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Consumer scam alerts

You can report scams to our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, using the Citizens Advice online reporting form or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone), or you can report a scam 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 - Investment scams and fake cryptocurrency exchanges – 22 July 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of individuals falling victim to online investment scams, including fake cryptocurrency exchanges. Losses to these scams range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but there are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies including other well-known ones such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Cryptocurrencies only exists online and are not controlled by a bank, treasury or country, meaning you can’t get physical notes or coins from the bank.

Our advice is to always ensure you understand a cryptocurrency or an investment before transferring any money.

A cryptocurrency scam can take many forms, this could include:

  • A fake cryptocurrency which doesn’t or will ever exist
  • A bogus investment which promises to put money in a legitimate cryptocurrency
  • A dangerous website link that then downloads malware onto your computer

See useful guidance on how to spot an investment scam on the Which? website.

See further details on how to avoid investment scams online via the Financial Conduct Authority website.

If you think you have received an investment offer that you believe is a scam or you have become a victim of a scam, you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fake Facebook pages – 20 July 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of fake pages on Facebook claiming to be well-known brands or retail chains. Recently this has included several pages claiming to be large holiday companies offering ‘free holidays’.

The fake Facebook alert contains the subject header: 'To celebrate the re-opening of all Center Parcs resorts without any restrictions we're doing something very special! We'll be randomly choosing someone who has done the below by July 22nd.'

The fake sites then attempt to get people to engage with the page by claiming to be offering discounts, prizes and giveaways. Sometimes this will be by asking you to like, share and comment on the posting, which increases the reach of the fake page, others provide links to other sites that you must follow as part of the competition entry and in some cases both.

These fake pages can often gather tens of thousands of shares within hours of being posted.

If you see a competition post on Facebook, before you click on it, take a moment to check:

  • Is the page verified? Public figures, media companies and larger brands can apply to Facebook for the blue verification tick. Although this is not open to smaller companies
  • Look at the name closely, some fake pages will alter the name of the genuine page slightly by adding additional punctuation or change spaces between parts of the name
  • Take a closer look at the page including the page history, when was it registered
  • What other posts have they made? If the only posts are recent or it is limited to just the offer or giveaway take this is a warning sign
  • Look around the page, is there the information there you would expect to see? Many fake pages leave these areas blank
  • How many followers does the page have? Well-known brands will have high figures where as a recently registered page will still be on low numbers
  • What information is being asked for? Many of these fake pages will say you need to ‘complete a quick survey’ as part of claiming process. Never give any personal information unless you know exactly who you are giving it to and what they are going to do with it
  • If they are asking for financial or banking information to enter a competition, stop and leave the page immediately

If you can’t be sure about the authenticity of a Facebook page, do not interact with it.

If you have responded to what you now think could be a Fake Facebook page:

  • If you have liked, shared and commented be aware you could be targeted with further scams postings or contacts
  • If you have given personal information like email addresses or contact numbers be aware for scam contacts via these routes
  • If you have given banking or financial information, contact your bank or card provider immediately to protect your accounts

You can report Fake Facebook pages, or other scam contacts to us by contacting our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 20 July 2021

We are warning residents to continue to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller claimed they were ‘the local representative for loft insulation’ and that there is ‘problems with loft insulation’ that ‘would have to be surveyed’.

The cold caller then attempted to gather personal information including home ownership status.

Our advice is always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal details or agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fake text messages from DPD – 19 July 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of fake text messages claiming to be from Courier companies stating you need to ‘book a redelivery’ for a missed parcel. This recent example claims to be from DPD.

The fake DPD text message contains the subject header: 'Sorry we missed you. To book your redelivery visit ...'

The text message contains a link which leads to a fake website that attempts to gather personal information and requires payment details for the redelivery.

If you receive this, or a similar text do not click on the link.

If you think you have provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. All phone operators now use this number as the short code to report spam texts. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

Report all scams to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls appearing to come from numbers similar to your own number – 16 July 2021

We are highlighting a warning from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for residents to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own.

Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number. The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to ‘press 1’ in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.

In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number. Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.

Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

The NFIB offer the following advice to help protect yourself:

  • Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these
  • Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge

Scam Alert – Romance Fraud – 15 July 2021

Action Fraud has seen a significant increase in romance fraud this year as the coronavirus outbreak has led to more people trying to find love online.

In these scams, a criminal creates a fake profile on an online dating website or through a direct email gained from a virus or previous phishing scam. It targets individuals to gain their trust. This eventually leads to requests of money for travel, legal expenses or a new project, for instance.

Scam email from Natana (postmaster@deadhouse.ru) with the subject 'Pleasant dating'

Early requests for money and a reluctance to talk about their work or life may be red flags. If you experience anything suspicious, please talk to someone you trust for help. If you think you've been scammed, report it straight to your bank and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Scam Alert - Subscription Scam - 15 July 2021

These are emails sent to your device or computer designed to make you click on an unsubscribe button given at the top of the email.

The scam is made to be unclear and originator is unknown. It plays on the fact that the message is simple, just reply and nothing bad will happen, they are just asking you to unsubscribe. A clue that this is a phishing scam is that each email will have multiple addresses. Once the unsubscribe button has been clicked, the scammers know your email is real and, more importantly that the user is likely to be fooled by further attempts at fraud.

Anyone who responds will find that the message is sent to not just one email address but dozens of recipients.

Scam subscription email reads: "Please unsubscribe me from your newsletter"

Once they’ve identified a potential target, the crooks will then bombard the victim with spam messages in the hope that they fall victim to another scam.

As such, anyone who receives an unsolicited email asking if they want to subscribe or unsubscribe should not respond, mark it as spam or delete it straight away.

Scam Alert – Emails from Hermes – 15 July 2021

Hermes are the latest delivery service to experience hijacking of their details by fraudsters in phishing attempts. There are many templates on this scam, similar to this one, “Hermes. Sorry we missed you. Our driver will be delivering tomorrow. Please reschedule by following the link.” Another template is exampled below.

This will then take you to another field purporting to be from Hermes with the objective of gathering your personal details for possible identity fraud.

Scam email from Hermes reads "Your package are awaiting for receipt. To check your shipping information, click here and check the details carefully. The secret key (code provided). Thank you for your order!"

Do not ever click on the link. Always look for obvious clues such as lack of personal details such as “Good Morning Mr ……” or “Dear Mrs……” as detailed in the account holders name.

Poor spelling and grammar “are” instead of “is” as shown above.

Check ID numbers and your individual accounts to find if you have orders outstanding.

Unrecognisable or vague email addresses that are very different from the actual Hermes addresses. Scammers often use words in these fake emails to fool you, “carrier” or “logistics” have been used as examples.

Suspicious scam Hermes emails can and should be forwarded to report@phishing.gov.uk or through Action Fraud website.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from HMRC – 15 July 2021

We are warning residents to continue to be alert for fake HMRC emails.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received an email claiming that ‘HMRC recalculated your fiscal activity from the last year’ and they were ‘entitled to a refund of £795’.

The email then went on to state that ‘if you refuse to complete the refund form online, you will not be able to claim your tax refund anymore’.

Remember, HMRC will never send notifications about tax refunds or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

If you receive this, or a similar email do not:

  • click on any links
  • open any attachments
  • disclose any personal or payment information

Forward suspicious HMRC emails to the HMRC phishing team at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk

Find more information about bogus contacts and phishing emails claiming to be from HMRC on the GOV.UK website.

Report suspicious emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Call Telephone Alert – Callers asking for personal details 15 July 2021

This week we have had a report from a man who only gave his first name only and who wanted to ask a Norfolk resident personal questions relating to house ownership, banks of which the residents held account in and then asked the occupants questions relating to medical conditions.

We are reminding Norfolk resides of what to do if they receive a suspected scam call

  • Firstly, if you do have caller display and you don’t recognise the number shown on the display – don’t answer it
  • Note the name of the caller and the organisation they represent. If they avoid the question, insist. You can ring the organisation and confirm the call. Always look the telephone number up yourself – don’t use the one provided by the caller
  • Never reveal personal details including addresses and dates of birth. Keep financial information secure and never provide passwords or PIN numbers over the phone
  • Hang up – this may feel uncomfortable to do this but if you do have a “who called you last” facility on your phone’s display you can always call the number back if it is someone you recognise and explain the reason for your action

You can report telephone cold calls to us via the Citizens Advice Helpline freephone number on 0808 223 1133 or use the online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Fake text messages from Hermes – 14 July 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of fake text messages from Hermes claiming you need to ‘book a redelivery’ for a missed parcel.

Scam text from Hermes reads: "HERMES: Sorry we missed your delivery today please visit schedule-redelivery-update.com to book a redelivery. Failure will result in your parcel being returned."

The text message contains a link which leads to a bogus website that attempts to gather personal information and requires payment details for the redelivery.

These texts have been sent by criminals who have created the fake website to look similar to the Hermes website, with the same branding, layout and font choices.

If you receive this text do not click on the link.

If you think you have provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. All phone operators now use this number as the short code to report spam texts, which is free of charge. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

Report all scams to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls asking you to take part in an ‘ambulance survey’ – 8 July 2021

We are highlighting a warning issued by the East Anglian Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) after they have received reports of cold calls being made claiming to be an ‘ambulance survey’.

The calls, which appear to come from a mobile number, ask the recipient to take part in the survey before attempting to gather a range of personal information.

EEAST advise that they do have a patent survey team that collects feedback but patients are written to and they do not cold call to complete surveys.

Our advice is always to be very wary of unexpected telephone cold calls and never give or confirm any personal or financial details if approached this way.

You can report telephone cold calls received to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Copycat DVLA websites charging premium prices for services – 7 July 2021

We are warning consumers to be aware of websites offering DVLA services. These websites often charge a premium for services which you can get for free or at a much lower cost via the official Government website.

These services include taxing your vehicle, replacing or updating your driving license and updating your vehicle logbook. If you are searching for these services online, always use GOV.UK.

Visit Money Saving Expert website for further information regarding copycat websites.

We have put together information about copycat websites with links to official sites that offer a variety of services.

You can also report online advertisements that you think might be a scam to the Advertising Standards Agency.

If you think you have fallen victim to a scam you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding appliance warrantees or insurance – 7 July 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be alert to telephone cold calls regarding appliance warrantees’ or insurance.

This follows a number of reports from residents about this type of cold call, which have included:

  • In one report a resident received a call claiming that their ‘domestic Appliance Insurance was due for renewal’. The cold caller then attempted to gather personal and card details for a payment. When the resident attempted to question the cold caller about the policy they hung up
  • In other reports residents have questioned the cold caller about details for the appliance which the policy is being renewed on and the cold caller gives non comitial or wrong information

Our advice is always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal details, agree to contract or make a purchase if approached in this manner.

If you need advice about cold calling or have agreed to a contract during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Scam calls claiming ‘your National Insurance number has been cancelled’– 6 July 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of automated telephone calls making claims about National Insurance numbers.

The caller states that your National Insurance number has been suspended and requests you to press 1 in order to speak to an advisor.

Some calls are claiming to be from the ‘National Crime Agency’, others are saying they are ‘Inland Revenue’.

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

If you receive this type of call you can report it to HM Revenue & Customs by emailing phishing@hmrc.gov.uk including where possible the following details:

  • date and time of the call
  • phone number used
  • content of the call

You can also report suspicious calls received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘Royal Mail’ – 5 July 2021

We are again warning about text messages circulating claiming to be from Royal Mail.

Scam text reads: "Royal Mail: Your package has a £2.99 shipping fee, to pay this now visit https://royal-mail.delivery. Actions will be taken if you do not pay this fee."

This follows a number of reports in the last week from Norfolk residents who have received the above pictured or similar text messages.

Anyone clicking on the link will be taken to a fake version of the Royal Mail website which has been created to fool people by using the same branding, layout and font choices. This site will then attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected messages and never click on any links or open attachments contained within them.

You can see further examples of fake Royal Mail communication on the Royal Mail website.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

You can also report suspicious text messages received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller in the Gorleston area – 1 July 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Gorleston area

This follows an incident where a resident was cold called by a male who claimed he was from the ‘Veteran’s Association’. The male then attempted to gather personal and financial details from the resident ‘for their lottery’. The resident described the cold callers’ approach as ‘forceful’.

The resident declined the offer and reported the incident to us.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property and remember:

  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door, if you can check through a spy hole, use a video doorbell or look and talk from a window to see who is there
  • Think about your home security, make sure other doors to your property are locked before answering the front door
  • If the person is offering services or trying to sell something politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or charity ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book, DO NOT use information on the ID, it could be fake
    If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you can not verify it is genuine politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • As the cold caller leaves, if you can safely from inside your property watch and see:
    Do they go to call at neighbouring properties?
    Do they return to a vehicle, is it sign written, can you see the make, model, colour and registration plate?
    Are they alone or working with others?
    Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were calling and who they say they were representing – all of this information is very useful to Trading Standards and the Police when looking at Cold Calling incidents

You can report any further sightings of this male or any doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers in the Spixworth and Old Catton areas – 1 July 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Spixworth and Old Catton areas of Norwich.

In the Old Catton incident, a resident was cold called by a male who claimed he was an electrician and needed to undertake some electrical work. The resident queried why the cold caller was at their property and at this point the male left. He was seen to return to a Blue Nissan Micra.

In the Spixworth incident two males have been cold calling at properties offering to clean roofs or driveways. The males have been seen to be using a plain blue Toyota van.

You can report any further sightings of these males or any doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

If you find your home needing improvement work try using Norfolk Trusted Trader. Search our trader directory and read feedback from their customers visit.

Scam Alert – Scam Callers claiming to be Police Officers – 25 June 2021

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Police after three Norfolk residents were targeted by telephone scammers pretending to be police officers within the last two weeks.

The incidents happened in:

  • Downham Market on Thursday 17 June. No money was lost.
  • Heacham on Friday 18 June. £4,000 was lost.
  • Chedgrave on Thursday 18 June. No money was lost.

Courier Fraud happens when a fraudster contacts a victim by telephone claiming to be a police officer, bank or from a government department, among other agencies. A number of techniques will then be adopted in order to convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which may then be passed on to a courier.

Residents are reminded that neither the police nor your bank will ever ask you to withdraw or transfer money or purchase items.

Further advice includes:

  • Police officers, banks and other government agencies will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another account as part of an undercover operation.
  • They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • The police will never ask you to handover money for safe keeping or as part of an operation.
  • The police will never send someone to your address to collect money, cards or PIN Numbers or ask you to deliver these to another location.

Try these steps if you are approached:

  • STOP – take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
  • CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you. 
  • PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it.

You can confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly. Ask for ID from individuals who have approached you in these circumstances.

If you're asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.

Officers are particularly keen for members of the community to ensure they contact family and friends, particularly elderly relatives to ensure they are aware of these scams and the warning signs.

If anyone has received a similar type of telephone call or has any information about these incidents. Contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting Operation Radium.

Alternatively, Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you believe a crime is in progress always call 999.

Information Alert – Scams Awareness 2021 – Where to go for more help – 24 June 2021

We are supporting Scams Awareness 2021, which aims to raise awareness and help equip people with the knowledge they need to recognise scams.

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard - if you’re not sure about something take your time and get advice.

Where to go for more help:

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘NHS’ regarding ‘Coronavirus Digital Passport’ – 23 June 2021

Scam emails are circulating claiming to be from the NHS in which they invite you to apply for a COVID vaccine passport.

One email, pictured below, had the subject title ‘We are happy to introduce Digital Coronavirus Passports’

The scam NHS text message contains the opening line 'Starting from today you can apply for a digital passport'.

Anyone clicking on the ‘Get Digital Passport’ link will be taken to a fake version of the NHS website that asks for personal and payment details for a ‘required process fee’. The website linked to this email has since been taken down, but other versions may be circulating.

Remember, your vaccination status is obtained free through the official NHS App, NHS website or via phoning the NHS on 119.

More information on demonstrating your Covid-19 vaccination status can be found on the GOV.UK website.

You can report suspicious emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘NHS Verification’ – 22 June 2021

We have received reports of scam telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘NHS Verification’. During the call the cold caller asks the recipient if they have received their Covid-19 vaccination, and whether they had any side effects. The caller also asks if the recipient has taken any rapid lateral flow or PCR tests.

The caller then proceeds to ask if the recipient has life insurance and how much they pay.

These calls are not from the NHS. If you receive this or a similar call do not give or confirm any information and hang up.

You can report suspicious cold calls received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 22 June 2021

We are again warning about emails circulating claiming to be from DVLA.

One recent example reported by a Norfolk resident claimed that ‘The payment for your vehicle tax has failed’ and that ‘late payment will lead to a fine being issued’ The email goes on to provide a link to ‘continue to payment page’.

This email is not from the DVLA and any links contained within the email are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the DVLA website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

DVLA offer the following advice to stay safe online with contacting the DVLA or if you receive something claiming to be from the DVLA:

  • Only use GOV.UK
    When looking for information or using our online services, double check that you are using a GOV.UK webpage so that you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
  • Scam emails
    DVLA never sends emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information. If you get anything like this, do not open any links. Delete the email immediately.
  • Beware of misleading websites
    Keep an eye out for potentially misleading third-party websites. These sites will often offer to help you apply for a driving licence or tax your car but are likely to charge additional fees for services that you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK
  • Look out for premium rate numbers
    Look out for websites offering to connect you to our contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. Our contact centre numbers will only ever begin with 0300 – which costs the same as a local call
  • Be mindful of what you share online
    Never share images online of your driving licence and vehicle documents. This personal information could be invaluable to those looking to steal the identity of a vehicle or its owner.
  • Texts
    DVLA never sends texts about vehicle tax refunds. Text scams often ask you to follow a link to provide credit card details. Never click on the link. Delete the text straight away

You can report suspicious emails received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Scams Awareness 2021 – What to do if someone has been scammed – 21 June 2021

We are supporting Scams Awareness 2021 which aims to raise awareness and help equip people with the knowledge they need to recognise scams.

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard - if you’re not sure about something take your time and get advice.

What to do if someone has been scammed

If someone has been scammed, there are 3 steps they need to take:

1. Protect themselves from further risks

There are things they can do to stop things getting worse. They should contact their bank immediately to let them know what’s happened. They should also change any relevant log-in details, and check for viruses if they were scammed on a computer.

2. Check if they can get their money back

If they’ve lost money because of a scam, there might be ways they can get it back. Again, make sure they tell their bank what happened straight away. If they’ve paid for something by card, bank transfer, Direct Debit or PayPal, then depending on the circumstances they might be able to help them get their money back.

3. Report the scam

Reporting scams helps authorities stop the criminals responsible and protects others from being scammed. Anyone who’s been scammed should:

Call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133. We’ll pass on details of the scam to Trading Standards, and can offer further advice

Report the scam to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud. They'll also give them a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you've been scammed

It’s also important for us to all talk about our experiences with family and friends. By letting them know what’s happened they can be prepared, and together we can put a stop to scams.

Information Alert – Scams Awareness 2021 – How to protect yourself from scams – 18 June 2021

Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards service is supporting Scams Awareness 2021 which aims to raise awareness and help equip people with the knowledge they need to recognise scams.

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard - if you’re not sure about something take your time and get advice.

How to protect yourself from scams

There are some simple steps people can take to help protect themselves from scams:

  • Don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. It’s okay to take your time
  • Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, to anyone you don’t know, trust or have only met online. If someone pressures you for these, it’s most likely a scam
  • Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews from different websites, search for the company’s details on Companies House, and take a look at their terms and conditions
  • Pay by debit or credit card. This gives you extra protection if things go wrong
  • Be suspicious. Scammers can be very smart. They can appear like a trusted business or government official, have a professional website and say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust
  • Make sure your antivirus software is up to date
  • Keep your online accounts secure. Use a strong password for email accounts that you don't use anywhere else. Choosing three random words is a good way to create a strong and easy to remember password. You can also add in numbers and symbols.
  • If you’re not sure about something, get advice from a trusted source

If someone thinks they might be being scammed, they should get advice immediately. They can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service for help with what to do next by calling freephone 0808 223 1133, and report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’ – 17 June 2021

We are again warning residents to be on their guard for telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’.

We have had several reports from Norfolk residents of recorded message calls claiming to be from Amazon. Recent reports have included:

  • that ‘a payment of £79.99 has been taken to renew your Amazon Prime subscription’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to cancel the payment’
  • that ‘a purchase costing £1,000 has been made on your Amazon account’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 if you did not make this purchase’
  • that ‘£1,000 has been charged to your Amazon account’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to speak to the Amazon fraud team’
  • that ‘you are required to make a payment of £399 to your Amazon account’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to speak to an advisor’

Where residents have interacted with the call, they have then been connected to a person who attempts to gather personal, account or financial details.

These calls are a scam and are not connected with Amazon in any way. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

Amazon have put together some helpful tips on how to identify if a phone call is from them. This information can be found on the Amazon UK website.

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 16 June 2021

We are warning residents to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call in which the cold caller claimed they were calling to ‘arrange for a no cost loft insulation suitability check’.

The cold caller then attempted to gather personal information including the call recipient’s age.

Our advice is always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal details or agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

If you need advice about cold calling or have been told you will receive a visit to your home during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 15 June 2021

We are continuing to receive reports from Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Recent reports have included an automated recorded message calls which state they are from ‘HMRC’ and that ‘a case for unpaid tax has been raised against you’ and that ‘you must press 1 to speak to a supervisor or a warrant for your immediate arrest will be issued’.

These calls are appearing to come from a range of different ‘spoofed’ numbers and some residents are reporting receiving a number of calls in quick succession.

These calls are not genuine and do not come from HMRC. If you receive this or a call making similar claims or threats do not interact with the call in any way and hang up immediately.

You can find more information about bogus contacts and phishing emails claiming to be from HMRC on the GOV.UK website.

You can also report suspicious HMRC phone calls received via this GOV.UK online form where possible including the:

  • date of the call
  • phone number used
  • content of the call

You can also report suspected scam telephone calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert – Scam calls claiming ‘your National Insurance number has been suspended’– 14 June 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of automated telephone calls making claims about National Insurance numbers.

The caller states that your National Insurance number has been suspended and requests you to press 1 in order to speak to an advisor.

Some calls are claiming to be from the ‘National Crime Agency’, others are saying they are ‘Inland Revenue’.

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

If you receive this type of call you can report it to HM Revenue & Customs by emailing phishing@hmrc.gov.uk including where possible the following details:

  • date and time of the call
  • phone number used
  • content of the call

You can also report suspicious calls received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Scams Awareness 2021 – Spotting a Scam – 14 June 2021

Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards service is supporting Scams Awareness 2021 which aims to raise awareness and help equip people with the knowledge they need to recognise scams.

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard - if you’re not sure about something take your time and get advice.

Spotting a Scam

It’s important to always keep an eye out for scams. They can and do affect anyone. Here are some of the main warning signs of scams to look out for:

  • It seems too good to be true – like an email saying you’ve won a competition you don’t remember entering
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
  • You’re being urged to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends
  • You've been asked to pay for something urgently or in an unusual way – for example by bank transfer or gift vouchers
  • You’ve been asked to give away personal information

If someone thinks they might be being scammed, they should get advice immediately. They can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service for help with what to do next by calling freephone 0808 223 1133, and report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud.

Scam Alert – Cold calls claiming to be from ‘Mobile Network’ – 10 May 2021

The National Fraud Investigation Bureau (NFIB) are aware of an ongoing scam where consumers are being cold called by individuals impersonating employees of legitimate mobile network operators and suppliers.

Victims are offered early handset upgrades, or new contracts, at significant discounts. Once customers have been convinced that the deals are genuine and agree to proceed, suspects then ask for their online mobile account credentials, including log-ins, address and bank account details.

Suspects then place orders with genuine companies on behalf of victims, however select a different handset to that requested and have it shipped to the customer’s address.

Upon receipt, suspects assure victims that this has been an error and instruct them to ‘return’ the handset to a different address not affiliated to the mobile company. These addresses are usually residential.

Upon intercepting the ‘returned’ handsets, the suspects cease contact and victims find themselves stuck with no phone and liable for the entirety of a new contract taken out in their name.

The NFIB have received over 300 reports since January 2020 with reported losses in excess of £86,000.

What you need to do:

  • Cold calls about mobile upgrades and contracts - If you’re unsure that the person calling you is an official representative of the company they claim to be from, hang up and do not reveal any personal information
  • Only contact your mobile network provider on a number you know to be correct. For example, 191 for Vodafone customers, 150 for EE customers, 333 for Three customers, 202 for O2 customers, 4455 for Tesco Mobile, 789 for Virgin Mobile and 150 for Sky Mobile
  • If you receive a device that you did not order or expect, contact the genuine sender immediately. The details for this will be within the parcel
  • Never post a device directly to a given address. All genuine Mobile Network Operators would send out a jiffy bag for you to return without you incurring additional cost

Scam Alert – Scam census text message – 8 June 2021

We have become aware of some individuals receiving text messages about the recent census.

These scam texts threaten the recipient with a £1,000 fine for not completing the census, or for filling it in incorrectly.

These texts have been sent by criminals who have created the fake website to look similar to the genuine Census website, with the same branding, layout and font choices. The website asks you for personal information, including financial information.

  • Do not click on the link
  • The Office for National Statistics will never contact someone by text in relation to the census
  • The Office for National Statistics will never issue a fine by text, phone call, email or social media. View further information about your data and security on the Census 2021 website.
  • If you think you have provided scammers with your financial details, contact your bank immediately
  • If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender
  • Report all scams to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133

Information Alert – World Anti-Counterfeiting Day – 8 June 2021

With World Anti-Counterfeiting Day approaching, we are taking the opportunity to raise awareness about the negative impact counterfeit goods have on our health, safety and security.

Although it may seem like a bargain, consumers risk wasting their cash as goods are often of poor quality and can be dangerous. It is also well established that the trade in pirated and fake goods supports serious crime such as drug dealing, human trafficking and prostitution. In addition, those who trade in fakes pay no taxes, could be illegally claiming benefits and the illegal trade puts genuine local traders who play by the rules out of business.

We are advising consumers to be wary of purchasing counterfeit products and to make sure the seller is licensed and that the product description actually states that it is an original when purchasing goods.

Products that are likely to suffer from counterfeiting include:

  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance and beauty products
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Electrical items
  • Cigarettes
  • Toys

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group advise consumers to remember ‘the 4 Ps’ before buying from an unofficial seller or website:

Place: Always buy from a reputable stockist (including internet sites and platforms) or duty‐free outlet.

Price: If a deal looks too good to be true, it most probably is.

Packaging: Look out for poor-quality labelling, including spelling mistakes and poor grammar.

Product: Look out for fake versions of well-known brands and be wary of unusual brand names you haven’t seen before.

The Group also links consumers to an informative TED talk by Alastair Gray - How fake handbags fund terrorism and organized crime.

Citizens Advice provide further guidance should you realise a product you have purchased is counterfeit.

If you find you have purchased a product which you believe to be counterfeit or you have information regarding the selling of counterfeit goods you can report this to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Safety Alert – Fisher Price 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider – 7 June 2021

While there have been no reports of serious injuries or deaths in the 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders, Mattel are recalling the product globally due to reports in the United States of four infant deaths in a similar product sold in North America.

The infants were reportedly placed on their backs unrestrained in the product and later found on their stomachs.

This recall applies to the following product numbers of the Fisher-Price® 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider:

  • GWD46
  • FYY21
  • GGW85
  • HBD64

The model number is located on the underside of the base of the products.

Consumers who purchased the Fisher-Price® 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider online do not need to take any immediate action to return products and get a refund. Within the next two weeks your online retailer will send an email to all consumers who purchased the product. This email will include information on how to return the product to the online retailer in order to get a refund.

Consumers who purchased the Fisher-Price® 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider via another retail channel (not online) are requested to the visit the Mattel website for information on how to return the product and claim a refund.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers in the Taverham area – 4 June 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving a report of a doorstep cold caller in the Taverham area.

A male cold caller was approaching residents offering driveway repairs and maintenance work.

If you are approached by cold callers of any kind you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Constabulary on 101.

If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

You can report any further sightings of these men or any doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101

If you find your home needing improvement work try using Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our trader directory and read feedback from their customers visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader

Scam Alert – Fake text messages from Hermes – 3 June 2021

We are still receiving reports of fake text messages from Hermes attempting to charge consumers for ‘re-deliveries’.

The text message contains a link which leads to a bogus website that attempts to gain personal information and take payment.

These texts have been sent by criminals who have created the fake website to look similar to the Hermes website, with the same branding, layout and font choices.

If you receive this text do not click on the link.

If you think you have provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. All phone operators now use this number as the short code to
report spam texts, which is free of charge. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

Report all scams to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold caller requesting access to electricity boxes – 2 June 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Sprowston area asking to access electricity boxes.

We advise to be very wary of claims made by doorstep cold callers and to never give access to your property, agree to services, share or confirm personal details, buy items or agree to return visits if approached in this manner.

You can report doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Constabulary on 101.

If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers in the Wymondham area – 1 June 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of men cold calling in the Wymondham area.

The cold callers are offering cleaning products for sale and are claiming to be 'ex offenders' or that they have 'recently left the army' and are selling household products which they are carrying in large holdall bags or rucksacks.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property and remember:

  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door. If you can, check through a spy hole, use a video doorbell or look and talk from a window to see who is there
  • Think about your home security. Make sure other doors to your property are locked before answering the front door
  • If the person is offering services or trying to sell something, politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or charity, ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID, close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book. Do not use information on the ID, it could be fake. If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you cannot verify it is genuine, politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • As the cold caller leaves, if you can, safely from inside your property watch and see:
    • Do they go to call at neighbouring properties
    • Do they return to a vehicle, is it sign-written, can you see the make, model, colour and registration plate
    • Are they alone or working with others
  • Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were calling and who they say they were representing – all of this information is very useful to us and the police when looking at cold calling incidents

You can report any further sightings of these males or any doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – ‘Brushing’ scams – 30 May 2021

We are warning residents after receiving a report about a ‘brushing’ scam involving online deliveries.

This scam involves packages you didn’t order from online selling platforms like Amazon showing up on your doorstep.

Initially, receiving items you haven’t paid for might not seem like problem, some people might not regard this as a scam. You’re not being charged for the items, they’re not stolen as they’ve been paid for and they’re yours to keep.

But the reality is being involved in a brushing scam means that someone has gained access at minimum to your name and mailing address but depending on how they gathered this data potentially other personal and financial information as well.

Scammers do this to make the purchases look genuine and avoid violating the selling sites’ terms that prevent them providing reviews for their own products.

If you begin receiving packages that are addressed to you, but you did not order, contact the retailer immediately.

Following this change the passwords to your online accounts in case the scammer has got your address by hacking an account. You may find if it is an online account you haven’t used for a while and you’re now ‘locked out’ it may be that the account has been taken over by the scammer.

If the volume of shipments becomes a problem, contact Royal Mail for help with holding packages until you can pick them up or otherwise handle the matter.

You can report scams to us by contacting our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers selling household products – 27 May 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell household products.

This follows a number of reports from in and around the Harleston area on Wednesday of young men doorstep cold calling.

Some of the callers were claiming to be an ‘ex offender’ or that they had ‘recently left the army’, some were also carrying laminated sheets that they attempted to use as ID. The callers were carrying large holdall type bags or rucksacks containing a range of household products which they then attempt to sell to the resident.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

It is possible these doorstep cold callers could move onto other locations in Norfolk.

Anyone sighting these sellers or other doorstep cold callers in Norfolk should contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel intimidated or sight doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller claiming to be ‘from the Council’ – 26 May 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving a report of a doorstep cold caller in the Western Longville area.

In the incident a male cold called at a property claiming to be from 'the Council' and stated he needed to speak to the householder about 'unpaid Council Tax'.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property and remember:

  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door, if you can check through a spy hole, use a video doorbell or look and talk from a window to see who is there
  • Think about your home security, make sure other doors to your property are locked before answering the front door
  • If the person is offering services or trying to sell something politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or charity ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book, DO NOT use information on the ID, it could be fake
  • If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you can not verify it is genuine politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • As the cold caller leaves, if you can safely from inside your property watch and see:
    • Do they go to call at neighbouring properties?
    • Do they return to a vehicle, is it sign written, can you see the make, model, colour and registration plate?
    • Are they alone or working with others?
    • Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were calling and who they say they were representing – all of this information is very useful to Trading Standards and the Police when looking at Cold
    • Calling incidents

You can report doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

If you feel intimidated or sight doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers in the Hethersett area – 25 May 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving a report of three males doorstep cold calling in the Hethersett area.

In the incident a male cold called at a property stating he had 'important information for the householder’ while holding up a printed leaflet. When the resident asked to see the item the cold caller was holding he refused. At this point the resident closed the door and reported the incident to us. Two other males were also seen approaching other properties at the same time.

It is believed the same group of males were also cold calling at properties in the Hellesdon area later the same day.

You can report any further sightings of these males or any doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 24 May 2021

We are receiving reports of automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’.

During the call the message states that ‘BT have been trying to call you’ as they are ‘going to disconnect you due to unusual activity on your network’.

The message then states that you should ‘Press 1 to speak to an executive to resolve the issue’

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

BT provide an online reporting form for scam calls using their name, the form is available on the BT website and requests details including:

  • date and time of the call
  • phone number used to call you

You can also report suspicious calls received to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

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