Business scam alerts

You can report scams through our partners the Citizens Advice helpline using their online report form or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone).  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.

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Scam Alert – Payment diversion fraud – 28 July 2022

Payment diversion fraud (PDF), also known as business email compromise (BEC) or mandate fraud, affects businesses and customers where electronic financial transactions are taking place.

Criminals will contact businesses or customers via email, usually claiming to be from a company that the business or customer has been dealing with. They will request a payment to be made often or inform the recipient of a change of bank account details.

Criminals will often create fake email addresses which are very similar to genuine business or customer addressees and send over fake invoices to make it more believable. All of this leads to payments from businesses and customers directly into bank accounts controlled by the criminals.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people and will spend hours researching you for their scams. Stop, think, and follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice as it could protect you and your money.

Stop: If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

Challenge: Could it be fake? Verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first.

Protect: Contact your business’ bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed and report it to Action Fraud Learn to protect against payment diversion fraud with specific advice for businesses on the Action Fraud website.

Information Alert – The Business of Cybersecurity: Norfolk County Council funds virtual cyber security event – 7 July 2022

Tech East are proud to be hosting the first of three virtual events focusing on providing small businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk with information on cyber security.

Attendees will hear from industry experts such as Amazon, BT, and Birketts LLP, and understand where they can get help, hearing from Cyber East, Norfolk & Suffolk Police and Scrutton Bland.

The event takes place in the morning of Tuesday 12 July and gives participants an overview of what their businesses can do to protect themselves and where they can get help.

The following two events will focus on exploring specific topics, such as critical infrastructure, and financial data security.

The event, funded by Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils and the New Anglia LEP, aims to provide SME businesses with information on the cybersecurity threats they face at a strategic level and the latest cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

For more information on the full programme and to register for the event visit the EventBrite website

Scam Alert – Payment Diversion Fraud – 24 March 2022

Is your business email safe from criminals?

Action Fraud poster reads: "Stop! Don't make that payment. Payment diversion fraud. Know the dangers."

Criminals are targeting business emails like yours. Their goal: tricking you into transferring funds into their account.

Learn to protect against payment diversion fraud with specific advice for businesses on the Action Fraud website.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at two further premises near Redgrave Suffolk – 14 March 2022

On the 12 and 13 March 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a second premises near Redgrave, and in birds at a premises near Market Weston, both in Suffolk. A 3km Protection and 10km Surveillance Zone, which extends into Norfolk, has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory orders on the GOV.UK website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Suffolk Trading Standards to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Cyber Resilience – 10 March 2022

We are highlighting to businesses in Norfolk a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to bolster their online defences due to the ongoing situation in the Ukraine.

While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, there has been an historical pattern of cyber-attacks on Ukraine with international consequences. The guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.

You can also check your incident response plan is up to date, further information is available on the NCSC website.

  • Ensure your incident response plan and the communication mechanisms it uses will be available, even if your business systems are not
  • Make sure everyone knows how to report suspected security events and why reporting during a period of heightened threat is so important
  • Confirm that your backups are running correctly. Perform test restorations from your backups to ensure that the restoration process is understood and familiar
  • Check that there is an offline copy of your backup - and that it is always recent enough to be useful if an attack results in loss of data or system configuration

Further advice is available suited to businesses by size on the NCSC website

Norfolk Businesses can also get advice, information, and support on Cyber Resilience from these organisations

Scam Alert – Invoice scams and mandate fraud – 3 March 2022

We are continuing to warn businesses in Norfolk 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:

  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 – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Redgrave Suffolk – 1 March 2022

On 1 March 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Redgrave, Suffolk. A 3km Protection and 10km Surveillance Zone, which extends into Norfolk, has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Read details of the controls in place in the declaratory order on the GOV.UK website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Suffolk Trading Standards to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read further information on the housing measures on the GOV.UK website.

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Fakenham, Norfolk – 5 February 2022

On 5 February 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Fakenham, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order dated 5 February 2022 on the GOV.UK website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Cold caller approaching Early Years settings – 27 January 2022

We are warning Early Years and Nursery settings to be aware of a cold caller attempting to sell nursery toys and equipment.

This follows an incident in the Broadland area this morning where a male arrived at the setting and offered to sell items he claimed were ‘from closed down sites’. The setting declined the offer, and the male was seen to return to a white van.

Our advice is 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 could be stolen.

It is possible this seller could move on to other parts of Norfolk.

If you are approached by this cold caller or are concerned about cold calling activity in your community contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101

Information Alert – The Business Cost of Fraud – 20 January 2022

We are proud to be supporting Take Five to Stop Fraud with their campaign, The Business Cost of Fraud.

In the first half of 2021 businesses saw losses of £59.2 million. Businesses are a target for criminals as their accounts will generally hold more money than the average person and some may have fewer processes and measures in place than bigger businesses.

Research shows SMEs are targeted frequently by criminals, with 80% receiving unsolicited text/email requests and 64% being targeted over the phone or in person. The impact of fraud and scams on businesses can be devastating. Many struggle to recover from the severe financial and reputational damage it can cause.

However, there are things we can all do to protect ourselves. When you’re at work, if you receive an urgent request for payment or a supplier requests changes to bank details always remember to Stop, Challenge, Protect. Ask yourself if the request could be a scam? Verify the request directly on a known phone number or in person first. It may feel awkward checking with your boss, but they’ll be grateful that you are helping to protect the business.

If you think you may have fallen for a scam, contact your business’s bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Watlington, King’s Lynn, Norfolk– 28 December 2021

On 28 December 2021 influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Watlington, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zones have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order on the GOV.UK website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza: Poultry & Captive Bird housing measures to be introduced – 26 November 2021

Housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza are coming into force across the UK at one minute past midnight (00:01) on 29 November 2021.

This means that, from this time, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors, or where this is not practical, to take steps to separate them from wild birds.

Keeping your birds undercover away from wild birds is vital to minimise the risk of them becoming infected with avian influenza by wild birds. But housing alone is not the only solution – it remains essential that you follow strict biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of disease spreading to your birds.

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

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