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Business scam 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 – Email security – 5 September 2019

We are warning businesses in Norfolk about the continued risk of malicious emails.

The email pictured below was received by a Norfolk business, initially looking like a genuine enquiry for a quotation:

In fact, the email, which is very well presented, originated in Romania and the link goes to a malicious website which when opened will attempt to infiltrate and infect unprotected systems with a range of malicious software.

Businesses need to continue to ensure they have up to date antivirus software and have completed security updates to software and operating systems.

If you believe you have received a scam email you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Cold callers offering to repaint car park lines – 18 July 2019

Businesses need to watch out for cold callers in Norfolk offering to repaint car park lines.

The cold callers are claiming the ‘plasticised paint’ is ‘surplus’ from other jobs ‘nearby’ and can be offered at a discounted price as it ‘otherwise will only get recycled at the end of the day’.  The cold caller will then state a low price per unit of measurement.

If the work is agreed to following completion an invoice is then presented for a much higher figure as the unit of measurement changes although this cold caller will claim this was what was said initially.

Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property.  If you are looking to have this type of work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity in Norfolk can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Cold callers offering to lay tarmac – 4 July 2019

We are warning businesses to be on their guard after receiving reports of cold callers in the Dereham area offering to ‘lay tarmac’. The cold callers are claiming the tarmac is ‘surplus’ from another job ‘nearby’.

Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property.  If you are looking to have this type of work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity in Norfolk can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 03454 04 05 06

Scam Alert – Telephone cold callers claiming to be from ‘Norfolk Chambers of Commerce’ – 3 July 2019

We are warning businesses about telephone cold callers claiming to be from ‘Norfolk Chambers of Commerce’.

Norfolk Chambers of Commerce have received reports over the last few days from a small number of businesses who have reported nuisance marketing calls from someone claiming to be from ‘Norfolk Chambers of Commerce’.

The caller is claiming to sell advertising space or to be ‘updating contact details’.  The calls currently come from a withheld number and the caller has been abrupt and often ends the call if questioned about why they are calling.

Norfolk Chambers of Commerce have provided the following advice:

‘We would never make these types of calls to our members or businesses.  Calls from Norfolk Chambers of Commerce should always be from someone who you know and trust.

"If you are in doubt about a call claiming to be from Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, please end the call and contact us on 01603 625977 or email hello@norfolkchamber.co.uk"

Scam Alert – Facebook bogus ‘Blue Tick' notifications – 6 June 2019

Businesses in Norfolk with Facebook pages need to be aware of bogus ‘Blue Tick’ notifications.

The website Hoax-Slayer.net has issued a warning about bogus notifications claiming to be associated with Facebook’s ‘verified’ badges.

The message was displayed in the Page Roles section of the Page’s settings

These ‘partner requests’ are not from Facebook and has no connection with the Facebook verification process.

If the request is accepted it give the scammer complete control of your Facebook page, allowing them to potentially hi-jack the page, lock out other legitimate page admins and then use the page for their own ends.

Once locked out of a Facebook page it can be difficult to regain control of it.

Hoax Slayer also say that Verification Blue Tick” is just one of a number of names used by scammers in such hijack attempts.  The names typically include “verified”, “verification”, or other derivative words.  Some versions may claim to be associated with the grey verification badge used by small businesses.

If you receive one of these notifications, do not give the sender access to your page or profile.

Scam Alert – Attempts to divert payments to employees – 9 May 2019

We are warning businesses in Norfolk to be alert for attempts to divert payments to employees.

This follows reports of emails being received by company HR departments claiming to be from an employee, stating they need to update back account details that their wages are paid into.

We would remind all businesses, regardless of size, to ensure they have robust systems in place to deal with this type of request to ensure scammers are not sending fraudulent requests in an attempt to divert payments to accounts they control.

When dealing with these types of requests by email it should include a check being undertaken by a different route as it may highlight that scammers could have access to the employees’ email account.

If you become aware of any attempts at this type of scam it can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold callers offering advertising including ‘online listings’ – 24 April 2019

We are warning businesses about telephone cold callers claiming to be offering advertising including ‘online listings’.

This approach is a typical scam targeted at businesses and often, following the call, a demand for payment for the proposed advertising will arrive even if no agreement has been made during the call.

We would remind all businesses to ensure that all employees dealing with telephone contacts are aware of this type of cold calling scam.

If you or anyone within your business receives one of these calls, do not give or confirm any information about your business. Hang up and report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Sales of generators, chainsaws and pressure washers from vans – 9 April 2019

We have received reports of generators, chainsaws and pressure washers being sold from vans from several locations including Diss, Costessey, Swaffham and around Fakenham.  Reports have included cold calls at domestic properties and people being approached in the street, in car parks of retail stores and drive through restaurants.

Never purchase items if approached in this manner.  There is a high possibility that the items being sold are low quality counterfeits, which could be unsafe to use, or are stolen.

It is possible these sellers could move on to other parts of Norfolk.

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – Invoice scams and mandate fraud – 28 March 2019

Businesses in Norfolk need to be aware of the threat that invoice scams and mandate fraud pose.

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:

  • Ensure all staff, not just finance teams, know about invoice scams and mandate fraud
  • 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.
  • Always review invoices to check for inconsistencies/errors, such as a misspelt company name
  • Where possible establish at least two specific points of contact with suppliers so that all invoice changes can be confirmed with both contacts
  • Contact suppliers for payment of larger invoices in advance of making payment to ensure that payment is made to the correct bank account
  • Consider what information is publicly available about your business and whether it needs to be public
  • Never leave invoices unattended in the office or on a desk
  • Ensure your computer systems are secure and that antivirus software is up to date.

Report invoice scams and mandate fraud attempts to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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