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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 – WhatsApp ‘family member’ scam messages – 21 October 2021

We are warning residents to be aware of WhatsApp messages where scammers attempt to impersonate family members to steal money.

A Norfolk resident contacted BBC Radio Norfolk after receiving a WhatsApp message which said ‘Hello Mum. Just changed my number so you can contact me from here now so you can save it and delete my old number‘.

Believing it to be her daughter the resident changed the number in her phone. The following day the resident then received further messages via WhatsApp saying that due to having the new phone she couldn’t access her bank account and needed to pay an invoice for £1,500.

At this point the resident became more suspicious and contacted her daughter via her original number to find out her daughter knew nothing about this and hadn’t changed her phone number.

Our advice if you receive a message like this is always be suspicious, especially if a request for money is involved, and try and contact the person who the message claims to be from via another known number or method.

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

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 19 October 2021

We are warning about text messages circulating claiming to be from DVLA.

One recent example states ‘DVLA: We recalculated £48.84 is due’ followed by a link ‘to claim your refund’.

This text 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 text messages 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
  • 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 and delete the text straight away
  • 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
  • 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 and delete the email immediately

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

News Alert – Friends Against Scams – 18 October 2021

Friends Against Scams is five years old.

Are you #ScamAware?

Do you know how to protect your loved ones from scams?

Head over to www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk to learn more and join the thousands of people already taking a stand against scams!

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling gravel – 18 October 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of cold callers offering to lay gravel on driveways in the King’s Lynn area.

In the incident a resident was cold called at their property by a male offering gravel. An initial cost was quoted, which was agreed by the resident, but after the gravel was laid an invoice was given for a much higher fee.

We advise:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to do work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or gardens even if they are offering to do tasks for free or a small fee
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before starting the work

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

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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘garden work’ – 14 October 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of four men doorstep cold calling in the Dereham area offering ‘garden work’.

Our advice is never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity in Norfolk can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

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

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 14 October 2021

We are continuing to warn residents to be aware of telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation following further reports this week.

During these calls a range of claims have been made including:

  • That ‘old loft insulation is likely to be causing condensation and mould’
  • That they are 'currently in your area and need to arrange for an insulation expert to visit your property’
  • That ‘Government grants may be available’

Often the cold caller will then attempted to gather personal information including home ownership status and make an appointment for a home visit.

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 – Telephone cold calls claiming you are ‘due compensation’ – 13 October 2021

We are warning residents to be aware of telephone calls claiming you are ‘due compensation’.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received one of these calls. During the call the caller asked if the resident ‘had solar panels’ and after the resident confirmed they did the cold call stated that ‘due to mis selling’ the resident was due compensation.

The cold caller then claimed that they needed to take payment of a fee to ‘release the compensation’, at this point the resident ended the call and reported the incident to us.

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.

We also advise to be extremely wary of anyone claiming they need to take an upfront payment to access a payment due to you.

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

Scam Alert – International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery Letters – 11 October 2021

We are warning residents to be vigilant for letters claiming to be from the ‘International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery’. This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a letter claiming they had won ‘a lump sum of £825,000’ and providing details to enable them to ‘begin your claim’.

These letters are a scam and no prize is available. Anyone who makes contact via the details supplied will be persuaded to part with personal details and money as part of an ‘upfront processing fee’.

If you receive this type of letter dispose of it without responding in any way.

Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid lottery scams:

  • If you haven’t entered a lottery then you can’t have won it. Never respond to unexpected communications
  • Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UK’s National Lotto. No official lotteries that we know of contact people who know nothing about the lottery to tell them of their win
  • We don’t know of any official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings. Any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to scam you
  • Never disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance to claim a lottery win
  • If they’ve provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious of addresses such as @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com or numbers beginning with 07 because these are free to get hold of
  • Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity. If they ask you to keep your win a secret, it’s likely to be a scam
  • Many examples of lottery scam letters have bad spelling and grammar – see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work

Scam Alert – ‘Free Trial Offer’ adverts – 11 October 2021

Watch out for ‘free trial offers’ being promoted via social media and online adverts.

Common examples of ‘free’ trail offers include skin care products, slimming pills and nutritional supplements.

Consumers report that when responding to an online advert offering a ‘Free Trial’ they were then asked to give credit or debit card details believing that there is only a small charge to cover postage and packaging.

However, if they failed to cancel the “Free Trial Offer” within a set period they may have unknowingly agreed to an ongoing supply of the product, with a monthly charge which is taken directly from their account. Consumers have reported monthly payments ranging between £50 and £300.

"Free Trial Scams: Women aged 50 to 64* are most at risk from free trial scams for health and beauty products such as slimming pills, face creams and skin creams. #scamaware. Information from 'Locked in' a report on consumer issues with free-trial scams produced by Citizens Advice."

If you have responded to one of these offers and need further advice, contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller selling furniture – 8 October 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a doorstep cold caller trying to sell furniture.

This follows an incident today where a man cold called at a property in the Reepham area claiming he had a range of furniture to sell. The man was seen to be driving a sign-written white Mercedes Sprinter van.

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

Anyone sighting doorstep sellers 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 spot doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘PPI refunds’ – 7 October 2021

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning about telephone cold calls making claims that you are due a ‘refund for PPI charges’.

This follows an incident where a Norfolk resident received a call where the caller claimed they required personal details in order to initiate a refund for PPI.

Fortunately the resident ended the call and reported to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Trading Standards advises always be very wary of claims made during telephone cold calls and never agree to buy items, services or to an unknown person visiting your home during one.

Also be especially wary of claims, however received, that you are due money for a refund or prize win which you have to pay to access. This is often a clear hallmark of a scam.

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.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 6 October 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 – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 4 October 2021

We have had further reports this week about telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’.

These calls are NOT GENUINE. BT will never cold call and ask for bank details or payment card numbers to confirm your identity.

If you receive this or a similar call our advice is DO NOT give or confirm any details, press any buttons or allow remote access to computer equipment and hang up.

You can report scam calls claiming to be from BT on the BT 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 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls offering warranty for washing machines – 3 October 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls from an individual stating that your washing machine warranty has expired and needs extending.

The cold caller attempts to gather personal and financial details from the call recipient.

If you receive this or a similar call our advice is DO NOT give or confirm any details and hang up.

If you want to check on warranty details of any goods within your home, contact the business where you purchased the item directly via their official website or phone number.

An article published by Which? gives further advice on receiving unwanted calls about appliance cover which can be found on the Which? website.

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

Scam Alert - Fake listings on Facebook marketplace – 1 October 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be vigilant when buying second-hand goods online after receiving a report that an individual has lost over £300 after responding to a fake Facebook Marketplace advert.

The resident believed they were purchasing an iPhone from the seller who would post the item to their home after the money had been paid via bank transfer. However, once the money had been transferred the resident was unable to make further contact with the seller and the item did not arrive.

We are advising residents to be cautious when purchasing items using second hand selling sites, especially if you are asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account or told that the item will be delivered to you after payment has been received. We recommend to never pay for an item in full before seeing it in person.

If you think you have been the victim of an online scam or you have seen a suspicious advert online you can report this to Trading Standards via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers claiming issues with properties’ roofs – 30 September 2021

We've had reports of a doorstep cold caller in the North Walsham area.

A resident was having his gutters cleaned and was called outside by the cleaners to be told he needed a whole new roof. They said they would do it for £20, 000. The report said the cleaners were very pushy demanding a lot of money for the gutter work after they said they had finished.

Our advice is:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to do work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or garden even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property, only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls posing as “Postcode Lottery” – 29 September 2021

We have received new reports of telephone cold calls from callers who say they are from the “Postcode Lottery” or the “People’s Lottery”. The caller starts by telling the receiver that they have won a cash sum and a holiday. The caller goes on to ask for a payment or bank details to enable them to release the prizes. The People‘s Postcode Lottery have said that they would never ask for any payment from you to claim your prize. They also remind customers of key warning signs:

  • You cannot win a lottery unless you have entered. You must be a player of the People’s Postcode Lottery to win a prize with them
  • Legitimate lotteries don’t ask you to pay taxes, custom fees, insurance shipping, handling fees, etc, before you can receive your “winnings”
  • Scammers often ask their targets to send money upfront to them by money transfer

Do not engage with these callers. Hang up and if you are a customer of the Peoples Postcode Lottery and are unsure, call their freephone 0808 109 8765 and they will be happy to help.

If you need general advice about telephone cold calling from callers saying they are from lotteries or you have received a cold call, contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails from “Inheritance Lawyers” – 29 September 2021

We are reminding Norfolk consumers of a variation of the above scam which is usually conducted by letter. You may receive an email containing the following content or similar, “Good Day” or other greetings “I am the attorney to your late relative” (no specific name details are given) “Now, I am contacting you for the claim of your late relative(s)”

Following on from this is a link option to click on aiming to get your personal information such as birth certificates or passport numbers. This will leave you open to identity theft.

These emails are scams and the links should not be followed.

The following are easy ways to spot an inheritance scam email:

  • The amount of money on offer will usually be extremely large as a temptation for you to act on the email
  • The usual obvious indications that it is a scam are present, bad grammar and spelling errors
  • Look out for webmail addresses such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. They are freely available making them easy to set up and equally easy to shut down
  • Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as plane crashes and natural disasters. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident

If you receive this, or a similar email, just delete it. Do not reply to addresses given or click on the link.

If you have received an email 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.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering gardening work in the Hellesdon area – 23 September 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving a report of a cold caller offering gardening work in the Hellesdon area.

In the incident, a man cold called a resident claiming he had been working at a neighbouring property and offered to trim hedges. The resident declined the offer and asked the cold caller to leave. The cold caller was seen to return to a red van.

Our advice is never deal with doorstep cold callers or agree to have work done on or around your property if approached in this way.

Anyone spotting these cold callers in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police via 101.

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

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 – Be alert for bogus energy salespeople – 23 September 2021

With energy price hikes hitting the news, we are warning residents to be alert to bogus energy salespeople.

Fraudsters are experts at using the latest headlines to give themselves credibility. The news that the price of gas has soared in recent weeks creates a window of opportunity for scammers to con unsuspecting customers into handing over their bank details.

Fraudsters could attempt to cold call households pretending to be well known energy suppliers. The scammers will then attempt to convince consumers to 'switch' supplier and, if they agree, ask for their bank details.

Other risks include face-to-face 'salespeople' knocking on doors and pretending they are there to help customers switch providers and, again, taking bank details.

To protect yourself following these tips:

  • Don’t respond to any cold calls, no matter what claims they are making
  • Never give out your bank details or give or confirm your personal details if approached in this manner
  • Never click on links in an email. Check the email address it has come from

For advice and to report rogue traders, contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling household products – 23 September 2021

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

This follows reports this week from residents in the Brundall, Blofiled, Ingham, Hemsby, Ormesby, Caister and Burgh Castle areas of young men doorstep cold calling.

These cold callers will often claim to be 'ex offenders' who are part of a 'youth offending scheme' or that they have 'recently left the army' and will attempt to sell household products from large bags or rucksacks they are carrying.

It is likely that there could be several of these sellers within an area and they may move onto other locations in Norfolk

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

Anyone spotting 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 spot doorstep cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘gas contracts’ – 22 September 2021

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls regarding ‘gas contracts’.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call this week during which the cold caller stated he was ‘your local energy advisor’ before attempting to engage with the resident about gas pricing and contracts.

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

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘free insulation assessments’– 16 September 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Old Catton area claiming to be offering ‘a free assessment of the properties’ insulation’.

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

Anyone concerned about doorstep cold calling in Norfolk can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding appliance warrantees or insurance – 16 September 2021

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

Commonly, during these calls the caller will state that you have an existing policy which is about to end for which they offer to renew, often for a cheaper price if you do so during this call. They will then attempt to gather personal and financial information to complete the sale.

In some cases residents have received multiple calls in quick succession, or the caller states that you have already agreed to the policy in a previous call and they are calling to complete the transaction.

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 freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails offering your ‘COVID 19 Travel Certificate’ – 10 September 2021

We are warning residents about emails circulating claiming to be a link to access your ‘COVID-19 travel certificate’.

The email offers two links - one confirming and one rejecting the ‘invitation’. Both links lead to a well-presented fake version of the NHS website which attempts to gather personal details and take payment for the certificate.

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

More information on the NHS COVID Pass can be found on the GOV.UK website.

If you receive this, or a similar email you can report it by forwarding the original email to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think you have responded to a scam email and provided any financial details, contact your bank immediately.

Report all scams to us via 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls from ‘train station’ – 8 September 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be alert to telephone cold calls from an individual claiming to be from ‘Brixton Station’.

The caller states that they need to confirm the resident's credit card details.

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.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls from ‘insurance company’ – 7 September 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be alert to telephone cold calls from an individual claiming to be from an insurance company.

The caller states that the resident owes the company money and requests card details in order to process the payment.

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.

Scam Alert – Instagram messages asking to borrow money – 5 September 2021

We are warning Instagram users to be aware of messages sent to their direct message inbox which ask to borrow money.

The message will give a reason as to why the money is needed ‘urgently’ and will assure that the money will be returned. The message will often be followed by further messages attempting to pressure the recipient into sending the money.

These messages may be sent from accounts you do not recognise or from existing friends accounts which have been hacked by Fraudsters.

If you receive this or a similar message our advice is do not interact with the message and delete it. If it appears to be sent from a friend, contact them via another route and inform them that their Instagram account may have been compromised.

You can find out more about keeping your Instagram account secure, including activating Login Alerts and Two-Factor Authorisation at the Instagram Help Centre.

Scam Alert – Scam inheritance letter – 4 September 2021

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving a letter from a ‘bank in Hong Kong’ offering them the opportunity to receive inheritance from an estate. The letter claimed to relate to the estate of the resident’s husband.

We have received similar reports regarding scam inheritance letters in the past. The letters often request that the recipient contacts the sender by email so that the funds can be released to them.

These letters are scams and the instructions should not be followed.

The following are easy ways to spot an inheritance scam letter:

  • The amount of money on offer and the percentage claimed that is available to you will be extremely large
  • Letters/documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written with spelling mistakes and poor grammar
  • Look out for webmail addresses such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. They are freely available making them easy to set up and equally easy to shut down
  • Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as a plane crash or natural disaster. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident

If you receive this, or a similar letter, just recycle it after obliterating your details printed on the letter. Do not reply with personal details.

If you have received a letter 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.

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