Business alerts

You can report scams through our partners the Citizens Advice helpline using their online report form or by calling 03454 04 05 06.  You can also report scams to Action Fraud, the UK national fraud office, using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Scam Alert – Business ‘database’ update requests – 31 August 2017

Trading Standards are warning businesses in Norfolk about unsolicited communications requesting that they ‘check their database entry’.

This follows a report from a Diss based organisation who received the fax pictured below requesting that they ‘check the data, sign and fax it back’.

 

This is a common scam approach towards businesses and other organisations attempting to fool them into completing and returning the form.  Following this an invoice is then sent ‘requiring’ payment for the ‘service’. In this example the form states a payment of €73 per month for two years is required.

Previous examples of this scam have been sent by letter, email and fax.

To protect your business or organisation from these unsolicited approaches Trading Standards advises:

  • Make all staff who deal with incoming communications aware of this type of scam approach
  • Never respond to any such communication
  • Any unsolicited contact followed by a request for an advance payment/fee is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you
    Do not pay
  • Never disclose your bank details

If you have responded to one of these approaches and are receiving requests for payments you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by using their online reporting tool.

Scam Alert – Invoice and mandate fraud – 10 August 2017

Trading Standards are warning businesses in Norfolk to be aware of invoice scams and mandate fraud after a Norfolk business spoke to the EDP about a £16,000 loss they suffered following an invoice scam.  A full report can be read on the EDP website.

Fake invoice scams typically work by fraudsters pretending to be a supplier and contacting the business to say that the account details that an invoice needs to be paid to have changed.  Innocently, an employee amends the account details only for the organisation to later find out that they have been sending money to a fraudster rather than a genuine supplier.  The more detail a fraudster has about an organisation, the easier it is to pose as a supplier and make the scam convincing.

Although the scam could work on businesses of any size, smaller businesses are most at risk and may find it harder to recover from losing large amounts of money.

Mandate fraud is when fraudsters tries to get a business to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to, for example a subscription or membership organisation or a supplier to your business.

Action Fraud offer the following advice for businesses to protect themselves from these types of fraud:

  1. Ensure all staff, not just finance teams, know about invoice scams and mandate fraud
  2. Never respond to the contact details provided by someone requesting changes to financial details. Instead, use established email and telephone contacts to check that any request has come from the genuine supplier or organisation
  3. Always review invoices to check for inconsistencies/errors, such as a misspelt company name
  4. Where possible establish at least two specific points of contact with suppliers so that all invoice changes can be confirmed with both contacts
  5. Contact suppliers for payment of larger invoices in advance of making payment to ensure that payment is made to the correct bank account
  6. Consider what information is publicly available about your business and whether it needs to be public
  7. Never leave invoices unattended in the office or on a desk
  8. Ensure your computer systems are secure and that antivirus software is up to date

Any attempts at invoice scams or mandate fraud can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Information Alert – General data protection regulation changes in 2018 – 15 June 2017

Data protection rules are changing.  All businesses and organisations need to prepare for the biggest change to data protection in a generation.  For more information visit the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to from DHL – 6 April 2017

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are warning businesses about emails circulating claiming to be from DHL.

The email claims to be a notification that ‘Your delivery is today’ and contains links to ‘check your shipment’ and ‘track your shipment’.

The email is not from DHL and is a phishing email attempting to gather information which can then be used for further spam and scam emails.

If you receive this email delete it without clicking on any links.