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 – Invoice scams and mandate fraud – 30 August 2018

We are warning businesses in Norfolk to continue to be aware 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.

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

To assist businesses NAFN (National Anti-fraud Network), Police Scotland and Action Fraud UK have created a Bank Mandate Fraud Guidance booklet.

Norfolk Day 2018 – Why be an ordinary trader? Celebrate with a 50% discount on becoming a Norfolk Trusted Trader – 20 July 2018

As part of Norfolk Day 2018 we are offering 50% off your first year's annual membership fee for all new applications, so you will pay just £97.50 plus VAT (£117).  Just type NorfolkDay2018 when asked for a promotional code on the application form.  Offer ends 10 August 2018.

For all applications £50 plus VAT of the fee shown is non-refundable to cover the costs of the administration and checks that we have to undertake.

Existing member renewal fees will vary depending on previous pricing models.

Norfolk Day 2018 – Special offer from Norfolk Calibration Service – 20 July 2018

On Norfolk Day 2018 we are offering a free health check on the following weights, weighing and measuring equipment:

  • Trade weights or M1 weights – maximum of six weights per business
  • Weighing machines – maximum of two per business or resident – these can be retail scales, person weighers (eg bathroom scales) etc
  • Tyre pressure gauges – maximum of two per business or resident
  • Length measures up to 1 metre in length – maximum of two per business

To take advantage of this offer you will need to:

  • Pre book your appointment before Friday 27 by telephone on 01953 859149 or emailing calibration@norfolk.gov.uk
  • Be able to bring the item(s) to our Calibration Laboratory at the Hethel Engineering Centre, Chapman Way, Hethel, Norwich, NR14 8FB and wait for us to calibrate your item(s)
  • Be the owner of the equipment submitted for testing

If you require any further information on this offer contact Norfolk Calibration Services on 01953 859149 or email calibration@norfolk.gov.uk

Scam Alert – Invoice fraud – 28 June 2018

We are warning businesses in Norfolk about the continued risk of invoice fraud.

Every year, small businesses in the UK lose £9bn because of invoice fraud.  The fraudsters use various tactics including:

  • Viruses embedded into email attachments
  • Unknown invoices sent via post or email
  • Modified bank details
  • Duplicate invoices

They often use information available online to make their invoices look identical to that of a legitimate supplier or company with which you do business.

Businesses need to warn employees to look out for fraudulent invoices to prevent the chance of losing money.

Always check invoices for details such as spelling errors, incorrect logos or unusual bank details.  If you, or an employee is ever in doubt contact the sender to verify it legitimacy.

If you believe you have received a fraudulent invoice you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by using their online reporting tool

Information Alert – Keeping adults safe from abuse and neglect survey – 25 June 2018

Norfolk Adult Safeguarding Board (NSAB) is running a survey to understand safeguarding concerns in Norfolk.

The survey is open until 5pm on Monday 9 July.

NSAB wants to understand how you think we can best protect vulnerable people, and how we can improve safeguarding services in Norfolk.

Joan Maughan, independent chair of the Safeguarding Adults Board, said:  "This is a great opportunity to really find out how people and organisations recognise all the different types of abuse and neglect that can happen to any vulnerable adult from any background.  It is crucial that we regularly review how we provide safeguarding services to ensure we support and protect vulnerable adults effectively.”

The ‘Keeping Adults Safe from Abuse and Neglect’ survey is anonymous.  No one will be identified by their answers and participation is voluntary.  Participants can skip questions or opt out entirely.

Scam Alert –‘Database’ update requests – 21 June 2018

We are warning businesses in Norfolk about unsolicited communications requesting that they ‘update our database’.

This follows a report from a Broadland based business who received the letter pictured below requesting that they ‘read the information carefully, check your information and, if applicable, return the form to us’.

This is a common approach towards businesses and other organisations attempting to get them to complete and return the form.

Following this an invoice is then sent ‘requiring’ payment for the ‘service’. In this example the form states a payment of £977 per year for three years is required. Previous examples of this approach have been sent by letter, email and fax.

To protect your business from these unsolicited approaches we advise:

  • Make all staff who deal with incoming communications aware of this type of 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.

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