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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 – Fake HMRC text – 2 July 2020

We are warning about text messages circulating claiming to be from ‘HMRC’ stating ‘You’re still due an outstanding tax refund’. The text asks you to verify your information by clicking a link.

These text messages are fake. HMRC do not send text messages or emails about tax refunds. It is also likely that there will be a several versions of this message circulating quoting different amounts.

If you receive this or a similar text message, delete it without clicking on any links.

If you have received a text message 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.

Consumer Alert – Email scam ‘HMRC National Insurance tax refund’ – 30 June 2020

Beware of these fake national insurance refund emails.

The message informs the recipient that according to their National Insurance contributions, they are eligible for a tax refund as part of measures to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The link goes to a page which requests the banking details of the user which sends the data to fraudsters.

If you receive the email do not click on the link.

To report scam emails, forward the original message to report@phishing.gov.uk. An automated system run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will scan the email, and if malicious links are found, the associated website will be taken down.

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

Report all scams to us via our partners at the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller offering ‘garden work’ – 30 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after we have received reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Sprowston area offering gardening services.

The cold caller offered to carry out gardening work for a Sprowston resident for £800. The resident haggled the price down to £400, however the cold caller carried out minimal work and left within an hour.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to do work on or around your property.

When looking to have work done, only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself. Our Norfolk Trusted Trader directory contains Traders you can trust with feedback from their customers www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader

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

Scam Alert - Fake listings for caravans and motorhomes on auction sites – 29 June 2020

Due to travel restrictions and the loss of holidays overseas during the pandemic, there has been a shift in planning for a 'staycation'. This has led to people purchasing caravans and motorhomes for use when government guidelines permit. The increase in demand has been exploited by criminals advertising fake listings for caravans and motorhomes on auction sites citing lockdown restrictions as the reason vehicles can’t be viewed in person.

Vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to tempt people into believing they’re getting a good deal, when in reality they simply don’t exist or don’t arrive once paid for. Payments are usually requested via bank transfer as opposed to using a recommended secure payment method. However, recently criminals are requesting the buyer pays using PayPal. The criminal then fails to send a PayPal invoice, at which point the buyer is contacted by someone pretending to be a representative from PayPal and receives a reference and bank account number for payment to be made into. Ultimately, the buyer doesn’t receive their goods as payment has been made into an account controlled by a criminal so customers should be on the lookout for scams.

If it seems too good to be true, it usually is!

Do your research, and don't part with your cash until you are sure the deal is genuine!

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

Scam Alert – Cold caller offering loft insulation – 30 June 2020

We are warning Kings Lynn residents to be on their guard after we have received reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Brancaster area offering loft insulation.

A male cold called a local resident and stated they had installed insulation at the property 20 years ago which would now need replacing. The male advised that the material would have broken down and left areas of the loft exposed and uninsulated. The resident declined this service and the male left. The male was driving a blue BMW.

Our advice to residents is:

  • Never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to undertake work on or around your property
  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door
  • 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

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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Cold Calling Incidents – 23 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after a number of cold calling incident have been reported in the Norfolk area.

A resident in Poringland received a phone call offering servicing and cleaning of their solar panels. The caller arranged to visit the property the next day and requested access to the resident’s roof space in order to inspect their inverter. The resident was informed that they required a new inverter and warranty for £1500. The resident refused and the trader left.

The second incident occurred in Hellesdon and involved an individual offering gardening work. The cold caller has reportedly visited several areas of Hellesdon in the last few days, has cold called at a number of properties and approached residents outside their properties. The male is described in some reports as 'persistent' and 'verbally aggressive' when his offer of work is turned down. He has been seen to be using a red van and charging high prices for work.

The area of Diss has seen several incidents of two males cold calling residents’ homes offering roof insulation. The males show ID badges which do not have photo identification and state they are working in relation to a Government funded scheme. The males request access to the loft space and have been seen to take photos of properties. The males are driving a black BMW with blacked out windows.

In Felthorpe a male has cold called a local resident offering central heating installation in relation to a government grant. The male requested access to the resident’s property in order to inspect their radiators which was declined.

In Briston a resident has reported a smartly dressed male aged between 25-30 who called at their property offering advice to business owners on available grants.

We always 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 gardens 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

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 selling gravel – 23 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving two reports of cold callers offering gravel for sale in Norfolk.

The first report is from a Tittleshall resident who was cold called by a male offering a gravel for sale from his truck. The resident declined this, however later received an invoice through their door with bank account details to make payment for the value of £575.

The second report is from a Wormegay resident who has also received a cold call from a male selling gravel.

We always 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 gardens 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

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.

Information Alert – Home Repairs or Improvements? Make sure you #CHECK – 22 June 2020

If the warm weather has got you thinking about sorting out the garden or arranging home improvement work, Norfolk Trading Standards are reminding consumers to think #CHECK when choosing a tradesman or business for the job.

Scam Alert – Phone call claiming to be insurance company – 21 June 2020

We have received a report of a Norfolk resident being cold called by a female claiming to be calling from their ‘boiler insurance company’. The caller used the residents name and stated they were offering a reduction in price for customers over 60.

The caller asked the resident for personal information, including date of birth and bank account details. When the resident refused to provide this information and ended the call, they then received a second call from a male stating to be a manager from the same company.

These calls are not genuine and are likely to be used to gain valuable personal information. If you receive a call from someone you pay on a regular basis, but cannot confirm that it is a genuine contact, hang up and contact the organisation on a number printed on official correspondence such as a recent bill, their website or app.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls from ‘Mastercard’ and ‘Visa’ claiming that ‘you are required to authorise a payment’ – 19 June 2020

We are receiving reports about telephone cold calls delivering a recorded message claiming to be from Mastercard and Visa. The incoming number displays the Norwich area code of 01603. The message states that you are ‘required to authorise a payment’ and then gives the instruction to ‘press 1 to authorise a payment of £600 for an order placed 15 minutes ago’.

These calls are not genuine and are likely to be used to seek remote access to computers, gather personal, account or financial details.

If you receive one of these calls do not press any keys if prompted and hang up.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers claiming to be from organisations or charities – 18 June 2020

We are reminding residents to be on their guard against doorstep cold callers, even if they claim to be from well-known organisations or charities.

Recently the ongoing COVID-19 situation has led to reports of doorstep cold callers claiming to be offering help to vulnerable residents or calling for health-related reasons.

We are continuing to ask 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 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 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. In an emergency 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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘British Gas’ – 16 June 2020

We are warning about emails claiming to be from British Gas which are circulating again.

One recent example, which included the recipient's email address within the greeting, claimed that ‘we sent you a gas bill for £21.21 and we still haven’t received payment’ before going on to detail a range of charges which could be made along with a link to ‘Pay us online now’.

These emails are not from British Gas and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the British Gas website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details. There are likely to be several versions of this email in circulation quoting different amounts.

If you are concerned for the status of an online account log in to it only using a web address from a bill or statement which you have entered into your web browser or using a genuine app. Never use links in unexpected emails.

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

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 15 June 2020

We are warning about text messages circulating claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ stating ‘After annual calculations’ you are owed an amount from ‘overpayments’. The text goes on to offer a link to ‘claim your refund’.

These text messages are fake. DVLA do not send text messages or emails about vehicle tax refunds. It is also likely that there will be a several versions of this message circulating quoting different amounts.

If you receive this or a similar text message delete it without clicking on any links.

If you have received a text message 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 ‘roofing work’ – 15 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard following a cold calling incident in Norfolk this week involving roofing work.

The incident occurred in the Wisbech area and involved a man cold calling a local resident and stating that their guttering and flat roof needed repairs.

Having accessed the flat roof, the cold caller then claimed that additional work was needed on the flat roof including ‘specialist materials’. He then persuaded the resident to hand over a large amount of money for these materials and left the property.

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 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

It is possible this doorstep cold caller could move on to other areas around Norfolk.

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 Constabulary via 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘driveway work’ – 12 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after received reports of doorstep cold callers in the Hellesdon area offering driveways services.

Our advice is to never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to do work on or around your property. It is possible these cold callers could move on to other areas within Norfolk.

Anyone concerned about doorstep cold calling activity in Norfolk can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming ‘your internet service will be terminated’ – 11 June 2020

We are again receiving reports about telephone cold calls delivering a recorded message claiming to be from ‘your Internet service provider’ stating that ‘your internet service will be terminated within 24 hours’. It then gives the instruction to ‘press 1 to speak to a service manager’.

These calls are not genuine and are likely to be used to seek remote access to computers, gather personal, account or financial details or attempt to take ‘missed’ payments.

If you receive one of these calls do not press any keys if prompted and hang up.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers offering ‘roofing work’ – 15 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard following a cold calling incident in Norfolk this week involving roofing work.

The incident occurred in the Wisbech area and involved a male cold calling a local resident and stating that their guttering and flat roof needed repairs.

Having accessed the flat roof the cold caller then claimed that additional work was needed on the flat roof including ‘specialist materials’. He then persuaded the resident to hand over a large amount of money for these materials and left the property.

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 gardens 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 starting the work

It is possible this doorstep cold caller could move on to other areas around Norfolk.

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 Constabulary via 101. If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

 

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 10 June 2020

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

Recent examples have included emails claiming that ‘your payment has failed’ and that you need to ‘Pay your vehicle tax to avoid unpleasant consequences’.

These emails are not from the DVLA and any links contained within the message 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
    • We never send 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
    • We never send 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.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 10 June 2020

We are warning that emails claiming to be from BT continue to circulate.

Recent examples have included emails claiming that ‘Your monthly payment was recently declined’ and another saying ‘payment information for your account has been declined.

These emails are not from BT and any links contained within these messages are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the BT website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

BT offer customers the following advice about suspicious emails claiming to be from BT:

If you're worried about an email that appears to be from BT, rather than clicking on any links you should type ‘www.bt.com/mybt’ in your browser to log in to your My BT account.

  • From here you can check your account details are up to date and view your bill
  • Alternatively use our automated phone service to check your balance - 0800 443 311
  • Forward the email to our dedicated mailbox –‘phishing@bt.com’ and delete the email

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers enquiring about ‘insulation’– 9 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Happisburgh area.

In the incident, a resident received a doorstep cold call from two men who claimed they were calling as part of a ‘government scheme’ which could ‘offer funding for insulation’.

We advise to be very wary of claims made by doorstep cold callers and never give access to your property, agree to services, buy items 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 via their online reporting form or by telephone on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Test and trace scams – 8 June 2020

We are continuing to receive reports of online test and trace scams.

Please remember, genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront.

You’ll be given a unique ID number to log into the NHS Test and Trace website. The only official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service can be accessed via the following link: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/

Here is an example of a recent phone call scam where the recipient is noted as 'X'. Thankfully in this case the recipient who received it realised it was a scam and hung up:

Caller: Good morning. I am calling from the NHS Track and Trace Service. According to our system you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 test.

X: Ok, can you tell me who that person was?

Caller: I am not able to do that. That is confidential information.

X: Right ...So?

Caller: But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So, can I get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?

X: Ok (gives address).

Caller: Thank you. I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.

X: Sorry, a payment card? I thought this was all free?

Caller: No, I am afraid not. There is a one-off payment of £500 for the kit and the test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you are ready?

X: No, that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there is no charge.

Caller: I am afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please, this is very important and there are penalties for not complying.

X: (puts the phone down)

Testing through the NHS is free.

If you receive this or a similar phone call it is a scam our advice is do not give or confirm any information and hang up.

Stay scam aware and report any suspicious approaches to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

To find out more about the NHS test and trace service visit the GOV.UK website.

Information Alert – Test and trace scams – 4 June 2020

There have been many reports across social media of test and trace scams.

Please remember, genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront.

You’ll be given a unique ID number to log in to the NHS Test and Trace website. The only official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service can be accessed via the GOV.UK website.

Once you’ve logged in using your ID, you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself including:

  • Your name, date of birth and current address
  • The names of the people you live with
  • Places you’ve recently visited
  • Names and contact details of people you were in touch with around 48 hours before you developed symptoms

You won’t be asked to share this information upfront over a call or text, so if someone is asking you for it directly, they are a scammer.

Contact tracers will never:

  • Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • Ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
  • Ask for any details about your bank account
  • Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • Ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • Disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • Provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
  • Ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Stay scam aware and report any suspicious approaches to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

To find out more about the NHS test and trace service visit the GOV.UK website.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘driveway work’ – 3 June 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after received reports of doorstep cold callers in the Hethersett area offering driveways services.

This follows an incident in which a man cold called at a property claiming that 'as they were working in the area' he could offer 'discounted block paving or tarmac driveways for cash'.

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

Our advice is to never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to do work on or around your property. It is possible these cold callers could move on to other areas within Norfolk.

Anyone concerned about doorstep cold calling activity in Norfolk can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 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

Scam Alert – Online scammers selling pets – 2 June 2020

Criminals continue to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to commit fraud, including scams involving the purchase of pets, such as puppies and kittens.

Scammers post adverts on social media, general online selling platforms and specific pet selling platforms with buyers being persuaded to place deposits for pets immediately to secure the pet of choice.

But the criminals posting these adverts never have any animals to sell. They use the COVID-19 and social distancing as a reason why the victim cannot come and see the animal first or pick it up.

After the initial payment more and more funds will be requested to cover insurance, vaccinations and even delivery of the pet.

To help protect yourself from scams like this:

  • Do your research - Before purchasing anything online, including pets, look up reviews for the site, or person, you are buying from. If you’re still not sure, ask a trusted friend or family member for their advice
  • Trust your instinct - If you can’t physically go to see the animal in person, ask for a video call. If the seller declines, challenge them on why. If you have any suspicions, don’t go ahead with the purchase
  • Choose your payment method wisely – if you decide to go ahead with the purchase, avoid paying by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or a payment service such as PayPal

More information is available on the Action Fraud website.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents – 1 June 2020

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

This follows a number of recent reports from residents who have had cold callers at their door despite displaying a sticker, with some reporting that the callers can be difficult to turn away and, in some cases, verbally aggressive when the presence of the sticker is pointed out.

Recently the ongoing COVID-19 situation has led to reports of doorstep cold callers claiming to be offering help to vulnerable residents or calling for health related reasons.

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 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 said they were representing – all of this information is very useful to us 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. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you would like one of our No Cold Calling door stickers call our 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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘Netflix’ – 29 May 2020

Since the beginning of lockdown, scammers have been exploiting the popularity of streaming services, and the increase of those that have signed up to the many services available.

There has been a dramatic rise in suspicious domains impersonating a variety of streaming giants, with a great many phishing emails, text message and fake adverts pointing to them to attempt to steal your money.

The data harvested on these spoof websites includes names, addresses and other personal information, as well as stealing credit card or banking details for financial gain.

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.

Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:

How do I know if an email or text is actually from Netflix?

Keep the following in mind to determine if it’s from us:

  • We will never ask for your personal information over email. This includes:
    • Credit card number
    • Bank account details
    • Netflix password
  • We will never request payments via a third party vendor or website

What should I do if I received a suspicious email or text?

Scammers can’t get any information from you unless you give it to them.

If you received a suspicious email:

  • Don’t click any of the links or open any of the attachments
  • Forward the email to phishing@netflix.com
  • Delete the email

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

Scam Alert – Social Media messages claiming to be from ‘Dominos’ offering ‘2 Large Pizza for Free’ – 26 May 2020

Be aware of social media messages claiming to be from Dominos offering ‘2 Large Pizza for Free’. It’s a scam. 

 

 

Scammers are continuing to use the coronavirus pandemic to spam people with claims that these offers are ‘supporting the Nation’ during this time.

If you get a message like this, do not interact with it in any way and do not like or share on your social media profile.

Scam Alert – Facebook Messenger asking to borrow money – 22 May 2020

We are warning Facebook users to be aware of messages from existing Facebook friends sent via the Messenger service which asks to borrow money.

The message will give a reason why the money is needed ‘urgently’ and will be followed by further messages pressuring the recipient into sending the money.

These messages come from a Facebook friend’s account but are actually sent by fraudsters who have hacked the friend’s Facebook account and taken control of it.

If you receive this or a similar message via Messenger, do not interact with the message and contact the friend via another route if possible. Advise them their Facebook profile may have been compromised.

Find out more about keeping your Facebook account secure, including activating login alerts and two-factor authorisation.

Scam Alert – Further examples of scam text messages claiming to be from PayPal – 28 May 2020

With more people ordering items online, we are warning residents about scam text messages claiming to be from PayPal. 

A recent example says that ‘you have (1) important unread message’. The message then provides a link to ‘view & resolve the current issue with your account’.



These text messages are not genuine and are not connected with PayPal.

If you receive this or a similar text message, delete it without clicking on any links.

If you are concerned about the security of an online account, contact the provider directly via their genuine website or app. 

Never use links or details provided in a text message.

You can report suspected text message scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

News Alert – Norfolk Against Scams Partnership launch anti-scamming campaign during Covid-19 – 21 May 2020

Agencies from across Norfolk have come together to warn residents to be extra vigilant of new and existing scams during the Covid-19 pandemic. A three-week campaign is being headed up by the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, with a membership comprising Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards, Norfolk Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCCN), voluntary agencies, businesses and residents.

There will be a different focus on partners’ social media platforms each week, using the hashtag #NorfolkScamAware:

  • Trusted information – to guide the public to useful information and support agencies.
  • Protect – to give advice on how people can better equip themselves to identify the signs of scamming.
  • Watch Out – to make victims aware of the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service and the new scams that have emerged due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter search for the hashtag #NorfolkScamAware and share some of the information with your family, friends, neighbours and in the community where you live.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 20 May 2020

There continues to be a range of emails circulating claiming to be from TV Licencing.

Recent examples have included emails claiming to be a ‘COVID19 Personalized Offer’ stating you are eligible for ‘1 x 6 months of free TVLicence’.

These emails are not from TV Licencing and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the TV Licencing 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.

TV Licensing offer the following advice to help spot scam TV Licence emails:

  • Check the sender's email address - TV Licensing will only send emails from donotreply@tvlicensing.co.uk (or donotreply@spp.tvlicensing.co.uk)
  • Check how scammers address you - genuine TV Licensing emails will always use your title and last name. Scammers may simply use your email address, say ‘Dear Customer’ or nothing at all
  • Check links in the email - do not click on links or attachments. If you’re unsure, you can inspect links first. On a computer, hover over the link with your mouse (but don’t click it). On a mobile or tablet, press down and hold (don’t release while on the link)
  • Check addresses of any websites it takes you to - scammers can’t use ‘www.tvlicensing.co.uk’ for copy-cat sites. They’ll try to disguise this so carefully inspect the full address in the browser bar

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

Information Alert – EasyJet Cyber Incident – 19 May 2020

EasyJet has confirmed that it had suffered a cyber-attack and is in the process of contacting affected customers following the incident.



The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued the following advice for EasyJet customers:

  • Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of online crime can report a cyber incident using Action Fraud’s online fraud reporting tool anytime of the day or night or call 0300 123 2040. For further information visit www.actionfraud.police.uk
  • If you’re an EasyJet customer, we recommend changing your password on your EasyJet account – and if you know you’ve used that password anywhere else, change it there too. The best way to make your password long and strong is by using a sequence of three random words you'll remember

There is more information on the NCSC website:

  • Now would also be a good time to check if your account has appeared in any other public data breaches. Visit haveibeenpwned.com, enter your email address and go from there
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a free security feature that gives you an extra layer of protection online and can stop cyber criminals getting into your accounts - even if they have your password. If it is available, then we suggest using it on all your important accounts
  • If your account has been compromised, your personal details may be used to help craft more convincing scam emails. If you believe you have received a suspicious email then you can report it to the NCSC using the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) but the NCSC has produced advice which will help you spot the most obvious signs of scam emails
  • EasyJet confirmed that 2,208 credit card details were accessed in this incident. If you were one of them, you should be notified of this by EasyJet. We advise that you monitor your accounts for any unusual activity and if you’re worried, get in touch with your bank’s fraud department. There is more information on the NCSC website

Scam Alert – Further reports of telephone cold callers claiming to be police officers – 19 May 2020

We have received a further report of a Norfolk resident receiving a telephone cold call claiming to be from a police officer.

In this incident, the male cold caller claimed to be a police officer from the 'Met Police' and stated he was calling about the resident's bank card which 'had been breached'.

During the call the male also mentioned 'the Serious Fraud Office' and 'the Flying Squad' as being involved. He then said the resident should 'call 999 immediately' to 'verify his information'.

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. Several 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 your bank nor the police will never ask you to withdraw money or purchase items.

If you receive this or a similar call do not follow the instructions given. Instead:

  • Hang Up
  • Either wait five minutes for your phone line to clear, use a mobile phone or a different phone line; and
  • Call and report to Norfolk Police via 101

In an emergency always call 999.

Please continue to share these warnings and advice with family, friends and anyone within your community who could be vulnerable to this type of approach.

Scam Alert – Text messages regarding ‘Cervical Screening’ – 18 May 2020

We are again highlighting a warning after some women reported being contacted by text message, with the sender claiming to be from the ‘call and recall service’ to advise that ‘they are overdue for screening’.

The message then states you need to call a mobile number and provide personal details.

These messages are not from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. If you receive this message do not respond or call the number.

Contact when it is time to book your cervical screening appointment will be sent by post. This letter will tell you where you can go for cervical screening and how to book.

Speak to your GP surgery if you have questions about cervical screening invitations, results or any symptoms you have.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’ – 18 May 2020

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

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call which delivered a recorded message stating, ‘this is Amazon’. The message then went on to say that ‘your Amazon Prime is about to be renewed and a payment of £79.99 will be taken from your bank account’. The call then claimed that you could ‘Press 1 to speak to an Amazon Service Manager to discontinue this’.

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.

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.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘your recent accident’ – 14 May 2020

We have received a report from a Norfolk resident about telephone cold calls claiming to be about ‘your recent accident’.

The call was displaying a caller ID number using the STD code for Cromer, but this number is highly likely to have been spoofed by the cold caller to appear more local.

Generally, these calls are an attempt to gather personal, vehicle and financial details.

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold callers claiming to be police officers – 13 May 2020

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Police after two elderly North Norfolk residents were targeted by telephone scammers pretending to be police officers.

In the first incident, an elderly couple living at an address in Binham received a telephone call on Monday 4 May, where the caller, who claimed to be a police officer from a Fraud Investigation Team coerced the victims into withdrawing £5,000 from their bank. The cash was later collected from the address by a courier. The couple were later encouraged to withdraw a further £7,000 on Wednesday 6 May. The same courier attended the address to collect the cash.

A second incident was reported when a male victim aged in his 80s and from Fakenham received a telephone call from a man also claiming to be a police officer. The caller told the victim that his bank details had been obtained by someone in London and that he should immediately call 999. The victim, who then believed he had been put through to the police, was told to withdraw a large quantity of money from the bank. The victim was told to keep his phone off the hook until he returned with the cash.

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. Several 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 your bank nor the police will ever ask you to withdraw money or purchase items.

Further advice includes:

  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone – never give these details to anybody
  • Neither the police nor the banks will send a courier to collect money from you
  • Always request photo ID and if unsure call the police
  • If you're asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on
  • Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ringtones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number. Ensure you can hear a dialling tone before calling police or use a friend or neighbour's telephone instead
  • Never download any software suggested by caller
  • Do not rush into complying to the scammers demands/requests
  • Friends, family, carers and neighbours are asked to spread the word to ensure everyone is aware of this scam and what they should do
  • If you have already given your bank details over the phone or handed your card details to a courier, call you bank straight away to cancel the card

Norfolk Police are urging members of the community to contact family and friends, particularly elderly relatives, to ensure they are aware of these scams.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have received a similar type of telephone call or have any information about these incidents. Contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 36/30104/20 or 36/29830/20.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In an emergency always call 999.

Information Alert – Been offered a free trial? Make sure you know what you’re signing up for – 13 May 2020

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are reminding people to take care when signing up to ‘free’ trials.

In these challenging times, with many of us staying at home, some businesses are offering ‘free’ trials of their products or services. These can be very tempting when so many of us have more time on our hands or are trying to juggle our work while also attempting to fill our children’s time. But there can be problems if we later find out we have signed up to more than we bargained for.

These top tips tell you some of the things to look out for.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I agreeing to in order to claim this offer
  • Do I have to provide my payment details? If yes – stop and ask why
  • Is the trial really ‘free’? Or could I have money taken from my bank account or card
  • If there can be a charge, how much it is and when the payment will be taken
  • What exactly will I get in exchange for that charge
  • Is this something I would be happy to pay for in future
  • What must I do to stop the payment and by when
  • If I do get charged, what does the company say about giving me my money back
    • If I do get charged and do nothing, what happens next? Might the company take more payments in the future

If you think an ad is misleading, bring it to the attention of the ASA via their online reporting form.
 
If you have signed up to a paid contract by mistake after a ‘free’ trial, complain to the company concerned. If you see a charge on your bank/payment card statement you didn’t expect you can also contact your bank or card issuer for help.

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

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming ‘Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19’ – 12 May 2020

Our colleagues at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute have received reports of text messages circulating claiming that ‘Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19’.

The message also contains a link which if followed goes to a bogus website which attempts to gather personal details.

The UK Government is currently trialling a new COVID-19 coronavirus contact tracing app on the Isle of Wight. Many expect that the app will roll out to the rest of the country later this year.

If you receive this or a similar text message do not click on any links and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the Action Fraud website.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Door to door fish sellers – 8 May 2020

We are warning residents to be vigilant for cold callers selling fish door to door.

This follows an incident in the Loddon area this week where a resident was cold called at their property by a man who offered to sell them frozen fish. When the resident declined the offer the man became verbally aggressive towards the resident. He was then seen to return to a small white sign-written Peugeot van.

In the past these types of sellers have been known to use high pressure sales tactics and there have been issues with the quality of the fish being offered, whether the type of fish is as claimed, and whether it has been appropriately stored for transportation.

Trading Standards advises consumers do not deal with cold callers and never be pressurised into buying on the doorstep.

If you are approached by this seller or are concerned about possible rogue trader activity in your community, report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Police on 101. If you feel threatened by a doorstep cold caller or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999.

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from PayPal stating ‘Your account has been restricted due to a failed payment’ – 07 May 2020

With many more people ordering items online we are warning residents about scam text messages circulating claiming to be from PayPal. One example states that ‘your account has been restricted due to a failed payment’. The message then provides a link to ‘Login’ and ‘remove any pending restrictions’.

These text messages are not genuine and are not connected with PayPal in any way.

If you receive this or a similar text message delete it without clicking on any links.

If you are concerned about the security of an online account contact the provider directly via their genuine website or app. Never use links or details provided in a text message.You can report suspected text message scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Social Media messages offering free chocolate hampers – 06 May 2020

Watch out for social media messages claiming that ‘Cadbury has announced that everyone who shares this link will receive Chocolate Hampers’. Again, sadly, it’s a scam!

If you get a message like this do not interact with the message in any way and do not like or share on your social media profile.

Scam Alert – Online scammers selling Pets during lockdown – 06 May 2020

Criminals continue to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to commit fraud, as a scam involving the purchase of pets, such as puppies and kittens, continues to be reported to Action Fraud.

They report that so far, 669 people have lost a combined total of £282,686 in March and April, after putting down deposits for pets they have seen advertised online. The adverts that victims have responded to were posted on social media, general online selling platforms and specific pet selling platforms.

The criminals posting these ads never have any animals to sell and will ask victims to put down a deposit for the pet to secure the purchase. They use the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current lockdown restrictions as a reason why the victim cannot come and see the animal first or pick it up. After the initial payment more and more funds will be requested to cover insurance, vaccinations and even delivery of the pet.

To help protect yourself from scams like this:

  • Do your research - Before purchasing anything online, including pets, look up reviews for the site, or person, you are buying from. If you’re still not sure, ask a trusted friend or family member for their advice
  • Trust your instinct - If you can’t physically go to see the animal in person, ask for a video call. If the seller declines, challenge them on why. If you have any suspicions, don’t go ahead with the purchase
  • Choose your payment method wisely – If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, avoid paying by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or a payment service such as PayPal

More information is available on the Action Fraud Website.

Scam Alert – Telephone Cold Calls claiming ‘wearing a Face Mask is now obligatory’ – 04 May 2020

Our colleagues at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute have received reports of telephone cold calls claiming that ‘wearing a face mask whilst outdoors is now obligatory’.

Reports have included both recorded message and live voice calls making these claims, with the cold callers then attempting to gather personal details and take a payment of £29 for two masks, hand gel and gloves.

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 telephone cold calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Competition and Markets Authority launches investigation into businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the Coronavirus pandemic – 30 April 2020

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have launched an investigation into businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

4 out of 5 complaints being received into the CMA Taskforce relate to cancellations and refunds. So far these include concerns about businesses refusing refunds or firms pressuring people to accept vouchers for holiday accommodation, which can only be used during a more expensive period.

Most businesses are acting reasonably in what are unprecedented circumstances, and the current crisis is placing everyone under pressure, but consumer rights cannot be ignored.You should expect a full refund to be issued where:

  • A business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services
  • No service is provided by a business, for example because this is prevented by the restrictions that apply during the current lockdown
  • A consumer cancels or is prevented from receiving the service, for example due to the restrictions that apply during the current lockdown

Businesses should not be profiting by ‘double recovering’ their money from the Government and customers.

The CMA has identified 3 sectors of particular concern:

  • Weddings and private events
  • Holiday accommodation
  • Nurseries and childcare providers

If you have been affected by unfair cancellation terms in wake of Covid-19, you can report them to the CMA using their online form.

Safety Alert – Whirlpool issues recall for a further 21 models of Hotpoint and Indesit Washing Machines – 30 April 2020

Whirlpool have updated their recall of specific Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines to include a further 21 models due to a fire risk. A total of 66 models are now affected by the recall, which includes Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines bought since October 2014.

You can check if your washing machine is affected on Whirlpool’s dedicated recall website.

Whirlpool advise if you have previously checked your model against the list published, please check again. If you have a washing machine listed, their advice is please unplug the machine and stop using it until it has been checked by a Whirlpool engineer.

If necessary, you should only use cold water cycles of 20 degrees Celsius or lower. This is because the issue is associated with the washing machine's heating element being activated during washing cycles above 20 degrees.

Scam Alert – Looking for work? Make sure you are Job Scam Aware – 28 April 2020

With many people experiencing job losses or reduced income, people are looking for remote working jobs to bring in extra money. As such, we want to highlight the common scams that job seekers may experience to ensure you don't get caught out.

Scammers may reach out offering a job that promises a large amount of income for a small amount of work. If you respond, they may request you to provide them with a small amount of money for training or special equipment. Or they may request your bank account information so they can directly deposit your funds.

In reality, there is no job, or the work provided has many hurdles to jump, that means you won't get paid.
The work itself could involve filling envelopes, assembling products or selling goods or services through your own website. In some cases, fraudsters may tell you there are faults with what you’ve done to avoid paying you. In other cases, the products you’ve bought or made are worthless.

Many of these business opportunities only allow you to earn money if you introduce more people to it. These are known as pyramid schemes.
In other cases, they will just take the money or the information you give them and use it to steal whatever money you have left.

That's not to say there aren't legitimate work-from-home opportunities out there. You just have to do your research to make sure you're dealing with a real company. Do some research on the company and don't be afraid to contact it and ask questions before accepting a position, especially if it's asking for sensitive information. If you get a bad feeling, explore some other options instead.

If you spot a scam or have signed up to what you think is a job scam, contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘Netflix’ – 27 April 2020

There continues to be a range of emails circulating claiming to be from Netflix.

 

These emails are NOT from Netflix and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine looking fake version of the Netflix website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

With a surge in membership to online video streaming services during the current lockdown scammers will often react to these situations and increase the number of these communications in circulation.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.Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:How do I know if an email or text is actually from Netflix?

Keep the following in mind to determine if it’s from us; We will never ask for your personal information over email. This includes:

  • Credit card number
  • Bank account details
  • Netflix password
  • We will never request payments via a 3rd party vendor or website

What should I do if I received a suspicious email or text?

Scammers can’t get any information from you unless you give it to them.If you received a suspicious email

  • Don’t click any of the links or open any of the attachments
  • Forward the email to phishing@netflix.com
  • Delete the email

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

Scam Alert – Social Media messages claiming to be from ‘Heineken’ offering ‘Free Beer’ – 24 April 2020

Watch out for social media messages claiming to be from Heineken, offering free beer kegs. Sadly, it’s a scam!

If you get a message like this do not interact with the message in any way and do not like or share on your social media profile

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘your rent’ – 23 April 2020

We are highlighting a warning from the Broadland Housing group after one of their residents reported receiving a telephone cold call about their rent.

During the call the cold caller stated that the residents’ rent account was in arrears and that they needed to pay immediately. Fortunately, the resident questioned the cold caller about the claims and following unsatisfactory responses the resident ended the call and contacted Broadland Housing to report the call.

Our advice is always be very wary of claims made during a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal or financial details if approached in this manner. If you receive a call from someone you pay on a regular basis but cannot confirm if it is a genuine contact, hang up, wait five minutes or use another phone to contact the organisation on a number printed on official correspondence, a recent bill or from their website or app.

You can report suspicious cold calling to us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting form.

News Alert – Public urged to flag coronavirus-related email scams as online security campaign launches – 22 April 2020

Cyber experts have launched measures to protect the UK from online harm as the country continues to rely more on technology while staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, has launched the cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, which offers actionable advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices.

As part of campaign, the organisation has published specific advice for personal and professional use of video conferencing services, with top tips on setting up your accounts, arranging a chat and protecting your device.

The NCSC has also today launched the pioneering ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, which will make it easy for people to forward suspicious emails to the NCSC – including those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.

This will build on the NCSC’s existing takedown services, which have already removed more than 2,000 online scams related to coronavirus in the last month, including;

  • 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent coronavirus-related items
  • 555 malware distribution sites set up to cause significant damage to any visitors
  • 200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details
  • 832 advance-fee frauds where a large sum of money is promised in return for a set-up payment

For advice on how Individuals and Families can keep themselves safe visit the NCSC website.

View further information on the NCSC Suspicious Email Reporting Service.

Scam Alert – Text messages about your bank account – 22 April 2020

We have received reports from residents about text messages claiming to be from banks stating there is an issue on your account.

These messages are spammed out randomly to huge numbers of mobile numbers hoping to trick people into clicking on a link which will take them to bogus versions of the genuine bank website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

The messages will often claim that accounts have been frozen, that money is about to leave the account or that there is fraudulent activity with the aim of panicking the recipient into reacting.

If you receive this or a similar message our advice is:

  • Do not click on any links or open attachments
  • Do not reply to the message
  • Do not call any numbers given in these messages

If you are concerned about the security of a bank account or credit card, contact your bank or service provider directly using the customer service number printed on the card, on a recent statement or via information available on their genuine website or app. Never use details provided in a text message.

If you think you might have responded to a text message scam and provided your bank account details, contact your bank immediately.

You can report suspected text message scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be the ‘Corona Charity Fund’ – 21 April 2020

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone cold calls claiming to be from the 'Corona Charity Fund'.

During the call the cold caller makes claims regarding the expected death count at the peak of the virus spread and gives information on how bad the current situation is.

The cold caller then asks for a donation to help in the fight against coronavirus.

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

The alarmist information is not correct and there is no such charity. If you receive this or a similar call just hang up.

You can report suspicious cold calling to us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 20 April 2020

There continues to be a range of emails circulating claiming to be from TV Licencing.

Recent examples have included emails claiming that ‘Something went wrong’ and that you now have an ‘Overdue Balance of £12.00’.

These emails are not from TV Licencing and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the TV Licencing website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Scammers will often target people with requests for small amounts as people may be less likely to check and action without thinking about it.

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.

TV Licensing offer the following advice to help spot scam TV Licence emails:

  • Check the sender's email address - TV Licensing will only send emails from donotreply@tvlicensing.co.uk (or donotreply@spp.tvlicensing.co.uk)
  • Check how scammers address you - genuine TV Licensing emails will always use your title and last name. Scammers may simply use your email address, say ‘Dear Customer’ or nothing at all
  • Check links in the email - Do not click on links or attachments. If you’re unsure, you can inspect links first. On a computer, hover over the link with your mouse (but don’t click it). On a mobile or tablet, press down and hold (don’t release whilst on the link)
  • Check addresses of any websites it takes you to - scammers can’t use ‘www.tvlicensing.co.uk’ for copy-cat sites. They’ll try to disguise this, so carefully inspect the full address in the browser bar

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 distributing masks and hand sanitiser to ‘over 50s’ – 16 April 2020

We are warning residents to be alert for telephone cold calls which claim to be arranging to distribute ‘face masks and hand sanitiser’ to ‘over 50s’.

In some calls the cold callers are claiming to be from the ‘Preservation Society’ and are engaging the call recipient by discussing current coronavirus social isolation advice before stating they are distributing these items to people over 50. The cold caller then attempts to take a payment of £29 for this.

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 telephone cold calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Text messages referencing ‘Covid-19’ from ‘City Council’ – 15 April 2020

We are warning residents to be alert for text messages claiming to be from ‘City Council’.

These messages are fake. If you receive one, delete it without clicking on the link. There are likely to be a number of variations of this message circulating quoting different amounts and web links.

You can report suspected text message scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails and social media posts claiming to be from supermarkets – 15 April 2020

We are warning residents that there are a number of emails and social media posts circulating claiming to be from supermarkets offering vouchers, gift cards or ‘free shops’ to support people during ‘quarantine’.

All these examples have no connection to the genuine companies and will be used to try to gather people’s personal or financial details to use for other scams.

You can report suspected scam emails or social media posts to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 14 April 2020

We have received reports that text messages claiming to be from TV Licencing are circulating again.

Recent examples have included messages that ‘your last payment was unsuccessful’ and then providing a link to ‘update your information’.

These texts are not from TV Licencing and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the TV Licencing website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

Scammers may also use the recent announcement that TV Licensing customers aged over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until 31 May 2020 to send further scam emails.

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

Information Alert – Looking to give to charities responding to the pandemic, make sure you do it safely – 13 April 2020

With many people giving generously to support charities that are responding to the pandemic, make sure you don’t fall victim to scammers who may try to divert vital funds from genuine causes.

If you are looking to donate, take time to check it is a genuine charity by following the advice below:

There are simple ways of making sure you give safely to registered charities:

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • Use the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online, visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself
  • Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion
  • Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company
  • If in doubt about an approach, give to a charity that you have an existing relationship with

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 9 April 2020

We are warning about emails claiming to be from BT which are circulating.

One recent example claimed that ‘We are having trouble authorising your last bill’ before going on to state that ‘we may have to dis able your account services’ alongside a link to ‘Update My Payment Option’.

These emails are not from BT and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine-looking fake version of the BT website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

BT offer customers the following advice about suspicious emails claiming to be from BT.

If you're worried about an email that appears to be from BT, rather than clicking on any links you should type ‘www.bt.com/mybt’ in your browser to log in to your My BT account.

  • From here you can check your account details are up to date and view your bill
  • Alternatively use our automated phone service to check your balance - 0800 443 311
  • Forward the email to our dedicated mailbox –‘phishing@bt.com’ and delete the email

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

News Alert – Online sales of ‘coronavirus testing kits’ – 8 April 2020

We have been made aware that individuals on social media are claiming to sell fake coronavirus (COVID-19) home testing kits.

This is both dangerous and illegal.

If you spot posts claiming to sell these items, you can report them via the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme website.

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