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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News Alert – Norfolk Trusted Trader launches new website – 01 December 2022

Norfolk Trusted Trader, the only approved trader scheme from Norfolk County Council, has launched a new and improved website providing an easy and accessible experience to both businesses and consumers.

This is an exciting development which will provide many new opportunities to both consumers and scheme members, such as:

  • A fully accessible website with the ability for businesses to offer consumers the opportunity to leave reviews directly on the site
  • A dedicated support line for consumers and businesses
  • An online portal for scheme members to be able to request Trusted Trader support and assistance and upload photos and videos of work to boost their profile page
  • Continued free access to an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme

Businesses who join the scheme before the end of February 2023 will enjoy 50% off their first year of membership

To see the updated Norfolk Trusted Trader Directory or to find out more about the scheme please visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website

Safety Alert – Office for Product Safety and Standards issues Urgent Safety Alert for baby self-feeding pillows – 30 November 2022

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has issued an Urgent Safety Alert for baby self-feeding pillows and is urging the public to stop using them immediately and dispose of them safely.

Businesses selling these products must immediately remove them from the market as they cannot comply with the safety requirements under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Baby self-feeding pillow products are designed to be attached to a bottle so that the baby may be positioned on its back to self-feed without the assistance of a caregiver holding the bottle and controlling the feed.

This is inconsistent with NHS guidance in relation to safe bottle feeding.

When used as intended, even whilst under the supervision of a caregiver, it could lead to immediate, serious harm or death from choking or aspiration pneumonia.

OPSS has identified that this category of products will always be dangerous due to their design and intended use and can never be made safe.

Consumers and businesses are asked to take specific action to cease use or remove these products from the market as advised below:

Consumers: should immediately stop using these products and dispose of them safely.

Businesses: must immediately remove these products from the market as they cannot comply with the safety requirements under the General Product Safety Regulations, 2005.

Scam Alert – Emails “Urgent response required to Managing Director” – 24 October 2022

We have been made aware of a spam phishing email circulating Norfolk and would advise businesses that this is fraudulent and originates from scammers, being solely designed to harvest personal details.

The content of the email starts:

From: “named individual” (one of your senior parties) managingdirector.uk@hotmail/gmail/live.com or some other provider. Sent: today’s date and time, To: your name/email. Subject: Available?

It will say “Hello” followed by your name. “Do you have a moment? I am tied up in a conference call meeting and there is something I need you to take care of requiring swift action.”

This is then followed by “Kindly reply to me with your WhatsApp number and patiently wait for my text.”

Finally, “Best Regards”

Fortunately, the business that received the email has a system of precautions and makes simple checks on each email they receive, so they took extra measures to ensure that their employees were aware by circulating the following advice.

Some best practices:

  • Messages from public domains i.e., @gmail etc – always check the ‘from’ field to validate the sender
  • Watch out for poorly worded emails or emails that have a sense of urgency
  • Never open or click attachments / links from unknown sources or if you are suspicious of the email (including unsubscribe buttons)
  • Please notify me (manager) of any suspicious emails

If in doubt just pick up the phone and call the sender for verification.

Always treat emails that seem dubious with caution. It is worth following the good tips the business offered above. If in any doubt, delete the email.

You can forward suspicious emails to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service at report@phishing.gov.uk.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at further premises in Norfolk – 27 October 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at further premises in Norfolk this week. In October, so far there has been more than 70 cases mainly concentrated in East Anglia, the majority of which are in Norfolk.

Full details of the locations and controls put in place can be found in the declaratory order for each premises online on the GOV.UK website.

We are continuing to work 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.

News Alert – Fraud and Cyber Crime, are you protected? Join us on Saturday 15 October for Norfolk Scam Aware day – 29 September 2022

On Saturday 15 October the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership will be hosting Norfolk Scam Aware day at The Forum Norwich from 10am to 5pm.

Come along for advice and guidance on staying safe from scams, fraud and cybercrime from a range of partners including Norfolk Police, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, Norfolk & Suffolk Victim care and Age UK Norfolk.

Throughout the day you can book to attend talks or try and complete our Cyber Escape Room. For more information or to book your space visit the Norfolk Police website.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a second premises near Attleborough, Norfolk – 28 September 2022

On 27 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a second premises near Attleborough, 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.

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)

See 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 Prevention Zone – 28 September 2022

Following a number of detections of avian influenza in both poultry and wild birds across Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex, the United Kingdom’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the region to mitigate the risk of further outbreaks of disease occurring.

This means that it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks, of whatever type or size.

All bird keepers, including hobby and backyard poultry keepers and anyone who keeps chickens, ducks and geese as pets must take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

Additionally, keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading. There is also a mandatory requirement to keep records and to make them available on request.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) means bird keepers in the affected regions must:

  • Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing 
  • Reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • Keep records of mortality, movement of poultry and poultry products and any changes in production
  • Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
  • revent access by poultry to ponds and watercourses and ensure that birds are kept in fenced or enclosed areas

More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

The AIPZ will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to monitor and manage the risks of bird flu.

Bird keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to Defra’s national dead wild bird helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease in their birds to APHA on 03000 200 301.

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 Northwold, Norfolk– 26 September 2022

On 26 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Northwold, 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.

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)

See 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.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering to repair driveways – 23 September 2022

We are warning businesses to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Hingham area offering to repair driveways.

In the incident a man cold called at a property offering to fill potholes in the driveway. The man went on to claim that they were ‘working nearby’ as they were ‘contracted by the council to fill potholes in the area’.

Often, when this approach is used, the cold caller will quote an initial price for the work but once work has commenced the price will increase dramatically.

It is possible these doorstep cold callers could move on to other areas around Norfolk, especially in rural areas.

Anyone sighting these cold callers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Looking for a trader you can trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader.

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.