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Consumer scam alerts

You can report scams to our partners, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, using the Citizens Advice online reporting form or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone), or you can report a scam to Action Fraud, the UK national fraud office using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers in the Hingham area – 15 October 2020

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

Two men have been seen going door to door this morning, both are wearing branded tabards.

Our advice is always 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 on freephone 0808 223 1133

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents – 15 October 2020

Watch out for doorstep cold calling even if you are displaying a No Cold Calling sticker.

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

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

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

  • If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep so your decision whether you even answer the door, if you can check through a spy hole or look from a window to see who is there
  • Think about your home security, make sure other doors to your property are locked before answering the front door
  • If the person is offering services or trying to sell something politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
  • If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or charity ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book, DO NOT use information on the ID, it could be fake
    If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you 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.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Door to door fish sellers – 14 October 2020

Be vigilant for cold callers selling fish door to door.

This follows an incident in the Carleton Rode area where a resident was cold called at their property by a man who offered to sell them fish.

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

Our advice is do not deal with cold callers and never be pressurised into buying on the doorstep.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling household cleaning and Christmas products – 14 October 2020

Watch out for doorstep cold callers trying to sell household cleaning and Christmas products.

This follows an incident where two men have been seen cold calling at properties in the Drayton area. At one property they claimed that they were ‘ex offenders’ selling items ‘as part of a rehab scheme’. They were carrying rucksacks containing household cleaning items, Christmas cards and wrapping paper. The resident declined the offer and reported the incident.

Our advice is never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something. It is possible these sellers will continue to move onto other locations in Norfolk.

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

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

Scam Alert – Text messages about your accounts or payments – 13 October 2020

Watch out for text messages claiming to be from various companies and organisations stating there are issues with accounts or payments.

Image showing some examples of scam text messages.

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

The messages will often claim that accounts have been frozen, that money is about to leave the account, that payments can’t be made or that there is unusual or fraudulent activity with the aim of panicking the recipient into reacting.

If you receive messages like these 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

You can report suspicious or spam text messages to your network operator by forwarding the message to 7726. You may get an automated response thanking you for the report and giving you further instructions if needed. You will not be charged for sending texts to 7726.

If you are concerned about the security of an account contact the 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 suspicious text message.

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘Royal Mail’ – 8 October 2020

Scam emails are circulating, claiming to be from Royal Mail.

image showing an example of what a scam email may look like

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the email pictured above, which states "a £1.00 shipping cost have not been paid". The email then offers a link to ‘pay now’ with the claim that "if shipping cost is not paid within 48 hours the package will be returned."

The poorly worded email is not genuine and is not from Royal Mail. Often these scam messages will claim that the package in question contains high value items, in this case a Galaxy S20+ smartphone, in an attempt to persuade more people to pay the small fee required.

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected emails and never click on any links or open attachments.

You can see further examples of fake Royal Mail emails and how to report ones received to them on the Royal Mail website.

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

Information Alert – Green Homes Grant vouchers – 7 October 2020

The Government has launched the Green Homes Grant, designed to help homeowners and landlords with the costs of installing energy efficient improvements in the home.

However, when the Government launches high profile schemes like this, criminals will try to cash in and exploit those wishing to take up the scheme. If you want to use the scheme, it’s essential to know how it works.

  • Check if you are eligible
  • Check what improvements are covered
  • Check for certified installers (look for the TrustMark)
  • Get a quote for the work from a TrustMark-registered tradesperson
  • Apply for the voucher

Homeowners and landlords can apply for a voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to homes. The Government will provide a voucher that covers up to two thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements to your home. The maximum value of the voucher is £5,000.

You may be able to receive a higher level of subsidy if you are a homeowner and either you or a member of your household receives one of the qualifying benefits, covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of these voucher is £10,000.

The voucher must be redeemed, and all improvements completed by March 31, 2021.

No Green Homes Scheme representative will contact you to encourage you to take advantage of the scheme.

If you are contacted by anyone, claiming to be part of the Green Homes Scheme, on the phone or on your doorstep, report them to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

To find out more about how to apply for a Green Home Grant visit the Simple Energy Advice website

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘fraudulent activity on your debit card’ – 7 October 2020

Watch out for automated telephone calls which claim that ‘fraudulent activity has been detected on your debit card’.

During the call, which gives no information about which bank or card provider the call is from, the message then goes on to give press button options to ‘talk to the fraud team’.

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.

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 freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘your recent accident’ – 6 October 2020

A Norfolk resident has reported telephone cold calls claiming to be about ‘your recent accident’.

The call was displaying a caller ID number using the STD code for the Bishop Auckland area, but this number is highly likely to have been spoofed by the cold caller.

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Mystery shopper recruitment scams – 6 October 2020

Fraudsters are targeting jobseekers with a recruitment scam that has already claimed 35 victims with losses totalling over £51,000. All the victims have so far been from London.

The fraudsters use recruitment websites and apps to identify potential targets. The victim is then cold called by someone claiming to be an employee of a mobile phone network. The caller explains to the victim that they will need to take part in a “mystery shopper” test in order to pass the recruitment process.

The victim is instructed to visit one of the mobile network’s high street stores and take out a phone contract using the victim’s own personal and financial details. They are assured that the contract will be cancelled after the recruitment process is completed.

Once the victim has successfully taken out the contract, they are directed to drop-off points to deliver the phone and SIM card to a ‘colleague’ of the caller. The victim is reassured that the contract will be terminated.

In reality, the victim will never hear from the suspects again, and are left liable for the mobile phone contract they were convinced to purchase. Some victims are also asked to move the "employer’s" money through their own bank accounts, putting them at risk of committing money laundering offences. Others find out that their personal details have been used to take out loans, for which they are also now liable.

If you are looking for work via recruitment websites remember:

  • Personal information such as your full address, date of birth, or NI number should not be included on your CV or public profiles on recruitment sites
  • To protect yourself against identity theft, always verify that the employer/recruiter you’re speaking with is who they say they are. Contact the employer via a telephone number or email address on their official website, or via the company’s verified social media accounts.
  • Never allow an employer to move their money through your personal bank account. Legitimate employers won’t ask you to do this.

For more advice and information about recruitment scams, visit the Safer Jobs website.

Scam Alert - Fake Facebook pages - 1 October 2020

We're continuing to receive reports of fake pages on Facebook claiming to be well-known brands or retail chains.  Recently this has included several pages claiming to be large holiday companies offering 'free holidays'.

Post from a fake Facebook page claiming to give away free holidays at Center Parcs.

The fake pages then attempt to get people to engage with them by claiming to be offering discounts, prizes and giveaways.  Sometimes this will be by asking you to like, share and comment on the post - which increases the reach of the fake page.  They may also provide links to other pages that you must follow as part of the competition entry.

These fake pages can often gather tens of thousands of shares within hours of being posted.

If you see a competition on Facebook, take a moment to check before you click on it:

  • Is the page verified?  Public figures, media companies and larger brands can apply to Facebook for the blue verification tick - although this is not open to smaller companies.
  • Look at the name closely.  Some fake pages will alter the name of the genuine page slightly by adding additional punctuation or change spaces between parts of the name.
  • Take a closer look at the page, including the page history.  When was it registered?
  • What other posts have they made?  If the only posts are recent, or it's limited to just the offer or giveaway, take this as a warning sign.
  • Look around the page.  Is the information you would expect to see there?  Many fake pages leave these areas blank.
  • How many followers does the page have?  Well-known brands will have high figures, whereas a recently registered page will still be on low numbers.
  • What information is being asked for?  Many of these fake pages will say you need to 'complete a quick survey' as part of the claiming process.  Never give any personal information unless you know exactly who you are giving it to and what they are going to do with it.
  • If they are asking for financial or banking information to enter a competition stop and leave the page immediately.

If you can't be sure about the authenticity of a Facebook page, do not interact with it.

If you have responded to what you now think could be a fake Facebook page:

  • If you have liked, shared or commented be aware you could be targeted with further scam postings or contacts
  • If you have given personal information like email address or contact numbers be aware for scam contacts via these routes
  • If you have given banking or financial information, contact your bank or card provider immediately to protect your accounts

You can report fake Facebook pages, or other scam contacts, to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Emails claiming to be from Netflix - 28 September 2020

Scammers are continuing to exploit the popularity of streaming services by sending large numbers of emails claiming there are problems with your billing or subscription.

Scam email with title "Revision status of subscription"

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the email pictured above, where they are asked to follow a link to update their payment details.

Always be wary of claims made in unexpected emails and never click on any links or open attachments.

Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:

  • We will never ask for your personal information over email, such as passwords or bank account details.
  • If you receive a suspicious email:
    • Don't click any of the links or open any of the attachments
    • Forward the email to phishing@netflix.com
    • Delete the email.

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

Information Alert - Damage caused by bad weather?  Make sure you choose a trader with care - 28 September 2020

If your home has been damaged by the recent bad weather, getting repairs completed will be something you want to do as quickly as possible.  Make sure in the hurry to get things fixed you don't end up with a rogue trader or poor-quality repairs.  The following advice will 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 and an opportunity to try and 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 is actually necessary 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 someone to undertake work on your property, make sure they're a trader you can trust.  This could be a member of the Norfolk Trading Standards Trusted Trader scheme, a business you've used before, or a 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 at least 3 quotes for the work

Try to get at least 3 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 and tradespeople 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 it 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 your insurance company before arranging any repairs.  They may require you to use a company approved by them, or want to see quotations before authorising the work and subsequent payment.

If you need further advice on choosing a trader, or help dealing with disputes with companies, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Emails attempting to blackmail the recipient - 25 September 2020

Norfolk residents have reported receiving emails which attempt to blackmail the recipient.

The emails often state they have 'accessed your device' or have been 'monitoring you online', and sometimes include a password that will be known to the recipient.

Scam email which starts "Several months ago, I goes access to the device you are using the browse the internet.  Since that time, I have been monitoring your internet activity."

In the emails, the sender often claims to have access to 'accounts, social networks, email, browsing history' and makes accusations about websites you have visited.  They then threaten to post this information online or share it with your contacts unless they're paid an amount in Bitcoin.

Action Fraud offer the following advice on how to protect yourself from this type of email:

  • Don't reply to the email or be pressured into paying - doing so will only highlight that you're vulnerable and you could be targeted again.  The police advise that you do not pay criminals.  Try flagging the email as spam or junk if you receive it multiple times.
  • Reset your password on any accounts where you've used the password mentioned in the email.  Always use a strong, separate password for important accounts such as your email.  Where possible, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
  • Always install the latest software and app updates.  Install and enable anti-virus software on your computers and keep it updated.
  • If you have received one of these emails and paid the amount requested, report it to your local police force.  If you have not paid, report the email as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud using their online form or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 17 September 2020

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call this week during which the cold caller asked various questions about the property's insulation and made various references to ‘Government grants’ and ‘green schemes’. The caller then attempted to make an appointment for a ‘surveyor’ to visit.

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

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from the ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’ about an unpaid ‘Penalty Charge Notice’ – 16 September 2020

We are warning residents about emails circulating claiming to be from the HM Courts & Tribunals Service after receiving a number of reports this week.

Example of an email scam claiming to be from the ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’ about an unpaid ‘Penalty Charge Notice

The email claims the recipient has driven on a road that has a charging scheme and as such a penalty is payable, however the email does not give details of the vehicle, the location, nor the date or time of the incident.

These emails are not genuine. If you receive the same or a similar email, do not click the link. This is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal information and money. There is likely to be a number of variations of this email in circulation.

If you receive this, or a similar email, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘garden work’ – 15 September 2020

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

This follows an incident where an elderly resident paid £120 to two cold callers who then did a few minutes' work, which was completed to a very poor standard, before they were seen to leave in a grey Citroen van.

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

It is possible these rogue traders could move on to other areas around Norwich and Norfolk.

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

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

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers offering ‘green energy products’– 14 September 2020

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

In the incident a resident received a doorstep cold call from a man who stated that ‘the Government wants to cut carbon emissions down to zero’. At this point the resident asked the cold caller to leave their property and reported the cold call to us.

Our advice is always be very wary of claims made by doorstep cold callers and never give access to your property, agree to services, buy items or for return visits if approached in this manner.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Online adverts looking for traders to undertake work on properties – 11 September 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after a Gorleston resident was scammed for £1,400 by a rogue trader.

The resident reported that after posting an advert online stating they required roofing work, they received a phone call from a man who falsely claimed to represent a genuine out of county business.
Three males subsequently arrived in a white van and quoted £200 for the work.

Having gained access to the roof, the men then claimed there was rot present which meant the price would increase to £1,400. The men were very persistent when demanding payment, stating it required a cash payment up front, even suggested they could take the resident to the bank to withdraw cash.

It is possible these rogue traders could move on to other areas around Norfolk and also be responding to other online requests for work.

Our advice is always think #CHECK when choosing a trader or business to do work on your home.

Checklist of advice for anyone looking to have work done on their property

Information Alert – TV Licences for over 75s – 10 September 2020

TV Licensing has started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them to either pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one. These letters will include your licence number, your title and your last name and they will only ask you to pay using the following options:

It is likely that scammers will use this period to attempt to scam people by sending out fake versions of the information using other communication routes in an attempt to gather personal or financial details or to take fraudulent payments.

The National Pensioners Convention are reminding those over to 75 to be aware of scams at this time, if you are approached in any of the following ways in regard to TV Licensing it is a scam:

  • Anyone coming to your doorstep
  • Texts offering a free TV licence for a year and asking for your bank details
  • Emails claiming you owe money to the TVLA and to go online to pay it. Some emails also state you could go to court if you don’t pay
  • Letters supposedly from Television Licensing saying your details need updating because there is a problem and asking you to go online to enter them

If you’re unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6117 to speak with someone who can help.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 9 September 2020

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

Recent reports have included an automated recorded message calls which state they are from ‘HMRC’ and threaten ‘immediate arrest if you do not respond by pressing 1’.

These calls are appearing to come from a range of different ‘spoofed’ numbers and some residents are reporting receiving a number of calls in quick succession.

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

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

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

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘appliance warrantees’ – 5 September 2020

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

This follows a number of reports from residents about this type of cold call, which have included:

  • In one report a resident received a call claiming to be a ‘renewal of their washing machine warranty’. The cold caller then attempted to take card details for the payment, when the resident attempted to question this the cold caller was persistent in their demands. When the resident refused to give details, the cold caller became verbally aggressive
  • In other reports residents have questioned the cold caller about details for the appliance which the policy is being renewed on and the cold caller gives non-comital or wrong information

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

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 4 September 2020

There continues to be a range of emails circulating claiming to be from TV Licencing. Common themes for these emails are claims that there is an issue with your direct debit and then provides a link to enable the recipient to resolve the ‘issue’.

We are sorry to let you know that the TV license could not be automatically renewed.  Something's gone wrong with your payments.  As we couldn't take the latest payment from your bank account, this amount will also need to be paid when you set up your new  Direct Debit. Update your Direct Debit: Remember, if you don't keep up with your payments we may be forced to cancel your license or pass your details to a debt collection agency.  To change your payment method have a look at all our options. So all you need to do is make sure you have enough money in your account. Or if you prefer to pay the missed amount now, you can sign in online and pay using your debit or credit card.  While you're signed in please make sure we have your correct bank details.

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

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming ‘your internet access will be shut down’ – 3 September 2020

We are again receiving reports about telephone cold calls delivering a recorded message stating that ‘your internet access will be shut down within 24 hours’, the message goes on to claim that this is due to ‘suspicious activity’.

It then gives you options to ‘press 1 to speak to our technical team’ or to ‘press 2 to authorise the shutdown’.

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

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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller offering ‘tree services’ – 2 September 2020

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

During the incident a male was seen going door to door offering to trim or lop trees. The male was seen to return to a white dropside van.

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

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

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

Information Alert – Have you registered your poultry? – 1 September 2020

If you keep poultry whether they are in your garden, on a small holding or on a farm you must register using the compulsory registration form within one month of keeping 50 or more birds.

You can choose to register fewer than 50 birds, or birds you keep as pets. This is something we would encourage you to do, so that the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) can contact you if there’s a disease outbreak (such as bird flu) in your area.

For more information visit the GOV.UK website.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 1 September 2020

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

In one report a resident was cold called by a man who stated he was calling from BT ‘to process a refund of £200’ on the residents’ bill. The cold caller then attempted to gather personal and financial details from the resident.

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

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

You can report scam calls claiming to be from BT at www.bt.com/scams.

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 – Scam text messages claiming to be from ‘Netflix’ – 27 August 2020

Scammers are exploiting the increasing popularity of streaming services such as Netflix. Norfolk residents are reporting receiving fake text messages saying "Your details need updating since we couldn't process your latest payment. To avoid any fees visit this link" or similar wording.

Always be wary of claims made in unexpected texts and never click on any links.

Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam messages:

  • We will never ask for your personal information over email or text such as passwords or bank account details

If you receive a suspicious text:

  • Don’t click any of the links or reply
  • Forward the information to phishing@netflix.com
  • Delete the text

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘DHL’ – 26 August 2020

With the amount of online shopping increasing during the current COVID-19 pandemic we have received information about scam emails claiming to be from parcel delivery companies.

Your package is waiting for delivery. To complete the delivery as soon as possible please confirm the payment (1.99 GBP). Online confirmation must be made within the next 14 days before the deadline. You received this email because you are registered with DHL.

 

A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the email pictured above, where they are asked to follow a link to make a small payment to ‘complete the delivery as soon as possible’.

Always be wary of claims made in unexpected emails and never click on any links or open attachments.

DHL offer the following advice on their website:

  • Attempts have been made to defraud Internet shoppers by the unauthorised use of the DHL name and brand via email communications and graphics which appear, on the surface, to have originated from DHL
  • In most cases the communications concern the sale of consumer goods over the Internet where payment may be requested before the goods are delivered
  • Please be advised that DHL does not request payment in this manner. DHL only collects money due for official DHL related shipping expenses

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

Scam Alert – Fake trade brokers offering investment opportunities – 26 August 2020

We have received a report from a Norfolk resident who has fallen victim to an online trade broker scam. The resident invested money with a trading company website and decided to invest more money after making a reasonable profit within a few days. However, when the resident decided to cancel the investment and request their funds be withdrawn, as per the stated terms and conditions, it became apparent that there was no customer service to contacted.

UK consumers are being increasingly targeted by investment scams carried out via online trading platforms where fraudsters offer trades in foreign exchange, contracts for difference and cryptoassets such as bitcoin.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published advice on how to protect yourself from online trading scams which can be found via the FCA website

Advice includes:

  • Be wary of adverts promising high returns
  • Don’t be pressured to invest quickly
  • Always do your own research
  • Check the FCA register to confirm they are authorised to carry out financial services within the UK
  • Check the FCA warning list to see if the firm is known to be operating without authorisation
  • Check with Companies House to see if the firm is registered as a UK company

If you have been victim to a trade broker scam you can report this to the Financial Conduct Authority by calling their freephone number 0800 111 6768 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm or email consumer.queries@fca.org.uk

Information Alert – Could you be a SCAMChampion – 25 August 2020

SCAMchampions are part of the National Trading Standards Scams Team Friends Against Scams scheme who want to do more to ensure all our communities are scam aware.

They can host awareness sessions to recruit Friends and drive Friends Against Scams forward in their communities or workplace.

SCAMchampions attend an additional training session, either online or face-to-face, to give them a fuller understanding of the laws surrounding scams and some presentation tips.

For more information on the role, or to become a SCAMchampion visit the Friends Against Scams website.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 24 August 2020

There continues to be a range of emails circulating claiming to be from TV Licencing. A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the below email which claims there is an issue with their direct debit and requests they follow the link provided so that this can be resolved. We have removed the license number referenced in the email, however this number was false and did not relate to the residents account.

Tomorrow is your last chance to remain licensed. You won't be covered if you let your licence expire. As we couldn't take the latest payment from your bank account, this amount will also need to be paid when you set your Direct Debit. Your TV licence details. Licence number: Licence expiry date: 15 August 2020

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

Our advice is always be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and never click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Facebook Messenger messages asking to use your PayPal account – 20 August 2020

There has been a surge of reports where the recipient has received messages through Facebook Messenger from friends or family requesting to use their PayPal account to receive funds from the sale of items on eBay. Overall, between 1 June and 31 July 2020 a total of 95 reports have been made to Action Fraud, which specifically mention that the item sold was a camera.

Messages are sent by fraudsters purporting to be friends or family stating that they have sold a camera on eBay but that they are unable to process the payment as they either do not have a PayPal account or because their PayPal account is not working. The request is that the message recipient receives the funds into their own Pay Pal account, then, after transferring it into their own bank account, they forward it onto an account controlled by the fraudster.

If the victim agrees the payment is transferred into their Pay Pal account but, after the money is transferred out, the initial transaction is reversed leaving the account in negative balance.

Multiple reports have also been received from victims stating that their Facebook Messenger accounts have been hacked and that these fraudulent messages have been sent to all their contacts on their behalf.

The total reported loss for these reports is £44,035.

Follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • Verify financial requests – Be wary of unusual messages asking for assistance with financial transactions. Even if the message appears to be from someone you know and trust, you should check it’s really them that sent the message by calling them or speaking with them in person
  • Unusual financial requests – Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred through your account, by someone you don’t know and trust
  • Secure your accounts – You can protect your important online accounts by using a strong separate password and, where available, turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • If you have made a payment – Inform your bank, or payment service provider, such as PayPal, as soon as possible. They can help you prevent any further losses. You should also monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity

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

Information Alert – Friends Against Scams, live online sessions – 19 August 2020

With scams remaining an ever-present issue, the recent rise in COVID-19 related scams has made it as important as ever to ensure as many people as possible are scam aware.

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims by empowering everyone to take a stand against scams.

Friends Against Scams is designed to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem, change the perceptions of why people fall for scams and make scams a community, regional and national topic.

Currently face to face Friends Against Scams training sessions are on hold due to COVID-19 but our colleagues at NatWest who are part of Friends Against Scams are now able to offer virtual training sessions to groups via Zoom.

If you are part of a community group in Norfolk who are meeting up virtually and would be interesting in receiving a Friends Against Scams training session, please contact any of the NatWest Norfolk Community Bankers, their contact details are:

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold caller asking for internet provider details – 17 August 2020

We are warning residents following a report we have received today about a man cold calling properties in the NR2 area of Norwich who is requesting personal details and internet provider information.

The man is wearing ID, however the card is not visible and he declined to state his name or business details when asked by the resident.

Our advice to residents is:

  • 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 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 gather information regarding their description or vehicle this information is very useful to us and the police when looking at cold calling incidents

You can report doorstep cold calling to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Constabulary on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

Why not consider setting up a No Cold Calling zone in your community? Find out more about No Cold Calling Zones.

If you would like one of our No Cold Calling door stickers contact us on 0344 800 8020.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’ – 14 August 2020

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

In recent weeks we have received a number reports from residents who are receiving cold calls claiming to be from Amazon. Examples of these calls include:

  • Cold calls where the caller claims to be from Amazon and states that a payment of £79 is due and ‘must be paid immediately’. The cold caller then attempts to get the call recipient to log into Amazon on their computer
  • Recorded message calls claiming ‘your Amazon Prime subscription is about to expire, and a payment of £79 will be automatically taken’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to cancel the payment’
  • Recorded message calls claiming your Amazon account ‘is about to be cancelled unless you update your bank details’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to speak to customer service’
  • Recorded message calls making similar claims but referencing ‘Amazon Prime Video subscriptions’

Some residents have reported receiving multiple calls within a day delivering the same message but originating from different numbers.

In previous reports, where residents have interacted with recorded message calls, they have then been connected to a person who attempts to gather personal, account or financial details.

These calls are a scam and are not connected with Amazon in any way. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call, do not give or confirm any information 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 their freephone number 0808 223 1133.

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