Anyone sighting these cold callers in Norfolk or concerned about Rogue Trader activity in your community 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? We know just the people. Check out the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory to see our Trading Standards approved members and read feedback from their customers

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers selling household products - 4 June 2024

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

This follows reports of a number of young males cold calling in the North Wootton and South Wootton areas of King's Lynn.

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'. 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 - 'New Council Tax bill' emails - 4 June 2024

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 from 'BDC Council tax' stating that 'a new Council Tax bill has been issued' with a link to make a card payment. 

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. 

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.

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

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

Scam Alert - Investment Scams - 30 May 2024

We are reminding residents to continue to be alert for contacts offering investment opportunities.

Investment scams can often be difficult to spot as scammers will design them to look like genuine investments. Initial contacts will often be by email or telephone cold call and will claim to be from well-known financial organisations like high street or investments banks. Common investment scams include savings bonds, fake shares, cryptocurrencies, gemstones, and fine wines.

Scammers also frequently make posts or place paid for adverts often linking to fake news articles which claim that the celebrity or well-known 'media expert' 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.

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 emails, cold calls or online adverts from companies offering shares and other investments - especially if they're offering higher returns or are 'guaranteed' or 'risk-free'
  • Never be rushed into making a decision, if the contactor is trying to pressurize you end the conversation
  • 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 the firm is 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.

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

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'NatWest' - 30 May 2024

We are warning residents about a number of scam emails circulating claiming to be from 'NatWest' stating that 'your personal information needs to be updated'. It goes on to state that 'every customer needs to upgrade in order to safeguard their account'. The email then provides a 'continue' button to proceed.

These emails are not from NatWest and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal, account 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.

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.

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 - Solar panel scam emails - 29 May 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud about phishing emails relating to solar panels. This comes after they received almost 1,000 reports in the last two weeks.

The emails claim that recipients can check their eligibility for funding to cover upfront costs of installing solar panels. In reality, the link provided in the emails either lead to websites that look to gather personal and financial information or that will attempt to download malware.

Examples shared by Action Fraud include examples targeting both consumers and businesses.

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

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

Scam Alert - Text messages claiming to be from Vodafone - 28 May 2024

We are warning residents who are Vodafone customers to be alert for scam text messages that are circulating.

The messages claim that you have 'Vodafone points' that will expire in '3 working days'. The message then provides a link to 'redeem the points for available rewards'.

These messages are not from Vodafone and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal, account and financial details.

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 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 garden work - 24 May 2024

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

This follows a recent incident in the Great Yarmouth area where three males cold called at a property offering to undertake gardening work for a small fee.

Having commenced work the males then demanded payment of over £3,000. The males were seen to be using a white Renault panel 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? We know just the people. Check out the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory to see our Trading Standards approved members and read feedback from their customers

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from PayPal - 23 May 2024

We are warning residents about fake PayPal emails circulating which claim payment for a high value item has been made on your account.

The email then offers a contact number to 'call us immediately' to block this transaction if it 'was not you'.

This email is not genuine and is designed to panic the recipient into contacting the number provided on which attempts will be made by scammers to gather personal, financial and account details.

PayPal provide useful information on common email scams and advice on how to avoid them on PayPal's common scams page.

If you have received a suspicious email which could be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Asda '£250 gift voucher' Facebook posts - 22 May 2024

We are warning residents about scam posts in Facebook groups which claim to offer '£250 Asda vouchers'

Anyone who clicks on the link will be taken to a website which requires you to complete a 'survey' as part of your claim. Often these surveys are used to gather personal and financial information and will require you to complete further activities to advance your claim with very little chance of every receiving the item originally offered.

Our recommendation is to never interact with these types of Facebook posts.

If you come across a fake posting on Facebook, report it by selecting the three dots next to the post and pressing '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.

Rogue Trader Alert - Further reports of Doorstep Cold Callers offering to clean gutters - 22 May 2024

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

This follows an incident where a male cold called at a property in the Downham Market area offering to clean and clear gutters quoting a low price to undertake the work.

After access was given to the roof the cold caller then told the resident that there was damage to the roof that needed 'immediate repair' quoting a price of £500 and saying he could start the repairs straight away.

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 of Trading Standards Approved members 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 our No Cold Calling Zones page.

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

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

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller stated that they 'needed to arrange a visit' to 'check insulation which had previously been installed'. The cold caller then made a number of claims about the insulation 'causing damp' and being a 'risk to health'.

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 in the Beeston Regis area - 21 May 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Beeston Regis area offering 'home improvements' 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.

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 - Fake parcel delivery messages - 16 May 2024

We are continuing to warn residents about messages claiming to be from parcel delivery companies stating they are unable to deliver an item or that you have missed a delivery.

This follows a warning from the delivery company Evri who have reported a 174% increase in scams reported to them from April 2023 to April 2024. Evri are also warning customers to be aware of scam messages being sent via iMessage, Apple's encrypted messaging service, and Rich Communication Services (RCS), which is used on Google Android devices.

Fake parcel delivery 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 a suspicious parcel delivery message 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.

News Alert - Food Alert for products manufactured and supplied by Bread Spread Ltd - 16 May 2024

We are highlighting a 'For Action' food alert from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for consumers and businesses.

Products manufactured and supplied by Bread Spread should be removed from sale and not consumed because of serious food safety risks.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards Services have been alerted to remove chilled and ready-to-eat products that include baguettes, french sticks, sandwiches, rolls, wraps and pasta salads manufactured and supplied by Bread Spread Ltd, 22 Balfour Business Centre, Balfour Road, Southall, England, UB2 5BD, under the brand name, Bread Spread, Orbital Foods and Perfect Bite because they have not been manufactured in accordance with food law requirements.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards Services have been alerted to remove chilled and ready-to-eat products that include baguettes, french sticks, sandwiches, rolls, wraps and pasta salads manufactured and supplied by Bread Spread Ltd, 22 Balfour Business Centre, Balfour Road, Southall, England, UB2 5BD, under the brand name, Bread Spread, Orbital Foods and Perfect Bite because they have not been manufactured in accordance with food law requirements.

Listeria monocytogenes has been found in some of the products. These products are also subject to a number of hygiene and traceability contraventions which makes them unsafe to eat.

All food businesses such as catering establishments and corner shops, across the UK supplied by Bread Spread Ltd should withdraw from sale any chilled and ready-to-eat foods and recall from consumers any of these products sold at retail because they are unsafe to eat. Products should be disposed of safely.

All chilled and ready-to eat foods with a use-by date up to and including 20 May 2024 manufactured or supplied by Bread Spead Ltd are affected.

The FSA have the current list of affected products available on their website.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Caller offering to clean gutters - 15 May 2024

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

This follows an incident today where two males cold called at a property in the Great Yarmouth area offering to clean and clear gutters quoting a low price to undertake the work.

After the males had been given access to the roof they returned to the resident claiming they had found 'damage on the roof'. The cold callers then quoted a price of £1,200 saying they could start the repairs straight away.

Fortunately the resident declined this offer, and the cold callers left the property leaving in a plain white van.

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 of Trading Standards Approved members 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 - Home Repairs or Improvements? Make sure you #CHECK - 14 May 2024 

If you looking to have work done on or around your property our advice is always to only use reputable traders you have chosen yourself.

In a recent incident a Norfolk resident placed an advert for some landscaping work on an online site that shares these details allowing traders to respond. The resident received a response from a trader who offered to attend. Once at the property the trader then used several 'pressure selling' style techniques to attempt to persuade the resident into having much more work undertaken than they wanted to, with the trader pushing to start work straight away. 

When planning work remember to think #CHECK when choosing a tradesman or business for the job: 

  • Compare - Speak with multiple tradespeople to compare.Get at least three quotes. Check with friends and family for recommendations or find a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Norfolk Trusted Trader is the only trader scheme from Norfolk County Council with members who have been Trading Standards Approved, helping you to choose with confidence and supporting quality local businesses.Take your time, legitimate traders will not rush you to make a decision.
  • History - Ask for the traders' references, recommendations and reviews and make sure you check them out
  • Establish the details - What work will be carried out? When will it start? Who will be doing the work? How much will it cost? Remember that a quote is more binding than an estimate 
  • Contract - Ensure everything is recorded and ask for a contract for the work
  • Keep all the paperwork - This may be needed should anything go wrong 

Scam Alert - WhatsApp group chat scams - 13 May 2024

We are highlighting a warning from Action Fraud about fraudsters targeting WhatsApp group chats after they received over 630 reports from victims so far this year.

The fraud often begins when a member of the group receives a WhatsApp audio call from the fraudster, pretending or claiming to be another member of the group. This is done to gain the individual's trust, and often the scammer will use a false profile picture and/or display name, so at first glance it would appear to be a genuine member of the group.

The fraudster will tell the victim they are sending them a one-time passcode which will allow them to join an upcoming video call for group members. The criminal then asks the victim to share this passcode with them so they can be "registered" for the video call.

In reality, the criminal is asking for a registration code to register the victim's WhatsApp account to a new device so they can take over their account.

Once the fraudster has access to the victim's WhatsApp account, they will enable two-step verification which makes it impossible for the victim to regain access their account. Other members of the group, or friends and family in the victim's contacts, will then be messaged asking them to transfer money urgently as they are in desperate need of help.

Action Fraud offer the following advice on how to secure your WhatsApp account:

  • Set up two-step verification (2SV) to give an extra layer of protection to your account. Tap 'Settings', select 'Account', then 'Two-step verification' and 'Enable'.
  • CALL if a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person outside of WhatsApp to confirm their identity
  • Report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp press and hold on the message bubble, select 'Report' and then follow the instructions

If you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it via the Action Fraud website or by calling 0300 123 2040

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

News Alert - No blame, no shame - Stop Loan Sharks - 13 May 2024

We are happy to support Stop Loan Sharks England in raising awareness about illegal lending in England.

No blame, no shame - your lender is in the wrong, not you.

Loan sharks are expert manipulators, it is often how they persuade people to borrow from them in the first place, and later it's how they keep people trapped in a cycle of debt.

They will pretend to be a borrower's friend, and appear to be offering a favour, turning up with a promise of cash just at the point when they need it most.

But instead of finding the expected relief from their financial struggles, borrowers find themselves plunged further and further into debt, and feel trapped with no way out.

In 2023, Stop Loan Sharks supported almost 800 people who had borrowed from loan sharks, helping them escape the clutches of their lender. Of those, 17 per cent had borrowed more than 10 times and 14 per cent did not remember exactly how many times they'd borrowed. This shows how people can end up in a cycle of borrowing again and again to repay what they owe. The amount they owe keeps rising and they never manage to repay the total.

Stop Loan Sharks statistics also show that it can sometimes take borrowers more than two years to finally report a loan shark.

So why does it take so long for people to seek help?

The loan shark's manipulative tactics don't end when someone takes a loan. In order to maintain control of the borrower, the lender can use a variety of tactics - sometimes it is violence, or threats of violence, but often it is intimidation and the fear that the borrower will be exposed and shamed. Borrowers are made to feel as though they have done something wrong and become fearful of their family or friends finding out. But they should feel no blame or shame as they have done nothing wrong. They have been targeted and exploited by a criminal - the loan shark - and it is them who should carry all the blame and shame, not the borrower.

Of the victims support by Stop Loan Sharks last year 81 per cent were in a state of extreme stress, worry or depression because of their involvement with the loan shark. Stop Loan Sharks has a team of specialist officers who recognise this and have the tools and experience to help people in this position escape the clutches of the illegal lender and start the journey back to financial safety. They are there to help and will not judge. This year is the 20th anniversary of Stop Loan Sharks. Over the past two decades, it has supported over 31,500 people, written off over £91.2 million worth of illegal debt and secured over 416 prosecutions for illegal money lending, leading to 598 years in jail.

A loan shark, or illegal money lender, is someone who lends money without authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. They are not bound by rules that exist to protect borrowers.

The signs of an illegal lender include:

  • Being given no paperwork or details about the loan
  • Being told to make repayments that add up to much more than you initially borrowed
  • Being intimidated or threatened you if you struggle to pay
  • Being told to hand over items like bank cards or a passport until you can pay

If someone does need to borrow, there are options available, Credit unions, for example, offer a safe alternative to the mainstream banks and lenders. Visit www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk to find one nearest to you.

If you think you have been targeted by a loan shark, you can contact Stop Loan Sharks by calling the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 or joining the live chat which is available on the Stop Loan Sharks website from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties' roof - 10 May 2024

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

This follows an incident in the Dereham area where three males were cold calling at properties making claims about chimneys being in a 'dangerous condition' and moss build up on roofs. The males were seen to be using a white Peugeot Partner 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 no matter what they claim. When looking to have work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

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

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

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. Check out our Trading Standards Approved members on our online directory and read genuine feedback from their customers.

Scam Alert - Exam scam warning for students - 9 May 2024

With exam season here we are highlighting a warning to students about exam scams.

Social media scammers are charging pupils hundreds of pounds for what they claim are leaked GCSE and A-level exam papers but are likely to be fakes or non-existent. The risks to students are high, with not only the loss of money but the possibility of downloading malicious malware, as well as the possibility of being disqualified.

Sir Ian Bauckham, chief regulator at Ofqual, stated: "Students should also be aware of the risks of exam papers on social media. Accounts claiming to sell this year's exam papers are almost always scams. Students should report these accounts to teachers. Students risk losing the qualification they've been studying for if they search for or communicate with social media accounts claiming to sell leaked exam papers. Sanctions can still apply even if the papers turn out to be fake. Buying papers is never worth the risk."

How to recognise and report emails, texts, websites, adverts or phone calls that you think are trying to scam you.

'Phishing' is when criminals use scam emails, text messages or phone calls to trick their victims. The aim is often to make you visit a website, which may download a virus onto your computer, or steal bank details or other personal information.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is a UK government organisation that has the power to investigate and take down scam email addresses and websites.

Reporting a scam is free and only takes a minute.

Report an email you think is a scam

If you have received an email which you're not quite sure about, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Report a text message you think is a scam

Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender if it's found to be malicious.

Report a website you think is a scam

Many scammers operate fake websites, which will download viruses to your computer, or are designed to steal passwords or other personal information. You can report a suspicious website link or URL on the NCSC website.

Report an advert you think is a scam

If you see a suspicious ad in a paid-for space, you can report it on the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This includes adverts on social media.

Scam Alert - Fake Craft Fair Adverts - 9 May 2024 

We are warning small businesses and crafters about fake Craft Fair adverts which are appearing on Facebook community groups. 

The posts advertise a fictional craft fayre, fair or similar event which claims to be held at a local hall. The organiser calls out for stall holders to sign up and pay a sum of money to them. In reality there is no event, and the fraudster is hoping people will send them a stall holders pitch fee. 

Our advice is to do your homework before booking into any events and make sure the person advertising such events is a genuine organiser. Call the venue first and double check the event before parting with any money. 

Other red flags to look out for are: 

  • The venue not tagged into posts 
  • Requests people to send a private message 
  • Requests a 'friends and family' payment via PayPal 
  • No event advertised on the venue's page 

If you spot an advert on social media and think it may be a scam, please report it to the admin of the page that you see them on so that they can be removed straight away 

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers offering gardening and tree work - 8 May 2024

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

This follows a number of reports in the Swaffham area of cold callers visiting properties offering a range of services.

In some cases where work was agreed to, once commenced the total cost for the work is increased with full payment insisted on often while the work is continuing.

We also believe these cold callers are delivering leaflets to properties offering a range of services and giving contact numbers but no further details about the business.

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. When looking to have work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

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 Trading Standards Approved members on our online directory and read genuine feedback from their customers

Scam Alert - Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC - 8 May 2024

We are warning residents to be alert for automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC.

This follows a report from a resident who received a call which stated 'HMRC have had a letter sent to you returned so legal action will now commence'. The call then states the recipient can 'Press 1 to speak to your case officer'.

These calls are not genuine and are designed to panic the call recipient into interacting with the call.

HMRC advise that anyone receiving this, or any similar call making claims about HMRC taking legal action against you to end the call immediately.

You can report calls received claiming to be from HMRC on their suspicious phone call reporting form. Report suspicious phone calls, emails or texts to HMRC on the GOV.UK website. 

The page also contains further information about phishing approaches and scams claiming to be from HMRC.

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

Scam Alert - Free giveaway scams - 7 May 2024

We are reminding residents to be very wary of social media posts claiming to be 'free giveaways' from well-known companies or products.

Scammers frequently post details of giveaways, often claiming to be linked to an event or anniversary for the business. Anyone clicking on the scam post will be taken to a website that will attempt to gather personal and financial information usually to cover a small amount for 'delivery charges'.

Instead this information is often then used to attempt further financial scam or to sign the account holder up to subscription services which then take repeated payments from the account.

While there are legitimate online giveaways on social media platforms, you should always be alert for those that ask for excessive personal information or banking details.

If you want to check if a giveaway is real, visit the website of the organisation that's supposedly doing it and see if they have information that can confirm the giveaway.

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

If you think you've fallen for a scam message and provided financial details, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card.

Scam Alert - Investment Scams - 2 May 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, and 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

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from 'Microsoft' - 1 May 2024

We are warning residents about a number of scam emails circulating claiming to be from 'Microsoft support' stating they have received '50 complaints about your email account'. It goes on to state that 'this is the final warning before your account is blocked'. The email then provides a link to 'go to support' to review account information and security settings.

These emails are not from Microsoft and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal, email account 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 - Computer 'Fault' Scams - 29 April 2024

We are again warnings about 'computer fault' scam telephone cold calls after 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 computer or tablet or to fix problems or issues with it we would advise you to find a quality local business like a Norfolk Trusted Trader, search the Norfolk Trusted Trader 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

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from HMRC - 26 April 2024

We are reminding residents to continue to be alert for emails claiming to be from HMRC.

This follows a warning issued by HMRC about phishing emails circulating making claims about VAT and inviting the recipient to scan a QR code embedded in the email.

HMRC have stated they will never ask you to submit personal information via a QR code.

HMRC advise that anyone receiving this, or a similar email should not engage with it but report it by forwarding the email 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 emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert - Bank refund letters - 26 April 2024

We are warning residents about letter purporting to be from banks claiming you are due a refund.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a letter which used the logo and followed the usual layout and style of letters from their bank. The letter stated that the recipient was due a refund and went on to provide a website address and access code to 'claim your refund'.

Having contacted their bank the letter was confirmed as fake. It is likely the website link provided would have led to a fake version of the bank website which would then attempt to gather personal and account details as part of the claim for the non-existent refund.

We always advise people to be very wary of claims made in unexpected communications and to be especially wary of claims made about financial accounts or products.

If you receive this or a similar letter report it to your bank directly using the Customer Service number printed on the card, on a recent statement, via information available on their genuine website or app or by visiting a branch. Never use details provided in the letter as they could also be fake.

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

Scam Alert - Travel insurance scam adverts on social media- 25 April 2024

We are warning residents about adverts and posts circulating on Instagram and Facebook claiming that 'the British Government will provide free travel insurance for seniors over the age of 55'.

These adverts and post are a scam and there is no such new Government initiative. Anyone following the link provided will e taken to a site designed to try and gather personal and financial information.

You can report scam adverts on social media by selecting the three-dot menu in the top right corner of the posting and pressing 'report'.

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

Rogue Trader Alert - Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties' roof - 23 April 2024

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

This follows an incident in the Diss area where two males cold called at a property claiming that they would be 'working next door' and 'wanted to apologise for any dust or noise'. They went on to claim that they could see damage on the residents' roof as well, stating this could have been caused by 'recent storms'. The resident declined the offer and after the cold callers left the resident checked with their neighbour who confirmed that they were not having any work done to their roof. The two males were seen to be using a white Ford Ranger pickup.

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 - 22 April 2024

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

Reports in the last week have been received from the Emneth and Hunstanton areas.

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'. 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.

Cold Calling Alert - Telephone cold calls regarding 'loft insulation' - 19 April 2024

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

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller claimed they 'needed to arrange a visit' to 'check insulation which had previously been installed'.

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 Caller offering to undertake work on roofs - 19 April 2024

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

This follows recent reports in the Cromer area of cold callers offering roof and guttering 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 stating 'this is notice of court action' - 18 April 2024

We are warning residents about automated telephone cold calls which make claims about court action due to non-payment of tax.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call which stated, 'This is a notice of court action due to non-payment of tax' and went on to claim that 'failure to acknowledge this urgent issue will lead to the suspension of your National Insurance number. The call then gave the option to 'press one to speak to our investigations department'.

If you receive one of these calls our advice is do not interact with the call, give, or confirm any personal information and hang up.

If genuine court action was taking place against you, you would be informed formally in writing and given sufficient notice for you to obtain advice before attending.

His Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service advise that they do not make unsolicited phone calls, demand money in advance to prevent a court hearing from taking place or seek payment through gift vouchers bought in local shops.

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 - 15 April 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.

In a recent report a Norfolk resident received a cold call during which the caller stated they would be visiting their property in '10 minutes' to 'check the solar panels and meter'. A short time later a male arrived at the property but when challenged by a member of the resident's family to show some identification or who he worked for the male left the property.

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 - Telephone cold calls claiming to be from banks - 12 April 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 that a payment of £1,100 was about to be taken from their account. The cold caller then made several attempts to get the call recipient to reveal personal and account information along with account balances.

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 attempting to sign consumers up to broadband contracts - 09 April 2024

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers attempting to sign consumers up to broadband contracts.

This follows a report from the NR2 area earlier this week. During the incident the resident reported that the cold caller claimed they were 'working on behalf of the local council'.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something or asking you to agree to a contract.

Anyone sighting 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 - Facebook Messenger messages stating you can 'claim grant money' - 08 April 2024

We are warning Facebook users to be aware of messages which appear to be from existing Facebook friends sent via the Messenger service which claims that they have recently been successful in claimed a grant from the 'International Money Fund' and encouraging you to do the same.

The message tells you to contact another person on Facebook to 'claim your grant' via a link in the text.

These messages are a scam and are a variation of an 'advance fee fraud'. Anyone contacting the person named will be asked to pay 'fees' or 'charges' to receive the grant that does not exist.

If you receive this or a similar message via Messenger our advice is do not interact with the message and contact the friend via another route, if you have one, and advise them their Facebook profile may have been compromised.

If you have received a 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

If you think you've fallen for a scam message and provided financial details, 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 suspicious messages and posts to Facebook via their Help Centre, you can find out more at www.facebook.com/help/reportlinks

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon Email icon

Print

Print icon