Consumer alerts

You can report scams to our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline using their online report form or by calling 03454 04 05 06.  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.

Information Alert: High Winds caused damage? Make sure you choose a trader with care – 18 January 2018

If your home has been damaged in the current bad weather getting repairs completed will be something you want to complete as quickly as possible, but make sure in all the haste you don’t end up with a rogue trader or poor quality repairs. Here is some advice to help you get the right trader and smooth repairs:

NEVER use cold callers who arrive at your property offering to undertake work:

Rogue Traders may use bad weather events as an opportunity to try to get householders to agree to them undertaking repairs. These cold callers rarely give householders proper contact details or their legal rights to cancel within 14 days. They may also claim more work is required than actually is to increase their profits and the work they do can often be of poor quality.

Choose reputable traders like a Norfolk Trusted Trader

When looking for a trader to undertake work on your property make sure they are a trader you can trust. This could be a member of the Norfolk Trading Standards Trusted Trader scheme, a business known to you that you’ve used before or by recommendation from a friend or family member. You can search the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader or call the Norfolk County Council customer service centre on 0344 800 8020

Get three (at least) quotes for the work

Try to get at least three traders to come to your property and provide proper written quotations to undertake the work required. Compare them carefully to help you choose the right trader for the job.

NEVER pay the full price upfront

Good businesses or tradesmen will not require payment until the work is finished to your satisfaction. Some may ask for a percentage to cover materials or specific parts if they are expensive but if the trader is asking for full payment upfront don’t contract with them.

Talk to your insurance company FIRST

If you have insurance on your property speak to the company before arranging any repairs. The company may require you to use a company approved by them or may want to see quotations before authorising the work and subsequent payment

If you need further advice on choosing a trader or help in dealing with disputes with companies contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Flyers offering Landscaping & Tree Surgery work – 18 January 2018

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of flyers being hand delivered offering landscaping and tree surgery work in the Poringland, Framlingham Earl and Dereham areas.

The flyers claim to offer a range of services and gives a Freephone and mobile contact number but no further details about the business.

Trading Standards advises 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.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity 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.

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.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers in the Norwich area offering Gravel – 15 January 2018

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after Norfolk Police received reports of cold callers in the Norwich area offering Gravel for driveways.

Trading Standards advises NEVER to deal with anyone who turns up at your door offering to do work or trying to sell items.

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.

It is possible these cold callers may move on to other parts Norfolk.

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Norfolk Trusted Trader offers a list of accredited traders covering everything from plumbing to gardening. For more information or to see our online directory click here.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers offering ‘free boilers’ – 12 January 2018

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a cold callers in the Bacton & Ludham areas claiming to be offering 'free boilers'.

These cold callers will claim the home owner ‘could be entitled to a free replacement boiler’. They are then stating they need a range of personal and financial information to 'check if you are eligible' for the scheme.

In previous incidents these types of cold callers have made claims about 'government' or 'local council backing' for the alleged scheme and have photographed documents and paperwork if offered on mobile phones.

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

Trading Standards always advises to be very wary of claims made during a cold call and NEVER agree to a service or for further visits if approached in this manner.

If you are approached by these cold callers DO NOT give or confirm any personal or financial information, close the door and then report the incident to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or to Norfolk Police on 101.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller offering ‘tree surgery work’ – 10 January 2018

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Broadland area offering tree surgery work.

The cold caller is driving a plain white transit style van and appears to be targeting elderly and vulnerable residents and offering to undertake work on trees at their property.

It is possible this Rogue Trader could move on to other areas in Norfolk.

Trading Standards advises never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property.  If you are looking to have this type of work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity 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.

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

Scam Alert – Binary Options investment scams – 9 January 2018

Norfolk Trading Standards are again receiving contacts regarding Binary Option investment scams.

Therefore we are taking the opportunity to repeat warnings and advice from Action Fraud regarding the offering of Binary Options as investment scams.

Binary Options are called ‘Binary’ because there can be only two outcomes – win or lose.  To trade, all you need to do is bet on whether the price of something will rise or fall below a certain amount - if it is correct, you win and get paid.  If not, you lose all of the money you originally invested.

You can choose various commodities to trade in such as gold, oil or stocks.  The value of a Binary Option is made up from the value of the asset you want to trade.  For example, you could bet at 2pm that the value of gold will either increase or decrease in price by 2.05pm.  You are not buying or selling the gold, just predicting whether the price of it will rise or fall.  Time periods involved tend to be very short (5 or 10 minutes) but some firms offer longer periods to bet over.

Fraud occurs when Binary Trading Platforms:

  • Offer a higher than average return on an investment
  • Refuse to credit customer accounts
  • Break all contact with the customer
  • Manipulate software to distort prices and payouts

There are many legitimate Binary Option Traders but currently none of them are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  At present binary options are regulated by the UK’s Gambling Commission, but only if the firm has remote gambling equipment located in Britain.  If this is not the case, any binary options that the firm offers will not be regulated either by the Gambling Commission or by the FCA.

Action Fraud offer the following advice around Binary Option scams:

  • If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is
  • If you get a call out of the blue from someone offering investment opportunities, be wary; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up
  • If in doubt, where you think a firm offering binary options may not be trustworthy or legitimate, do not transfer money to them or provide them with your bank details
  • Be mindful of any bonus structures and clauses preventing you from withdrawing funds
  • Make sure you have read and considered conditions set out by the company making it mandatory to “turn over” your original deposit over a multiple amount of times before you can withdraw your money
  • The Gambling Commission advises that UK consumers should research the market carefully before participating in such activities.  The Gambling Commission offer advice on their website
  • Check whether a company holds an operating licence by searching the Gambling Commission public register of licensees

If you think you’ve been the victim of an investment scam you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their online reporting form.

If you need advice about scams you can contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or via their online reporting form.

Information Alert – Citizens Advice consumer service – 21 December 2017

Christmas and New Year opening hours and consumer alert emails

If you need Consumer Advice over the festive period the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 will be open during the following times:

  • Friday 22 December – 9am-5pm
  • Monday 25 December – Closed
  • Tuesday 26 December – Closed
  • Wednesday 27 December – 9am-5pm
  • Thursday 28 December – 9am-5pm
  • Friday 29 December – 9am-5pm
  • Monday 1 January – Closed
  • Tuesday 2 January – 9am-5pm

Their online reporting form is also available throughout this period, but please remember the forms will only be actioned during their opening hours.

Please also be aware there will not be a Consumer Alert email issued on Thursday 28 December or Thursday 4 January.  The next scheduled Consumer Alert email will be issued on Thursday 11 January 2018.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling household cleaning items– 19 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are continuing to warn residents to be on their guard after receiving further reports of males going door to door selling household cleaning products.

We have received reports this week from the Hunstanton, Blakeney, Wells and Cromer areas.

The sellers are claiming that they have ‘recently been released from prison’ or working as part of a ‘youth offending order’.  In some incidents they have also claimed to be ‘licensed’ for this work and are displaying some form of identification on lanyards.  In some reports the cold callers have been described as persistent, aggressive and intimidating in their approach and demeanour especially when residents decline the offer to purchase items.

Trading Standards advises never to deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

It is possible these sellers may continue to move to other locations in the Norfolk area.

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – Lottery letters – 18 December 2017

The letters follow a similar format in that they state that the recipient of the letter has won a prize in a recent draw, usually totalling several hundred thousand pounds, and details on how to claim the prize via contact details are supplied.

These letters often also state that for ‘security reasons’ you should keep this win ‘confidential’.

Both of these are further examples of lottery scam letters and no prizes are available.  Anyone who makes contact via the details supplied will be persuaded to part with personal details and money as part of an ‘upfront processing fee’.

If you receive an unexpected letter claiming you have won a lottery you never entered dispose of it correctly without responding in any way.

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

  • If you haven’t entered a lottery then you can’t have won it.  Never respond to unexpected communications.
  • Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UK’s National Lotto.  No official lotteries that we know of contact people 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

See an example of a scam lottery letter

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from BT Openreach – 15 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be aware of telephone cold calls claiming to be from BT Openreach.

During the cold call the caller will claim that they have ‘detected issues with your Broadband Router’ and will then make a number of claims about scammers, hackers or malicious software ‘accessing your router’.

The cold caller will then tell you to switch your router off then back on again and let them ‘know which lights are showing’.  They will then attempt to convince the call recipient that any lights that are flashing (which is common on most routers whilst restarting) signifies a problem.

The cold caller will then try to gain remote access to the call recipients’ computer to ‘fix the problem’.

These calls are a scam and are not connected to the company the cold caller is claiming to be from.  Well-known computer companies and telecommunications providers do not cold call offering to fix problems with computers or broadband equipment.

We always advise to be very wary of telephone cold calls and the claims made during them.

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 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep coldcallers selling household cleaning items – 14 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are again warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of men going door to door selling household cleaning products.

We have received reports this week from the Great Yarmouth and Attleborough areas.

The sellers are claiming that they have ‘recently been released from prison’ or working as part of a ‘youth offending order’.  In some incidents they have also claimed to be ‘licensed’ for this work and are displaying some form of identification on lanyards.  In some reports the cold callers have been described as persistent, aggressive and intimidating in their approach and demeanour especially when residents decline the offer to purchase items.

Trading Standards advises never to deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

It is possible these sellers may continue to move to other locations in the Norfolk area.

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or on 03454 04 05 06, or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls asking ‘if you have been in a road accident in the last two years’ – 13 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents about telephone cold calls asking ‘if you have been in a road accident in the last two years’.

The calls, which appear to come from an automated system, ask ‘have you have been in a road accident in the last two years’ and then request that you provide a response.

Trading Standards advises if you receive one of these calls do not interact with the system and hang up.

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have given personal or financial details during a cold call contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 03454 04 05 06

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers collecting for the Alzheimer’s Society – 11 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Dereham, Watton and Thetford areas claiming to be collecting for the Alzheimer’s Society.

The cold callers were carrying collecting tins and are asking homeowners for ‘donations’.

The Alzheimer’s Society have confirmed they never cold call at properties asking for cash donations and never ask others to undertake this activity on their behalf.

If you see these doorstep cold callers in Norfolk please report it to Norfolk Police via 101.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity in their community 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.

Information Alert – Free call blockers to people living with dementia – 7 December 2017

Do you know someone with dementia who is receiving nuisance telephone calls?

The National Trading Standards scam team have secured government funding to provide a limited number of free call blockers to protect those in the most vulnerable circumstances from nuisance and scam calls.

If you know someone who could be eligible please make an initial application online at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/callblocker

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘garden clearance work’ – 5 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers in the Rackheath and Thorpe St Andrew areas offering Garden Clearance Work.

The cold callers appear to be targeting elderly and vulnerable residents and then charging excessive fees for substandard work.

It is possible these Rogue Traders could move on to other parts of Norfolk.

Trading Standards advises never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property.

If you are looking to have this type of work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity 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.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming ‘you have paid too much council tax’ – 5 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents about telephone cold calls claiming that ‘you have paid too much council tax’.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident regarding a call during which the cold caller stated the resident had ‘paid too much council tax’ and the caller could ‘arrange for a rebate to be paid’.  The cold caller then attempted to gather personal and financial details from the call recipient.

Trading Standards advises 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.

If you require information about your Council Tax, your properties Council Tax banding or potential discounts you are entitled to speak with your Local Council, you can find their details on the Gov.UK website.

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have given personal or financial details during a cold call contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their online reporting form or by telephone to 03454 04 05 06.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘free boilers’ – 1 December 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of telephone cold calls claiming to be offering ‘free boilers’.

In one incident a resident received a cold call stating they could offer a ‘free boiler’ if the resident was in receipt of ‘certain benefits’.  The cold caller then attempted to gain personal and financial information to ‘check eligibility for the scheme’.

Previously these types of cold calls have also attempted to arrange for a home visit as part of the ‘application’.

Trading Standards always advises to be very wary of claims made during a telephone cold call and never agree to a service or for home visits if approached in this manner.

If you receive one of these calls do not give or confirm any personal or financial information.  Hang up and report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or on 03454 04 05 06

Information Alert – Fingerlings – 30 November 2017

Fingerlings are looking to be this year's ‘must have toy’. With demand outstripping supply, this will lead to copy versions appearing in shops, markets, online stores and auction sites. These could be near copies, common names appearing including ‘Baby Monkey’, ‘Happy Monkey’ and ‘Finger Monkey’, or counterfeit versions presented as Fingerlings.

These copy and counterfeit versions could have safety issues.

If you are looking to purchase a Fingerling this Christmas, here are some top tips to ensure it is genuine:

  • Genuine Fingerlings will clearly say by WowWee
  • Each genuine Fingerling monkey has a different hair colour:
    • Mia – purple monkey with white hair
    • Zoe – teal monkey with pink hair
    • Finn – black monkey with blue hair
    • Boris – blue monkey with orange hair
    • Bella – pink monkey with yellow hair
    • Sophie – white monkey with pink hair
    • Liv – light blue monkey with pink hair (this one is only available in a ‘Play Set’)
  • Whichever monkey you are purchasing should be pictured on the packaging.  If the monkey differs from the one on the packaging it is a fake
  • Genuine Fingerlings are sold in blister packaging (a moulded plastic top sealed onto a cardboard backing sheet)
  • The packaging for genuine Fingerlings will say ‘40+ ways to play’ or ‘40+ sounds’
  • On Genuine Fingerlings the WowWee Logo will be on both the front and back of the packaging
  • On Genuine Fingerlings the WowWee address will be printed on the packaging:
    WowWee Canada Inc. 3700 Saint Patrick Street, Suite 206, Montreal, QC, H4E 1A2
  • Copy and fake versions will often have:
    • Different names like ‘Baby Monkey’, ‘Happy Monkey’ or ‘Finger Monkey’
    • Spelling and grammar errors on the packaging
    • Low-quality packaging
    • Monkeys with plastic hair
    • Monkeys that appear to be of low quality in their construction and finish

If you see copy or counterfeit versions of Fingerlings on sale in Norfolk you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

If you have purchased an item which you now believe is not genuine you can get advice on your consumer rights from the Citizens Advice website.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘CAB’ – 29 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘CAB’ and ‘Citizens Advice’ asking if you have debts.

This follows reports in recent days from Norfolk residents who have received calls.

Please remember Citizens Advice do not cold call regarding debt issues. If you receive one of these calls do not give or confirm any personal or financial information. Hang up and report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from BT – 29 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are receiving reports about telephone cold calls claiming to be from BT.

During the cold call the caller will state that they ‘can offer a discount on your current bill’ if you ‘agree to pay now over the phone’. The cold caller then attempts to get a credit or debit card details to ‘take the payment’

We always advise to be wary of telephone cold calls and any claims made. If you receive a suspicious call claiming to be BT, do not give or confirm any personal or financial details. Hang up, wait five minutes and then contact BT customer service on 0800 800 150.

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 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller offering ‘free boilers’ – 24 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a man cold calling in the Martham area claiming to be able to offer free boilers.

These cold callers will claim the home owner is entitled to a free boiler if they are on certain benefits. The caller will then attempt to gain personal and financial information.

Trading Standards always advises to be very wary of claims made during a cold call and never agree to a service or further visits if approached in this manner.

Anyone who has received one of these doorstep cold calls and has given information or agreed to a home visit should report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Information Alert – National Consumer Week 2017 – know what you're signing up for – 23 November 2017

Next week is National Consumer Week 2017.

This year it’s all about knowing what you’re signing up for online, and when you can get your money back if you signed up to something you weren’t expecting.

National Consumer Week runs from Monday 27 November to Sunday 3 December.

If you would like to help by sharing the message of the week, you can find out more about the campaign and download resources at the Citizens Advice website

We’ll be sharing lots of advice during National Consumer Week on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  If you’re not following us already why not check them out?

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from Sky – 23 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from Sky.

This follows a number of reports where Norfolk residents have received telephone cold calls claiming to be from Sky stating they are ‘due a refund’. The cold caller then attempts to gather bank account details to allow them to ‘process the refund’.

Trading Standards advises always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal or financial details.

If you are a Sky customer and you wish to check on the validity of any contact from them you should contact Sky Customer Services, details can be found on their website at contactus.sky.com/uk

If you need advice about telephone cold calling or have given or confirmed personal or financial details during a cold call contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their online reporting form or by telephone to 03454 04 05 06

Scam Alert – Computer ‘fault’ scams – 22 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards regularly receive reports from Norfolk residents who have received ‘computer fault’ scam telephone cold calls.

These callers claim to work for well-known computer software, telecoms or broadband suppliers.  The caller advises that there is a problem with the user’s computer or broadband equipment, often making claims about viruses and that they will be ‘cutting off broadband access’ if the recipient does not agree to immediate remedial work.

The caller will then then attempt to gain remote access to the computer.  This could give them the 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.

Victims can also end up being asked to pay for the ‘fixes’ the scammer has made to their computer.

If these people do not succeed at the first contact they are known to try calling again repeatedly.  Also where they have been successful in charging a fee the scammers have targeted people again telling them the ‘problem’ has returned.

Trading Standards have been issuing warnings around ‘computer fault’ cold calls for over five years but there seems to be little decrease in their number.  Fortunately the majority of the 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.

Please continue to share with others the information that well known computer companies or broadband providers never cold call offering to fix problems with computers or requesting personal or financial details.

If you are concerned about the security of your home computer or to fix problems or issues with it we would advise you to find a quality local trader like a Norfolk Trusted Trader.  You can search the Trusted Trader Directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader 

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 03454 04 05 06

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 21 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are again receiving reports about telephone cold calls claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

These reports include further incidents of automated recorded message calls saying ‘This is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.  We have been trying to reach you to let you know we are filing a law suit against you’.  The call then goes on to provide a list of ‘options’ including ‘Press One to speak to your case officer’.

HMRC state that if you receive a suspicious call or voicemail from ‘HMRC’ about ‘a lawsuit being brought against you’ it is a scam.  HMRC advise not to comply with any instructions given in the call and hang up.

 

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller offering roof cleaning – 20 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a man cold calling in the South Norwich area offering roof cleaning.

The male approached the resident as they came out of their property stating he could ‘clean all the moss off the roof today’ and quoted a price.  The resident declined the offer and the man returned to a small white van and drove off.

Trading Standards advises 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.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity 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.

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from TV Licencing stating you are ‘due a refund’ – 17 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning about emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licencing’ stating that you are ‘due a refund’.

This follows reports from a number of Norfolk residents who have received these emails in the last few days.

These email are not from TV Licencing and they advise that if you receive this, or a similar email message, you should delete it.  They also advise if you have received this type of email and already clicked on the link, do not enter or submit any information.  Remember TV Licencing will never:

  • Email you to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund
  • Ask you to pay additional money for their services, eg when you are buying a licence or changing your details

Information Alert – Buying online?  Check out our top 10 tips – 16 November 2017

With Black Friday fast approaching and many stores offering their deals already, Norfolk Trading Standards are offering our Top 10 Tips for buying safely online:

  1. If you’re buying online, make sure you use a secure form of payment.  Credit cards, debit card and secure payment sites like PayPal give you extra protection from fraud than other methods of payment.
    Be very wary of any site selling items that ask you to pay by direct money transfer as if offer little protection
  2. Before entering any payment details online, ensure the link is secure:
        i) A padlock symbol should appear in your browser window frame as you log in or register.  Make sure the padlock is not on the page itself. If it is it could be a fraudulent site
        ii) The web address should begin ‘https://…’ The ‘s’ stands for secure
        iii) In later versions of browsers, the address bar or name of the site will turn green
  3. If you’re buying from a website that you don’t know or for the first time make sure you check them out, especially if they’re claiming to have stock of this year ‘must have items’ that no one else has
    i) Does the site have full contact details?  If it’s just an email address be very wary.
    ii) Look online, what is the site’s reputation?  What are other customers saying about them?
    ii) Have a good look at the site and its quality.  What is the copy like, are there spelling mistakes, do all the links on the page work?
  4. Be very wary of strange links shared in emails or via social media to websites offering ‘deals’.  Make sure your antivirus and phone software is up to date so that you don’t fall victim to any kind of malware that could be lying in wait
  5. Looking to buy via an online auction site?  Always use a secure payment site, such as PayPal – never pay money directly into the bank account of someone you don’t know
  6. When buying from online auction sites, if something seems too much of a bargain, it probably is.  The goods could be poor quality, fake or not even exist.  Research the seller before you bid, check feedback if available (but remember it can be falsified), be cautious if the items are being supplied from outside the UK and if you’re in any doubt, back out of the purchase.
  7. If you’re buying electrical goods or toys online, make sure they’re safe, check:
        i) The voltage for the product is 230v 50Hz (the UK’s usual domestic voltage)
        ii) That it’s fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger
        iii) The item is CE marked
  8. This is a very busy time of year for many websites.  Make sure you order in plenty of time and get them to confirm the delivery date in writing.  If it’s just an estimated date it could change and you could end up waiting till after Christmas for the delivery
  9. If you need to return anything, proof of purchase is very important.  Keep receipts, electronic or otherwise
  10. Upon receipt of items brought online, check them before wrapping them.  This way you’ll avoid disappointment on Christmas day and can sort problems quickly with the supplier

Need more advice following an online purchase?  Contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service – 15 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are again receiving reports about telephone cold calls claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

During the calls the cold caller claims that they calling from or on behalf of the Telephone Preference Service and they are ‘checking details and if you still wish to be registered with the TPS’.

The cold caller then attempts to gather personal information and credit or debit card details from the call recipient.

These calls are not genuine and are not connected with the TPS in any way.  The TPS will never cold call requesting payment or card details.

It is free to sign up to the TPS register and once an individual's telephone number is on the TPS, it will remain on it and there is no need to update the registration.

If you receive a cold call claiming to be from the TPS do not give or confirm any details, hang up and report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

To register with the TPS call 0345 070 0707 or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk

Rogue Trader Alert – Flyers offering garden and tree surgery work – 14 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of flyers being hand delivered offering garden and tree surgery work in the Hethersett area.

The flyers claim to offer a range of garden work and give a freephone and mobile contact number but no further details about the business.

Trading Standards advises 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.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity 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.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from Lloyds Bank – 9 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards have been made aware of telephone cold calls claiming to be from Lloyds Bank.

This follows an incident where a Norfolk resident received a telephone cold call claiming to be from the ‘Lloyds Bank Investigative Department’ which stated that employees of the residents’ local branch are ‘committing scams’, which they are investigating.  The resident was then advised that ‘to keep their money safe’ they should ‘transfer it into a new account that had set up for them’. The cold caller then gave details including a new account number and sort code to use.

The resident was instructed not to tell anyone about the call, but to go their local branch and transfer money to their ‘new account’, making sure to leave less than £500 in the account, as the ‘scammers’ within the branch ‘wouldn’t look at any account containing less than £500’.

The resident was advised that they would be sent a new bank card for the account ‘in a few days’. The ‘Lloyds Bank Investigative Department’ then called back the next day to ensure that the money had been transferred.  

If you receive a call claiming to be your bank or building society asking you to transfer money to a new account or to hand over card details - it is a scam.

Never give any personal information or financial details and hang up immediately.

Also your bank or building society will never ask you for your passcode, PIN number or online banking passwords or other confidential information.  Never give them out, even by dialling them on the phone.

If you suspect a cold call is a scam, hang up, wait five minutes for the line to clear or use another phone and call your bank or building society on a phone number that you know is official. This can normally be found on the company’s genuine website, official app, on a recent statement or on the back of your debit/credit card.  If the incident occurs during opening hours you can also report any incident at a local branch of your bank or building society.

If you receive a cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents in the Norwich area – 7 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of a cold calling incidents in the south Norwich area.

Two males were seen going door to door, during one cold call they stated that soffits and fascias on the property ‘would need replacing’.  The males were described as ‘young and casually dressed’ and were carrying leaflets about ‘energy efficient properties’.

Trading Standards advises never to deal with anyone who turns up at your door offering work on or around your property.

When looking to have this type of work done only deal with reputable companies you have researched, chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from.

It is possible these cold callers may move on to other parts Norfolk.

Anyone sighting these cold callers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Looking for a Trader you can Trust ? Norfolk Trusted Trader offers a list of accredited traders covering everything from plumbing to gardening. For more information or to see our online directory visit the Norfolk Trusted Trader website.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling household cleaning items– 6 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are continuing to warn residents to be on their guard after receiving further reports of males going door to door selling household cleaning products.

This week reports have been received from the Cromer, Swaffham, Dereham, and Fakenham areas.

The sellers are claiming that they have ‘recently been released from prison’ or working as part of a ‘youth offending order’.  In some incidents they have also claimed to be ‘licensed’ for this work and are displaying some form of identification on lanyards.  In some reports the cold callers have been described as persistent, aggressive and intimidating in their approach and demeanour especially when residents decline the offer to purchase items.

Trading Standards advises never to deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something.

It is possible these sellers may continue to move to other locations in the Norfolk area.

Anyone sighting these sellers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or to Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be offering ‘Government grants’ for replacement boilers – 2 November 2017

Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be offering ‘Government grants’ for replacement boilers after receiving a number of reports in recent days.

Trading Standards advises always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and NEVER give or confirm any personal details or agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.

Impartial advice on energy saving and accessing genuine grants is available for the Energy Saving Trust

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 their online reporting form or by telephone to 03454 04 05 06.