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 – Fake parcel delivery text messages– 26 May 2022

We are continuing to receive reports of fake parcel delivery text messages which lead to bogus websites that attempts to gain personal information or take payments for ‘redelivery’.

Recent examples have included texts claiming to be from Royal Mail, EVRI, DPD and the Post Office.

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

If you receive these or similar texts 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 and scam 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 freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Spot the signs of holiday fraud – 25 May 2022

We are highlighting to Norfolk residents advice from Action Fraud to think twice before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays.

As travel restrictions become more relaxed, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, is warning the public to remain vigilant against holiday fraud when booking flights or accommodation online.

In the financial year 2021/22, Action Fraud received 4,244 reports of holiday and travel related fraud – a substantial increase of over 120% when compared to the previous financial year.

Victims reported losing a total of £7,388,353 – an average loss of £1,868 per victim.

Action Fraud offer the following top tips to avoid falling victim to holiday fraud:

  • Stay safe online: check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from.co.uk to .org.
  • Do your research: don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If a company is defrauding people, there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experience, and warnings about the company
  • Look for the logo: check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company's website. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online on their website
  • If you're booking a flight as part of a package holiday and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, visit the CAA website
  • Pay safe: wherever possible, pay by credit card. You should avoid paying directly into a private individual’s bank account
  • Check the paperwork: you should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up
  • Use your instincts: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You can get more advice on avoiding becoming a victim of holiday fraud on the ABTA website.

If you think you have been the victim of a fraud contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from HMRC – 24 May 2022

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

This follows recent reports of emails circulating claiming to be from HMRC and stating that the email is a ‘failed direct debit alert’. The email goes on to offer a link which goes to a fake version of the HMRC website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

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

You can forward suspicious HMRC emails to the HMRC phishing team at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘Ofgem’ – 23 May 2022

We are warning residents about email circulating claiming to be from Ofgem stating that the recipient is ‘eligible to apply for energy bill rebate’.

The message then goes on to say that ‘you have to apply for the energy bill rebate before June 01 2022’ and then offers an link to ‘get your rebate via Ofgem portal’.

If you receive this or a similar email it is a scam, do not click on any links.

Criminals are experts at creating spoof messages that then link to fake websites using official logos and branding of trusted organisations to trick you into taking urgent action without closer inspection.

If you think you’ve fallen for a scam message and provided financial details, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card.

Spotted a suspicious email? You can report it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service by forwarding the message to report@phishing.gov.uk

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers selling household products – 19 May 2022

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 the Brooke and Poringland areas on Wednesday of young men doorstep cold calling.

Some of the callers were claiming to be an ‘ex offender’ or that they had ‘been in trouble with the police’, and this work was part of their ‘improvement’. The callers were carrying large holdall type bags or rucksacks containing a range of household products including packaged kitchen knives, scissors, and cleaning products.

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.

Scam Alert – Scam Callers claiming to be Police Officers – 18 May 2022

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Constabulary for residents to be aware of telephone scammers pretending to be police officers after two Norfolk residents were targeted this week.

In the first incident a Norwich resident was persuaded to transfer £1,890 from their bank account. In the second incident a Downham Market resident was targeted but fortunately no money or financial details were transferred.

What is Courier Fraud?

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.

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.

Communities can help by ensuring they share warnings about this type of approach with neighbours, family and friends, particularly elderly relatives to ensure they are aware of these scams and the warning signs.

If you received this, or a similar type of telephone call, 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

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘Apple’ – 18 May 2022

We are warning iPhone users about text messages circulating claiming that ‘Apple Pay was deactivated on this device’ or that ‘Your Apple Pay has been suspended due to suspicious activity’.

The message then offers a link to ‘reactivate the account’

If you receive this or a similar text message it is a scam, do not click on any links.

Criminals are experts at creating spoof messages that then link to fake websites using official logos and branding of trusted organisations to trick you into taking urgent action without closer inspection.

Apple offer the following advice to iPhone users as signs to help spot an Apple Pay scam message

  • The phone number doesn’t say it’s from Apple
  • The link doesn’t send you to Apple website
  • The text sounds different from other messages you’ve received from Apple
  • The text is asking for personal information or banking information
  • The message is unsolicited and contains an attachment

You can report scam text messages received by forwarding it to 7726.

If you think you’ve fallen for a scam message and provided financial details, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one on the back of your bank card.

If you have received a text message which you believe to be a scam you can also 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’ – 17 May 2022

We are again 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 offer a ‘free loft insulation check’.

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

Information Alert – ‘Copycat’ websites – 16 May 2022

Copycat websites are those which offer services from Government Departments or Local Government but are not the official site and charge an additional fee over the genuine one for their ‘assistance’.

We are reminding Norfolk residents to continue to be aware of ‘copycat’ websites when looking to access official sites to apply or make payments for services.

Go to our 'copycat' page to find out more. 

Information Alert – Ticket Fraud – 12 May 2022

We are reminding Norfolk residents to be vigilant when purchasing tickets for events this summer.

Action Fraud report that during the 2021/22 financial year 4,982 people reported falling victim to ticket fraud, losing £3.8 million. In September 2021 they received 623 reports, the highest number s received since March 2020, as most festivals and events operated as usual for the first time since pre-pandemic.

Spot the signs of ticket fraud and protect yourself:

  • Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site
  • Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of fraud
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Is the vendor a member of STAR? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. See more information on buying tickets on the STAR website.

More information on ticket Fraud can be found on the Action Fraud website.

If you think you have been the victim of ticket fraud, contact your bank immediately. You can report scams to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling – 11 May 2022

We are reminding residents to be on their guard to doorstep cold calling even if they are displaying a No Cold Calling sticker.

We are asking residents to report all doorstep cold calling incidents to us, especially if their property is displaying a No Cold Calling door sticker of any type. We are also offering the following advice:

  • 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 or look 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 to Norfolk Constabulary on 101. If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

If you would like one of our No Cold Calling door stickers call the Norfolk County Council customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.

Why not consider setting up a No Cold Calling Zone in your community? You can find out more about our scheme at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Information Alert - Home repairs or improvements? Make sure you #CHECK – 10 May 2022

Is the warmer weather turning your thoughts to planning work on your home or garden?

We are reminding consumers to think #CHECK when choosing a tradesman or business for the job.

  • Compare – Use Norfolk Trusted Trader and get three quotes
  • History – Ask for the traders’ references, recommendations and reviews and make sure you check them out
  • Establish the details – What is being done, by Who, by When and for How much?
  • Contract – Ensure everything is recorded
  • Keep all of the paperwork - This may be needed should anything go wrong

Scam Alert - Lottery scams - 9 May 2022

We are advising residents to be wary of callers claiming they have won a lottery or prize draw.

Criminals will contact unsuspecting victims informing them they have won a sum of money or a prize. The victim is then informed that they will need to pay an advance fee in order to receive their winnings. In reality the winnings are non-existent, and it is an attempt to steal the victim’s money, personal or financial information.

Some victims reported providing their bank details thinking they would be sent a small payment to verify the account. Criminals will use these details to steal the victim’s money.

The Action Fraud website advises that the public follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep themselves safe from fraud:

  • Stop: Unsolicited offers of large sums of money in return for a small upfront payment should always raise a red flag. Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? Remember, you can’t win a prize in a competition you didn’t enter. It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040

The Gambling commission website also has advice on how to gamble safely. They advise to check that the business has a gambling license and that they are on the public register.

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

Information Alert – Checks when booking a holiday – 9 May 2022

Longing to book your next holiday? Be wary of deals or offers that seem too good to be true.

Remember to #TakeFive before parting with your hard-earned cash, as some deals that are advertised online may not be all they seem.

Stay ahead of the criminals by following our tips:

  • Read online reviews from reputable sources to check websites are genuine
  • Only use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers
  • If possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

If you have visited a website you think is suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre website using their ‘report a suspicious website’ form.

If you think you have been the victim of an online scam you can report this to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fake competitions on Facebook – 5 May 2022

We are advising residents to think twice before sharing competitions on Facebook after again receiving reports of fake Facebook pages claiming to be associated with ‘Center Parcs’ offering free holidays at their UK sites.

The pages have been set up by scammers for ‘like-farming’, using interaction to harvest personal data.

Before liking a page or sharing a post, especially a big business like Center Parcs, check if it has a blue tick. This means the page has been verified by Facebook. You can also look at the Page transparency to see when it was created. The real Center Parcs Facebook page was created in August 2010. Fake page will often have been created more recently.

Don’t just look at the competition post. Look at the page history, and the other posts on the page. Does it look genuine?

If you come across a fake page on Facebook, report it by going to the page and tap *** from the top right and select “Give feedback or report this Page”. Select “Scams and Fake Pages”.
Fake promotions or competitions on Facebook typically urge users to either engage with a Facebook post (e.g. share and comment) to win a prize or click a link to claim a prize. Or possibly both.

Our recommendation is to never interact with these types of Facebook posts.

Center Parcs UK state they are not connected with these pages in anyway and that there are no genuine site location specific Facebook pages.

If you think you have been the victim of an online scam you can report this to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert – Council Tax rebate scams – 4 May 2022

We are again warning residents to continue to be aware of scam contacts claiming to be relating to Council Tax rebates.

Following the announcement of the £150 Government rebate against Council Tax on band A to D properties scammers have been using cold calls, text messages and emails to exploit the situation.

Often these contacts claim that:

  • You need to update or confirm personal and financial information to receive your rebate payment
  • You need to make a small payment to ‘authorise your bank details’ before receiving your rebate payment
  • You risk losing your rebate payment without giving bank account details

Remember, if you currently pay your Council Tax by direct debit and you are eligible for the rebate the payment will be made automatically to the account connected to your direct debit.

If you receive a cold call claiming to be from your council asking for bank details for council tax payments over the phone hang up.

If you receive an email or text message claiming you need to update personal or financial information do not click on any links in the message.

If you need to confirm a contact about council tax is genuine, or you have any other council tax queries, contact your local council directly.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Ministry of Justice’ – 3 May 2022

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from the ‘Ministry of Justice’ after a Norfolk resident was targeted this week.

During the call, which had been spoofed to appear to come from a genuine number used by the Ministry of Justice, the resident was told that there were ‘five tax offences against them’ that were ‘due to be heard in court today’. The caller then stated that ‘once the call was put on hold’ the resident would then be ‘transferred live to the court case’ unless they settled the case immediately over the phone.

The cold caller then attempted to get the resident to pay fees to settle the ‘tax case’ along with a number of other costs including court and barrister fees.

We always advise people to be very wary of claims made during telephone cold calls. If you receive this or a similar call it is not genuine. Do not interact with the call and hang up immediately.

HMRC offer advice on recognising and reporting scams relating to tax on the GOV.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 – Doorstep cold callers in the Wymondham area – 3 May 2022

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

This follows the report of a male cold calling at properties offering driveway repairs and maintenance work.

You can report 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

Information Alert – Lifting of poultry housing measures across the UK on 2 May 2022 – 28 April 2022

Plans have been announced to lift poultry and other captive birds housing measures across the UK from 00:01 on Monday 2 May 2022 unless you are if you are within a 3km Protection Zone.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone mandatory biosecurity measures will remain in place for all birds.

If you intend to allow your birds outside after 2 May, you must take action now to prepare the outside areas. Find out more information about poultry housing measures lifting on the GOV.UK website

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

Scam Alert – Fake NHS ‘book a home test kit’ messages– 28 April 2022

We are receiving reports of text messages and emails circulating claiming to be from the NHS. They say ‘you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive’, and you need to ‘book a home test kit’.

These messages are a scam. Anyone clicking on the link will be taken to a fake version of the NHS website, which will attempt to gather personal details and then take card details to ‘cover postage and packing’.

If you receive this, or a similar text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. You will not be charged for sending texts to this number.

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

Consumer Alert – Remote access fraud – 27 April 2022

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from organisations such as banks or service providers stating that there are issues with your accounts.

The call can be a recorded message or an individual that asks you to confirm your account information. Often the calls are looking to seek remote access to your accounts to gather personal or financial details or attempt to take ‘missed’ payments or move money to a ‘secure’ account.

If you receive one of these calls do not press any keys or provide any personal information and hang up.

Read more information on remote access fraud on the Action Fraud website

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

Consumer Alert – Buying and selling online – 26 April 2022

Remember the #TakeFive message when looking for deals online.

We have received a report of a Norfolk resident falling victim to a scam when selling their mobile phone online. The resident posted their phone to the buyer only to receive a fake PayPal email and no payment.

If you are buying or selling high value items online, make sure you are using reputable selling platforms with official payment channels. Be extra cautious if you are asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account or are parting with your items before receiving any payment.

Be scam savvy by reading online reviews to ensure websites are genuine and use the payment methods recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites.

Where possible, use a credit card for purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act.

Read more information on how to protect yourself from financial fraud on the #TakeFive website

If you think you have been the victim of an online scam you can report this to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fake clothing charities – 25 April 2022

We have received a report from a Norfolk resident who has received a clothing collection service leaflet through their door which could be misleading.

The leaflet requests donations of clothing, footwear, toys and cosmetics, however the business is not a registered charity.

We are advising residents looking to donate their unwanted items to charity to thoroughly read any collection service leaflets that they receive to ensure that they understand who they are donating to.

All genuine charities are registered with the Charities Commission and can be searched on the GOV.UK website

If you receive any service leaflets through your door which are misleading you can report them to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering to ‘clear rubbish and lay gravel’ – 20 April 2022

We are warning residents after receiving reports of a man doorstep cold calling in the Bradwell area.

In the incident a resident was cold called at their property by a man who offered to clear rubbish from their garden and then lay gravel on the area. Having undertaken a small amount of work the man then attempted to charge the resident more than £1,000.

We advise:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake 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 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 commencing the work

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

If you feel intimidated or sight a cold caller 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

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.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls asking you to take part in a “survey from for your water provider” – 20 April 2022

We are raising awareness after a resident was asked to respond to a survey from their water provider.

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.

Local provider, Anglian Water advise that they do not cold call using a survey team or collect feedback this way but customers are written to, they do not cold call to take personal details.

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.

See helpful advice on scams and bogus callers on the Anglia Water website.

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

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 20 April 2022

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 threaten ‘immediate arrest if you do not respond by pressing 1’.
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 report suspected scam telephone calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 20 April 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 and 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 and 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.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding applications for benefits – 20 April 2022

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls regarding applications for benefit allowance.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call recently during which the cold caller stated he was calling to confirm their application for benefits had been approved. The resident had not applied to receive benefits and so hung up and reported the call to us as a potential scam.

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

If you need advice about cold calling or have agreed to a visit during a cold call, contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Scams taking advantage of the Ukraine crisis – 14 April 2022

We are warning Norfolk residents as we have become aware that fraudsters are attempting to take advantage of people’s generosity during the crisis in Ukraine. They are doing this by re-adjusting old familiar style scams.

Examples are: 

  • Texts with content similar to the “Nigerian Letter” scam. Fraudsters asking for monies to release frozen funds in bank accounts or just blatant attempts to steal your personal or bank details
  • Fake websites with links that if clicked on, download malware to steal personal information or bank details
  • Emails very similar to the “romance scams” showing a stolen photograph with pleas of help to send funds for flights, visas, and support for grandparents
  • Cryptocurrency scams with sites listing addresses for Bitcoin and Ethereum for Ukraine donations which never reach anything other than criminals accounts

We are raising awareness and issuing the usual advise to make thorough checks.

All genuine charities are registered with the Charities Commission and those that are supporting the Ukraine crisis can be found by searching the charity register on the GOV.UK website.

Cold Calling Alert – Investment wine scam – 12 April 2022

We have seen a rise of reports in “cloned company” style investment scams this month. These are clever scams using fake paperwork, emails, and even mirrored websites from known investors.

The language and terms used in this correspondence can convince you that these are genuine investment opportunities, when they are nothing more that a disguise for ruthless scammers.

Obvious signs are:

  • You are contacted by phone, email, or through your social media about an investment plan without any previous knowledge of the opportunity
  • You see adverts within your social media feeds, maybe they are celebrity endorsed, offering high returns on any investment made
  • You feel highly pressurised into deciding with no time to consider the investment
  • You’re offered a high return on your investment with apparently little or no risk
  • You’re told the investment opportunity is exclusive to you

Make sure you do your own research before making investments. Don’t be persuaded into releasing funds into anything which you are unfamiliar with before doing this first. If you are unsure of provenance of a company, contact Companies House to check the status. Companies House telephone number is 0303 123 4500.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone calls holiday offers – 12 April 2022

Norfolk residents are being targeted and persuaded to pay for holidays that often will not materialise. They have been called at their homes by telephone and offered a holiday that sounded fantastic such as flights and hotels for a group of people in places like Florida for only a few hundred pounds. They have been pressurised into agreeing for the holidays by the high-pressure sales tactics used such as keeping them on the phone for long periods of time. The people who have been affected are often older people and are left confused and unable to recall what they were told and agreed to. They are often only given a telephone number to contact the company. The numbers given are not UK phone numbers and the reports received are that they have been unable to cancel the holidays and obtain a refund.

Unfortunately, once someone has been targeted and has lost money to a scam their details often get sold on which means they are inundated by scam mailings and calls.

If you are contacted and offered a fantastic holiday opportunity, we have this advice:

  • Do not sign or agree to anything straight away. Ask for a few days to go over the paperwork or what you have been told so you can make an informed decision
  • Find out if the company has any cancellation rights and if these are written down
  • Ensure everything that was promised to you is confirmed in writing before handing over any payment details

If you care for an older or vulnerable person you can take the following steps to help protect them from scams:

  • Be Alert - look for warning signs such as the person receiving a lot of junk mail or unsolicited calls, suddenly becoming secretive regarding their finances, or if you start to notice a lot of new cheap-looking goods in their house
  • Offer advice - people are often too embarrassed to admit they have fallen for a scam so try to reassure them rather than criticise them. It is also helpful if you talk to them about correspondence they receive and offer advice such as not replying straight away to offers, speaking to someone they trust first and never giving anyone their personal details even if they claim they only want to confirm them
  • Get Help - even if the person is reluctant to talk about it, it is important you do not give up trying to help as often the scammer will not stop until the victim’s money has run out

If you or anyone you care for has or been scammed contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – QR codes – 12 April 2022

QR also known as “Quick Response” codes is a square barcode designed to be read by the camera incorporated into a smart phone or tablet. Growth in the comfortability in using these has become apparent since the start of the pandemic when services and businesses did their very best to keep others safe. With this rise in use, we are alerting residents that fraudsters are also using this convenient method to dupe people into being scammed.

Scammers have taken the advantage of the fact that you can’t tell whether it is a fake or genuine QR code just by looking at it. The usual spelling mistakes and errors found frequently in the usual scams can’t be identified, therefore be aware that bank fraud and identity theft can be taken through this way in: 

  • Direct emails and texts
  • Social media
  • Cafes, shops and pubs

Exercise caution:

  • Think hard first before you scan a QR code. Always check who is asking you to carry out this task. If they are asking for a payment, there should be other options to pay available, and if you are suspicious, take advantage of these alternative options
  • If you see one in a restaurant affixed to a table and you are uncomfortable with it, confirm it with the restaurant’s staff before you use it. Check that it hasn’t been over-stickered with a different code
  • Still act with caution if you are sent one from a familiar source, scammers could have identified you as a victim through previous attacks and that you would be vulnerable to a further phishing attack

If you been the victim of a barcode scam, you can report it via our partners, Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Scam Alert – Free Chocolate Easter Egg Scams – 7 April 2022

We are reminding Norfolk residents to be aware of a fake Easter egg scams that have been circulating on social media.

You must avoid clicking on links contained in messages from WhatsApp, Telegram or other media claiming to offer free Easter chocolate. The fraudsters have been circulating these that include a tempting picture of an easter egg with “free gifts for you” and “free Easter chocolate basket”

The first thing to note is that the scammers have used “TinyURL”, this is a facility that enables web addresses to be shortened to something more manageable. However, this means they can also disguise where the site derives from. The message also ends in .ru, suggesting a Russian based website.

The scam has not just been circulating around Norfolk, it has been seen across the whole country in the past few days. It is a "phishing" scam, the sole purpose is an attempt to get personal data from the people who click it, subsequently resulting in identity theft and fraud.

Information received explains how the scam works. Most of the site doesn’t work. If you do click on a working link it will take to a short quiz, after these questions you are invited to find your prize through a game and then submit your personal information.

Our partners, Citizens Advice have an online scams helper. This will give you advice which is specific and will be helpful to your situation. 

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