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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 – 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.

Cold Calling Alert – Cold callers offering to sharpen and coat blades and tools – 14 March 2019

We are warning businesses to be aware of cold callers visiting premises offering to sharpen and coat tools and blades.

This follows reports from our colleagues at Suffolk Trading Standards after a Suffolk business was approached and agreed to the service. After the tools were taken, a demand of £3,000 was made for the return of the items.

We always advise to be very wary of claims made by cold callers to your premises and never agree to services, buy items or for return visits if approached in this manner.

If you are looking to contract work out, only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and always obtain a written quotation from them in advance of the work.

If you receive a cold call to your business from someone offering to sharpen and coat tools or blades, we would advise that you decline the offer, ask the cold caller to leave your premises and then report the incident to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Information Alert – Guidance for businesses on EU trade in the event of a ‘No Deal’ EU Exit – 7 March 2019

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, many UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.

You’ll need to have a UK issued Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if you:

  • Are a business established in the UK
  • Will import or export goods with the EU from 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019

Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/eori

Information Alert – Guidance for cosmetics products businesses in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit – 7 March 2019

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has issued guidance for cosmetics products businesses in the event of a ‘No Deal’ EU Exit.

Information Alert – Make sure you're business scam aware. Check out the 'Little Book of Big Scams - Business Edition' – 28 February 2019

Make sure you’re up to date with scams targeted at businesses by checking out the Metropolitan Police’s Little Book of Big Scams – Business Edition.

Information Alert – Guidance for food manufacturers in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit – 14 February 2019

DEFRA have issued guidance for food manufacturers regarding changing food legislation in the event of a no-deal Brexit.   All food manufacturers, in particular anyone exporting food to the EU, producing organic products, selling foods in the UK need to be aware of potential changes.

The guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/food-labelling-changes-after-brexit.

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