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.

Sign up to receive Norfolk Trading Standards consumer alerts by email

Subscribe to our newsletter

Scam Alert –World Cup “Tickets to the Final” Lottery Email Scams – 23 November 2022

We high-lighting football lottery scams as we have become aware of emails offering prizes of tickets, accommodation, and fights to Qatar for the final. Some say, “You have been entered for” and others ask for a small fee. These scams are often using the extra “hook” by promising spending money if England or Wales are in the final.

The real intention is just like all lottery scams is to harvest your personal information ready for identity fraud or to put a “worm” or “malware” on your computer. The links given are fake and made-up by the fraudsters.

If you receive this type of scam, delete it straight away and check your trash junk-box.

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

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

Many examples of lottery scam letters have bad spelling and grammar – see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone calls claiming to help with Government money –23 November 2022

We are alerting Norfolk residents as we have received a report from our colleagues over in Great Yarmouth after an officer recently visited a tenant. The tenant advised she had received a telephone call from a man claiming to help with the money being given by the government. This caller asked her for her bank card number so he could make sure it goes into the right account. She gave him the long card number and as soon as she put the telephone down, she knew she should not have done so. Fortunately, the scammers could not take any money and her bank telephoned/wrote to her later and arranged for her to receive a new card.

Fraudsters are seeking out victims and using the cost-of-living crisis to exploit people’s vulnerability.

These callers have no connection with the government, or any organisations connected to the government. They have tricked and harassed many victims into handing over hundreds of pounds, only to realise that the call was a scam and they find themselves now even further in debt.

No government body would ever call asking for personal bank details, offer money back on payments or credit card charges.

Anyone who has given out their personal information to a cold-caller they now think was a fraudster should contact their bank immediately.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises in Taverham, Norfolk – 23 November 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at one further premises in Norfolk in the last week.

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Scam Alert – Romance Scam Emails – 23 November 2022

After receiving some information this week it appears that scammers are circulating emails containing romance type of fraud material.

“Good day, From Kazakhstan, I am 34 y.o. and my name is Alina. I am searching for a serious relationship. Next month I will have a long vacation and I am ready to meet. Email me back if you are serious and looking for a serious relationship too. I will send a pictires and write more about me if you are interested. But do not ask me naked pictures. I have not and will never send. I am searching for a serious relationship. Please do not answer if you are not serious or married. Serious relationship is very important to me. I will not waste time playing games. I hope you understand me and answer. Alina”

The email might appear convincing, but the small spelling and grammatical errors are the first giveaway that it is a fake. The immediate request for a reply is also a red flag. Once hooked fraudsters will start conversations to ask innocent sounding questions like your date of birth, name of first pet or home address with a view to obtaining information to commit identity fraud.

Action Fraud has the following advice to ensure you protect yourself while using dating apps:

Protect yourself

  • Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
  • Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of Once a fraudster using a fake dating profile is confident that they’ve won your trust, they will tell you about a problem they’re experiencing and ask you to help by sending money.

Spot the signs

  • You’ve struck up a relationship with someone online; they’re asking a lot of personal questions about you, but they're not interested in telling you much about themselves.
  • They invent a reason to ask for your help, using the emotional attachment you’ve built with them. Your relationship with them may often depend on you sending money.
  • Their pictures are too perfect – they may have been stolen from an actor or model. Reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere else.

If you been the victim of a dating scam, you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If you have sent money or provided financial information to what you now think could be a scam contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers - Roofers – 23 November 2022

We are raising residents’ awareness after an increase of notifications from people that there are traders in Norfolk offering to fix “various” roofing problems. These traders have all the characteristics of rogue traders.

In one incident in the Costessey area of Norwich last week, a male gave a verbal quote while at the property but failed to provide the resident with any address details or any of the written information that is required by law, despite taking many thousands in cash. When the resident tried to contact the tradesman on the mobile phone number provided, no one answered, despite numerous attempts made.

Our advice is:

  • 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 a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

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

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

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

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

Information Alert – Avian influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at further premises in Norfolk – 17 November 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at one further premises in Norfolk in the last week.

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 17 November 2022

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

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

Often these calls come from a range of different ‘spoofed’ numbers and previously residents have reporting receiving a number of calls in quick succession.

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

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

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

  • Date of the call
  • Phone number used
  • Content of the call

You can also report suspected scam telephone calls to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 113.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘IPS’ about a parcel they were ‘unable to deliver’– 16 November 2022

We are warning residents about scam emails which are circulating which claim to be from ‘IPS’ which state they were ‘unable to deliver your parcel as there was no one present to sign for the delivery’

The email also contains a ‘Tracking ID’ number and a link to ‘check here’ to allow the recipient to confirm the address to ‘reconfirm the parcel shipping’

The email is fake and is designed to fool people by looking like an email from the genuine multinational parcel company UPS by using a similar logo, design, colours and even an image showing a UPS vehicle.

UPS offer advice about scam emails using their name along with a range of examples scam emails on their website. They also state that if you ‘think you have received a fraudulent email from someone claiming to be UPS’ you can ‘forward the email to fraud@ups.com and then delete the email’.

If you have received a suspicious email which could be a scam our advice is:

  • Do not click on any links within the text
  • Do not open any attachments Suspicious emails can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the email to report@phishing.gov.uk or you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert – Accommodation rental scams – 15 November 2022

We are reminding residents looking to rent accommodation to make sure they are aware of rental scams and frauds.

Rental fraud happens when would be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a room or property.

Fraudsters advertise rooms or properties to rent at attractive rates and in excellent locations to lure in victims. Adverts will seem genuine and are accompanied by photos and contact information. However, fake landlords then trick victims who show interest into handing over a fee even before they’ve had a chance to view the room, flat or house, claiming the property is in high demand and will be off the market if they don’t act fast. Often, the landlord will say that they live far away and therefore need the money upfront before any viewings can be considered.

Action Fraud offer the following advice to avoid accommodation rental fraud:

If you’re searching for accommodation:

  • Only use reputable letting companies
  • Do some online research such as using Google maps to check the property does exist
  • Make an appointment to view the property in person, and always view the property prior to paying any advance fees. If a landlord requests money upfront:
    • Be wary. Landlords should never ask for a ‘holding deposit’ due to high demand
    • Don't feel pressured into handing over money. Landlords usually want to know they’re getting the right tenants first – they’ll request background checks such as employment or character references before asking for any fees. You can read more about Rental Fraud on the Action Fraud website

If you need advice about scams, you can contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at further premises in Norfolk – 10 November 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at a further four premises in Norfolk in the last week.

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Openreach’ – 9 November 2022

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone calls during which the caller claimed to be from ‘Openreach’ and stated they could ‘save money on your phone contract’. The cold caller then attempted to gather personal and financial details from the resident.

Openreach state that they ‘will never ask you for personal information like bank details – either in person, over the phone or by email. We’ll also never ask to remotely access your computer, phone or tablet’. Openreach offer further advice about contacts claiming to be from them on their website.

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 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘money transfers’ – 9 November 2022

We are warning residents after receiving reports of automated telephone calls which claim amounts of money, often several hundred pounds, have ‘been transferred to a foreign bank account’.

Following these initial claims, the message will then give press button options or a number to call to ‘prevent further transactions’.

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

It is likely there are a number of variations of these calls stating different amounts and actions that can be taken.

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 cold call.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling ‘their’ artwork – 7 November 2022

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers attempting to sell ‘their’ artwork.

Reports indicate a group of cold callers carrying cards stating they are deaf and that they are selling ‘their’ artwork. The cards also make claims as to what they need the money for which has included ‘funding their education’.

This approach is a scam with groups targeting an area for a short time before moving on. The ‘hand drawn artwork’ they claim to be carrying is often mass-produced images or photocopies.

Reports over the weekend have been in and around the Diss area but it is possible that doorstep cold callers using this approach could appear in other parts of Norfolk in the coming days.

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

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk, or concerned about rogue trader activity in your community, can report it to us, through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Police 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.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls offering ‘medical pain devices’ – 7 November 2022

We are warning Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls which claim to be offering medical devices ‘to help with pain’.

This follows an incident where a resident received a cold call during which the caller stated they had ‘received a referral from your GP surgery’ and that ‘you could benefit from one of their devices to help with pain’.

Fortunately, the resident declined the offer and contacted their GP surgery who confirmed the call was not connected with them.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller offering tree work – 4 November 2022

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers offering tree work.

This follows an incident in the Dussindale area where a man cold called at a property claiming he was ‘doing some tree work down the road’ and then offered to undertake work on the tree and hedge in the residents’ garden saying he could ‘do it cheaper for cash on the day’. The resident declined the offer and reported the incident to us.

The man was seen to return to a red tipper van which was towing a woodchipper. He was then seen to signal to a second man in another van which followed the first vehicle out of the road.

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

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

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

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at further premises in Norfolk – 3 November 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at further three premises in Norfolk in the last week.

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers claiming issues with properties’ roof and chimneys – 2 November 2022

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers making claims that they can see issues with roof tiles and chimneys.

This follows an incident in the Thorpe area of Norwich on Tuesday 1st where a male cold called at a property and told the resident that he was ‘there to fix a leak in the roof’. When the resident said they had no knowledge of this the male made various claims before offering to go onto the roof to show the resident the problem.

Having accessed the roof the male then said that there were issues with ‘the chimney’ which ‘needed fixing immediately’. The male then said he could do the work for ‘£750’

Fortunately, the resident declined the offer, and the male left the property.

Our advice is:

  • 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 a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you see cold callers operating in Norfolk please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 101.
If you feel intimidated or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999

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

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 – Be aware of Bogus doorstep cold callers – 31 October 2022

We are highlighting a warning from Anglian Water for residents to take extra care this winter to make sure they are protected from bogus callers.

They warn that the number of reported cases of criminal activity goes up during the darker winter evenings, with many cases of distraction burglaries caused by bogus callers.

Often bogus callers will claim that they are from the ‘water board’ despite these organisations not having existed for over 40 years.

If an Anglian Water customer has any doubts or can’t remember making an appointment then it’s best to say no and close the door – a genuine employee will be happy to come back at a different time or wait while you check they are who they say they are.

Customers in any doubt should close the door and phone Anglian Water, for free, on 0800 145 145 or alert the police.

Anglian Water also offer the following advice if you receive a doorstep cold call from someone claiming they are calling about your water supply:

  • A genuine Anglian Water member of staff will always carry an ID card.
  • If you are unsure of a person’s identity, alert the police or call Anglian Water on 0800 145 145.
  • Anglian Water call centre staff will be able to describe the person to you and confirm if they are a genuine employee.
  • Most Anglian Water staff will arrive in Anglian Water branded vans.

Anglian Water staff would never force their way into someone’s home.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller selling trees and garden furniture – 31 October 2022

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell garden furniture and trees.

This follows an incident in the Drayton area when a resident was cold called by a male who claimed he was selling off items that had been stocked at a ‘National Trust property’ in Norfolk.

The male then showed the resident several olive trees and garden furniture which were in the rear of a large sign written van.

Often, when this type of approach is used, the cold caller may use a range of pressure selling techniques including:

  • claiming that ‘neighbours have made purchases’ and they suggested coming to you as well
  • using a brochure showing the items and their ‘catalogue price’ which can often be heavily inflated
  • stating that items are ‘discounted’ as the location where the items were stocked is closing or that it is ‘the end of the season’
  • claiming that by purchasing an item for full price additional items can be included ‘free of charge’
  • items shown by the cold caller and the actual items delivered, which are usually in boxes on the van, can be different or inferior quality versions

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

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

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

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

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Scam Alert – Postal lottery scams – 27 October 2022

We are raising consumers awareness this week as this old-style scam is still very much in abundance. We received a report from a local resident who called to alert us.

In the report, our caller received a letter stating that they had won the lottery, the prize that was won was £825,000 and all that needed to be done was to pay a processing fee, including personal account details, and they would send the money via certified cheque.

Our resident knew that they had not played the lottery.

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 to receive their winnings. 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.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold callers regarding solar panels – 27 October 2022

We are warning residents with solar panels on their property to be on their guard for telephone cold callers who appear to be targeting homes with solar panels.

The cold callers are making a number of claims regarding existing systems and checks which they state are needed. The cold callers will then attempt to make an appointment for someone to visit and inspect the system.

Our advice is to always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never agree to services, to having work done, or to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

We also advise that solar panel owners should always talk to their supplier before allowing any work or ‘maintenance’ to take place on their panels. Generally, a solar panel system does not need servicing, but it may benefit from being cleaned if the panels are dirty.

Any work on the electrics of a solar panel system should only be carried out by a qualified electrician. Suitably qualified electricians can be found on the Norfolk Trusted Trader website or via the Electrical Safety First website.

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

Scam Alert – Computer repair company scams – 26 October 2022

We are warning Norfolk residents about ‘computer repair’ scam after a report on Wednesday from a computer user.

The resident called a non-geographical landline that he saw on google saying they were Microsoft Support as there were problems with a laptop that he couldn’t resolve. The company answered the phone as 'Microsoft Care' and ask to share the screen by following several steps. The company said that they would need £500 to fix the problem but would return it, then the company took nearly £500 from the account. After that the company took another £180 and then nearly £300. Fortunately, the consumer's bank was able to claw back these amounts and put a block on the account.

These companies dupe vulnerable victims by claiming that they work for well-known computer software, telecoms, or broadband suppliers. The caller advises that they have identified is a problem with the user’s computer or broadband equipment, often making claims about ‘viruses’, ‘criminals controlling your machine’ and ‘hackers accessing your router’.

The caller will ask for remote access to the computer and asks for payment of a fee, promising reimbursement when the minor fault is found. However, this is their opportunity to plant malicious software onto the computer or access personal information held on the computer, including account log-in information and bank details, which can be used to commit fraud. They then either keep the fix fee or fleece the account.

If these companies fail at the first contact, they are known to try calling back repeatedly. Also, where they have been successful in charging a fee, the scammers have targeted people again telling them the ‘problem’ has returned.

We have been issuing warnings around ‘computer fault’ frauds for several years but reports continue. Fortunately, many reports we receive are from residents who are aware of the issue and have terminated the call without giving access to their computer or making payment.

If you are concerned about the security of your home computer or how to fix issues, we would advise you to find a quality local business like a Norfolk Trusted Trader. You can search the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory.

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 – Text messages regarding ‘energy bills discount’ – 20 October 2022

We are continuing to receive multiple reports from Norfolk residents who have received text messages stating you are ‘eligible’ or need to ‘claim’ your energy bill discount.

We are again reminding residents that:

  • There is no need to apply for the scheme
  • You will not be contacted by the Government or Ofgem asking you to share your bank details in order to benefit
  • Your electricity supplier will apply the £400 discount automatically if you pay your electricity bills by direct debit, standard credit, payment card or smart prepayment meter. You do not need to do anything
  • If you are on a traditional prepayment meter, it is important to ensure your electricity supplier has your contact details so you can receive the discount via vouchers issued from the first week of every month from October to March. Vouchers will be issued by your electricity supplier via SMS text, email or post along with information on where to redeem them. This will usually be a PayPoint or Post Office branch
  • Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments, or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine

For more information on the Energy Bills Support Scheme visit the GOV.UK website

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at further premises in Norfolk – 20 October 2022

Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed at further premises in Norfolk this week. Currently the total number of confirmed outbreaks at Norfolk premises stands at 35.

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

We are continuing to work with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from PayPal – 19 October 2022

We are warning residents about fake PayPal emails after a receiving a report of a resident receiving an email alleging to be from PayPal claiming their account had been ‘suspended due to fraudulent activity’.

PayPal provide useful information on common email scams and advice on how to avoid them.

What you need to do?

  • Sellers beware: If you’re selling items on an online marketplace, such as eBay, be aware of the warning signs that your buyer is a scammer. Don’t be persuaded into sending anything until you can verify you’ve received the payment.
  • Scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.

If you have received a suspicious email which could be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be ‘bank security’ – 17 October 2022

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone calls which claim to be from ‘bank security’ making claims that your account ‘has been blocked’ or ‘is compromised’.

Recent reports have included both live and automated calls which then attempt to gather personal 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 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 cold call.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers in the Kings Lynn area– 14 October 2022

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers follows reports from the Kings Lynn area of callers offing to pressure wash roofs.

Our advice is always:

  • 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 a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

If you concerned about cold callers in your community please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza Housing Zone put in place and Avian Influenza confirmed at several sites in Norfolk – 13 October 2022

On Wednesday 12 October 2022 an Avian influenza mandatory Housing Order came into effect in Norfolk, Suffolk, and parts of Essex, meaning all poultry and captive birds will have to be kept indoors. Information on the requirements can be found on the government website.

3km Protection Zones and 10km Surveillance Zones have been put in place around a number of premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory orders are found on the government website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19). Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers – 13 October 2022

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

In the incident a resident received a doorstep cold call from a man who quoted the name of a now defunct “Maintenance” company and talked about servicing the owner’s driveway. The resident declined and made their own checks to reveal the fraud, following it up with a report to us.

Trading Standards advises 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 Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 03454 04 05 06.

Scam Alert – WhatsApp ‘family member’ scam messages – 12 October 2022

As a result of a report from a Norfolk resident this week, we are alerting mobile phone users to be aware of WhatsApp messages where scammers attempt to impersonate family members in an attempt to steal money.

The message will often start “Hi Mum, I dropped my phone”. The message continues “Please use this new number and delete the old one from your contacts”, or something similar.

After several innocent type messages such as “hugs” etc, the sender will highlight a problem such as a broken item and that needs money to be transferred for fixing or for an urgent bill to be paid.

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

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

Scam Alert – Energy saving texts received claiming to be from “gov.uk” – 12 October 2022

We are warning residents about texts circulating regarding ‘energy rebates’ claiming to be from the government website – gov.uk.

The text claims that responders will get a £400 rebate for energy bills, the link contained with the text takes you to a gov.uk looking website which then asks you to enter a myriad of personal details.

Our advice is to always be very wary of any unsolicited texts no matter how familiar you think you know the source, never give, or confirm any personal or financial details via a personally unknown sender. Take those usual simple checks to enable you to discover whether the a text is genuine or not.

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

Scam Alert –Fake SMS messages from Facebook marketplace – 11 October 2022

We have received a report this week from a resident after receiving a message suggesting it was linked to seller on Facebook marketplace. The message asked for payment for goods however our consumer noted that the logo on the link to the bank looked different for what they know.

These messages are sent by hackers hoping to trick people into clicking on a link which will take them to bogus versions of genuine bank websites which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller claiming issues with properties’ roof – 07 October 2022

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers claiming they can see issues with roofs and chimneys.

This follows an incident where two males cold called at a property in the Caister area telling the resident that they ‘could see broken tiles’. Having been given access to the roof one of the males then returned to the resident with pictures on a mobile phone he claimed to have taken on the roof showing damaged tiles. The cold caller then said they could do the work ‘straight away’ at a cost of more than £1,000.

Following the first cold call the same males also called at an adjoining property claiming they could see the chimney ‘was loose’ and they could ‘fix it for £3,000’. The second resident declined the offer at which point both cold callers became verbally aggressive towards the resident.

After the incidents an independent builder inspected the roof saying the work to fix the broken tiles was worth around £100.

The cold callers were seen to be driving a silver or grey sign written Mercedes Sprinter van carrying a number of ladders on a roof rack.

Our advice is:

  • 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 a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

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

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

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

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 – Emails claiming to be from PayPal – 04 October 2022

We are warning residents about fake PayPal emails after a receiving a report of a resident receiving an email alleging to be from PayPal which advised them to open a crypto currency account.

PayPal provide useful information on common email scams and advice on how to avoid them. View the PayPal information on common email scams online. 

What you need to do?

  • Sellers beware: If you’re selling items on an online marketplace, such as eBay, be aware of the warning signs that your buyer is a scammer. Don’t be persuaded into sending anything until you can verify you’ve received the payment
  • Scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details
  • Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it

If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, you can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. You can also report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from Citizens Advice – 03 October 2022

We are warning about telephone cold calls claiming to be from Citizens Advice.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a cold call claiming to be from ‘Citizens Advice’ during which the cold caller asked the call recipient several financial questions about debts.

Citizens Advice advise that they do not cold call or authorise others to cold call on their behalf.

If you receive one of these calls do not give or confirm any personal information, hang up and report the call to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from your email contacts – 2 October 2022

We have received a report of a resident receiving a scam email whilst at work which claimed to be from their manager.

The email appeared to be from the individuals manager and requested that they purchase Amazon gift cards via a link provided. The resident purchased these before realising that the email was fake and unfortunately lost this money.

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

If you think you have received a phishing or spoofed e-mail claiming to be from Amazon, you can report it to them so that they can investigate by either:

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at two further premises near Attleborough, Norfolk – 1 October 2022

On 1 October 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at two separate premises near Attleborough, Breckland, Norfolk. A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around each premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order. 

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at two further premises near Lowestoft, East Suffolk –29 September 2022

On 29 September 2022 our colleagues at Suffolk Trading Standards confirmed avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 at a premises near Lowestoft, East Suffolk.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. A small section of the 3km Protection Zone and part of the wider 10km Surveillance Zones extends into Norfolk. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113.

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

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

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

Throughout the day you can book to attend talks or try and complete our Cyber Escape Room.

For more information or to book your space visit the Norfolk Police website.

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

On 27 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a second premises near Attleborough, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers in the Kings Lynn area– 28 September 2022

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers follows reports from the Kings Lynn area of callers claiming to be representing a charity.

The cold callers are asking residents for personal and financial details.

Our advice is always not to deal with doorstep cold callers.

If you concerned about cold callers in your community please contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Police on 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 our No cold calling zones webpage. 

Information Alert – Avian Influenza Prevention Zone – 28 September 2022

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

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

All bird keepers, including hobby and backyard poultry keepers and anyone who keeps chickens, ducks and geese as pets must take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.
Additionally, keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading. There is also a mandatory requirement to keep records and to make them available on request.

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

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

More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

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

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

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Northwold, Norfolk– 26 September 2022

On 26 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Northwold, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website.

If you need advice on housing your birds, please contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers offering to repair driveways – 23 September 2022

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

In the incident a resident was cold called at their property by a male who offered to fill potholes in their driveway, the male went on to claim that they were ‘working nearby’ as they were ‘contracted by the council to fill potholes in the area’.

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

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 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

It is possible these doorstep cold callers could move on to other areas around Norfolk and could approach businesses as well as residential properties especially in rural areas.

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

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

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit our Trusted Trader webpage

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 our No cold calling zones webpage.

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming ‘you are owed a £400 discount towards your bills’ – 22 September 2022

We are warning residents about a number of text messages circulating claiming to be connected to support with Energy Bills.

Recent examples have included:

Text message - GOV UK We have noticed that you are owed a £400 discount towards your bills

Text message - GOV UK We have identified you as eligible for a discounted energy bill under the Energy Bills Support Scheme

Other messages are claiming to be from the energy regulator Ofgem.

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.

Residents are reminded that the Government support payments which are being made available will be automatically applied to energy accounts and you will not need to supply personal information to ‘apply’ for payments.

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.

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

Scam Alert - Fake listings on Facebook Marketplace – 21 September 2022

We are warning Norfolk residents to be aware of “Fakers on Facebook Marketplace”. These scammers are pinching genuine profiles to redirect buyers with the intent to steal your money.

A report this week informed us of a seller who said they could provide much cheaper goods than those that are on general sale. He claimed that he could provide them at a bargain rate as they were overstocks sourced from Amazon and other online sellers. He then sends links to his fake website and also links to genuine websites for you to make a price comparison. All the links are fake. If you place an order, you will get an email confirmation from a “gmail” account or similar. All the content of the email is a scam, none of the content is real and the links to “view your order” and “visit store” don’t work as they are copied and pasted from a genuine site.

We always advise consumers to do their research carefully. These scams look convincing but there are clear obvious signs that reveal them as fake. Facebook give a number of safety tips, this link is real.

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Shropham, Norfolk– 19 September 2022

On 19 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Shropham, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers claiming to be from BT – 17 September 2022

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of cold callers asking to use their phones in the Hethersett and Wymondham areas.

The report refers to a number of residents who were cold called at their own homes by two men who claimed they were employees of British Telecom or BT. The callers said they were checking broadband strength in the area. They would then take further steps by asking to borrow mobile phones to check this by running speed tests.

The cold callers disappear when challenged.

BT have confirmed they do not operate speed test checks in that way. They would only conduct test at your home if you have confirmed an appointment with a genuine engineer.

We always advise:

  • Never deal with cold callers claiming to be from a company known to you – always make an appointment or check with the genuine company first
  • Never hand over anything a cold caller asks to “borrow”
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home or contents, even if they are offering to do tasks for free or a small fee
  • 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 pay for work before it is completed

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

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

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

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

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises in Suffolk affecting a area of Norfolk– 17 September 2022

On 19 September 2022 Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Bury St Edmunds, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. A small section of the 10km Surveillance Zone extends into Norfolk, just south of Thetford. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order on our website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

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

Scam Alert – Fake "personalised parcel delivery" texts - 31 August 2022

We are advising residents to be aware of fake parcel delivery texts which contain links to bogus websites in attempts to gain personal information or take payments for ‘redelivery’.

This follows a report received from a consumer who received a text, “Sorry we missed you”. “Simon attempted to deliver your package but no one was home”. “Re-schedule, name, delivery time and date here – (a bogus address for a website is then given). If you follow the link, it will take you to a fraudulent website which will attempt to charge you a ‘re-delivery fee’.

These texts have been sent by criminals who have created a scam website to look similar to couriers’ 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 text, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the text to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

You can also report scams to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer service on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fraudulent "Energy Grants" emails - 31 August 2022

We are continuing to advise Norfolk consumers to be alert with emails claiming to be from OFGEM and part of the energy bill support that some residents will receive this autumn. The fraudulent emails are seeking to harvest personal information including bank details as part of their application for the grant. The UK government has sent out information that support will be given automatically with a deduction seen in household bills, no bank details will be asked for. Scammers are recognising the vulnerability of residents and taking advantage of a “cost of living” crisis.

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.

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers offering to undertake roofing work – 30 August 2022

We are warning residents to be aware of doorstep cold callers follows reports in the Swaffham area of two males going door to door.

In the incidents the males approached a number of properties offering to undertake work on soffits and facias. One male was seen to return to a white van with blue and yellow sign writing, the second male was seen to be driving a plain grey van.

Our advice is:

  • 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 a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before commencing the work

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

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

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

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 – Automated telephone cold calls for unauthorised transactions – 30 August 2022

We’ve had several reports this week from a Norfolk consumers of fake automated telephone cold calls. We are warning residents that these are scams trying to panic you into releasing personal details. The robot caller starts with, “This is an automated call to inform you that there have been several unauthorised transactions of money taken from your bank account”. This is a typical “hook”, a small pause then follows as your attention has been drawn.

The voice with then will give you a “softener”, this is likely plausible transaction to a large company which many people use, such as Netflix, BT or Amazon. The caller continues, “The first transaction is with Netflix for an amount of £30”. This is designed to make you believe that the robot caller is genuine and the withdrawal is of such small amount it is possible that you would not have checked it.

The next part will refer to a recent “significant international money transfer to an unknown location”. Another pause comes from the robot caller, then the “pull” follows with the instruction for you to press a number on your keypad.

These calls are not genuine. Do not press any number on your keypad. If you receive this or a call making similar claims on your bank account, do not interact with the call in any way and hang up immediately.

You can find more information about bogus contacts and phone based fraud on the Take Five website.

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

Scam Alert – Fake competitions on Facebook – 25 August 2022

We are advising residents to think twice before sharing competitions on Facebook after receiving reports of a fake Facebook page claiming to be associated with Marks and Spencer offering a giveaway.

Before liking a page or sharing a post, especially a big business like Marks and Spencer, 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.

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 “Report 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 and fill in personal details to claim a prize.

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

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have an online service where consumers can report any fake adverts, they find on online platforms such as newspaper websites, paid-for search engines or social media. The reporting form can be found on the ASA website.

This reporting mechanism aims to respond to the ever-increasing number of fake advertisements found online which spread false information and trick internet users into parting with their cash and personal information.

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 – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Ministry of Justice’ – 24 August 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 they were being investigated for car tax 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.

Scam Alert – Counterfeit goods on second hand selling platforms – 23 August 2022

We are again warning residents to be wary of purchasing designer goods via second hand selling platforms due to a report of a residents receiving a counterfeit Apple watch.

Unfortunately, online marketplaces are popular with criminals who pretend to sell luxury brands at discount prices but are really offering low-quality fakes.

You have the legal right to a refund if you’ve bought something that’s fake or counterfeit. The Citizens Advice website provides further advice on what to do if the item you receive is a fake.

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

  • Place: Always buy from a reputable stockist (inc. Internet sites & platforms) or duty‐free outlet.
  • Price: If a deal looks too good to be true, it most probably is.
  • Packaging: Look out for poor quality labelling, including spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
  • Product: Look out for fake versions of well-known brands and be wary of unusual brand names you haven’t seen before.

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

Information Alert – Avian Influenza confirmed, and controls put in place at a premises near Gayton, Norfolk – 22 August 2022

On 21 August 2022, Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Gayton, Norfolk. A 3km Control Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the controls in place can be found in the declaratory order on our website.

We will be working with our colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to support local businesses and minimise the risk of the outbreak spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information on the housing measures is available from the GOV.UK website

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

Scam Alert – Letters claiming to be from the ‘Chartered Trading Standards Institute’ – 20 August 2022

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving a letter claiming to be from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) stating that the resident needed to contact them regarding their ‘shares’. The letter gave a contact name and telephone number in the text for this contact.

Fortunately, the resident was suspicious of the approach and contacted CTSI using a contact number provided by a trusted information source and CTSI confirmed the letter was a scam and the details given were not for them.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute have previously issued warnings about letters and emails using their name and branding which have made claims including:

  • That you have been ‘exposed to a company that CTSI have investigated in the past’
  • That ‘insurance scammers have been captured by Trading Standards’ and the letter recipient should fill in a ‘creditors debt form’ to obtain compensation

If you receive a letter claiming to be from The Chartered Trading Standards Institute, or any letter which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Safety Alert – Office for Product Safety and Standards issues safety warning for gas grills on specific Belling, Stoves and New World gas range cookers – 18 August 2022

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has issued a safety warning for gas grills on certain Belling, Stoves and New World gas range cookers.

If the gas grill is used with the door closed, there is a risk that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up, posing a significant risk of serious injury or death to those within the immediate environment.

Further information on the Safety Notice is available on the OPSS website

Consumers can also contact Glen Dimplex Home Appliances on 0800 110 5728 or visit the manufactures’ website:

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming ‘You’ve been in close contact with a person who has contracted Omicron’ – 18 August 2022

We are warning residents of text messages circulating claiming that ‘You’ve been in close contact with a person who has contracted the Omicron subvariant BA.5’.

The message also contains a link to ‘order a test kit’ which if followed goes to a bogus website which attempts to gather personal and payment details.

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.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents – 17 August 2022

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

Residents often report to us that they 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.

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 No cold calling zones scheme online.

Scam Alert - Fraudsters responding to adverts on Facebook marketplace – 11 August 2022

We are raising Norfolk residents’ awareness after a caller advised us of a scammer responding to a listing of unwanted goods for an online sale. In this case, the caller used Facebook marketplace to place the advert; however our advice relates to advertising on all second-hand sales internet platforms.

Our caller advised us that a buyer had contacted them through Facebook to say that she wanted to buy the advertised goods, but she couldn’t come to the house because she lived too far away, and she was working away. She continued saying that she had instructed parcel courier “GLS” to come and collect the parcel from the seller’s home and not to worry as it was all paid for. After few hours later the trickster contacted the seller again wanting money under the guise that anything paid out would come back as refunds when the parcel was collected. The seller paid that fee but after that the seller was told the transaction wasn't processed so must pay again. Further scamming continued as the buyer insisted the second transaction wasn't processed, so a different link was supplied from the “GLS Team” so the seller paid again. The fake “GLS team” was likely to be the same person and a big part of the hustle. They continued to send the seller email after email adding to the scam and convincing the seller that everything was real. In a last twist, the purchaser tried to say the GLS collection would be late by few hours unless they wanted to pay one last fee of £130, thankfully the bells of a scam rang. Through research on Facebook Messenger, our caller discovered that an account had been hijacked and it was this that was being used to direct the seller to a fake courier/parcel service emails similar to this: services.gls.express.2010@gmail.com.

We are continuing advising residents to be cautious when selling or purchasing items using second-hand selling sites, especially if you contacted and asked to follow links, are redirected or asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. If you are asked to part with funds, think first, as it is not what you wanted to do when you placed the original advert. If you are suspicious, stop and assess whether you wish to carry out further correspondence and be caught up in a scam that is going to take your money.

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