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Consumer scam alerts

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Never use links or details provided in a text message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Alert – EasyJet Cyber Incident – 19 May 2020

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



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

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

There is more information on the NCSC website:

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

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

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

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

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

Courier fraud happens when a fraudster contacts a victim by telephone claiming to be a police officer, bank or from a government department, among other agencies. Several techniques will then be adopted in order to convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which may then be passed on to a courier.

Residents are reminded that neither your bank nor the police will never ask you to withdraw money or purchase items.

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

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

In an emergency always call 999.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These calls are a scam and are not connected with Amazon in any way. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courier fraud happens when a fraudster contacts a victim by telephone claiming to be a police officer, bank or from a government department, among other agencies. Several techniques will then be adopted in order to convince the victim to hand over their bank details or cash, which may then be passed on to a courier.

Residents are reminded that neither your bank nor the police will ever ask you to withdraw money or purchase items.

Further advice includes:

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

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

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

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

In an emergency always call 999.

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To help protect yourself from scams like this:

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

More information is available on the Action Fraud Website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The CMA has identified 3 sectors of particular concern:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

With a surge in membership to online video streaming services during the current lockdown scammers will often react to these situations and increase the number of these communications in circulation.Our advice is ALWAYS be wary of claims made in unexpected email approaches and NEVER click on links or open attachments if approached in this way.Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:How do I know if an email or text is actually from Netflix?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View further information on the NCSC Suspicious Email Reporting Service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be distributing masks and hand sanitiser to ‘over 50s’ – 16 April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is both dangerous and illegal.

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

Information Alert – Businesses continuing to trade during current restrictions – 7 April 2020

We are continuing to receive a high number of contacts about businesses remaining open during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Please note that not all non-essential businesses have to close. In fact, the government has made it clear that it is important for business to carry on.

Businesses can remain open if they are not on the current list of businesses that must close.

Guidance is available on the GOV.UK website including lists all businesses that must close, with some exceptions, this can be found by visiting the GOV.UK website

Please refer to this guidance before contacting us.

To report a business to us, contact our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘British Gas’ – 6 April 2020

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

One recent example, which included the recipient's email address within the greeting, claimed that ‘Your bill is still overdue and needs paying’, before going on to detail a range of charges which could be made along with a link to ‘Pay us online now’.

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold callers claiming to be police officers – 2 April 2020

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

In the first incident a resident received a call from a man claiming to be DI Mark Andrews from Paddington Police Station. The resident was asked to dial 999 as her husband’s bank card was being used fraudulently and upon her call she would be given further instruction. Thankfully the resident was suspicious, hung up and contacted the police from a different telephone.

In the second incident, another resident received a call from a man claiming to be DI Mark Andrews from Paddington Police Station. The resident was told that his card had been cloned, to go the bank to withdraw a sum of money and not to tell anybody what was happening. Thankfully the resident’s son intervened and told him he thought it was a scam.

Norfolk Police are reminding residents that genuine police officers or staff will never approach residents and ask for cash withdrawals to be made or for people to purchase items on their behalf. In addition, they are offering the following advice:

  • Don’t be rushed into complying with the scammers demands or requests
  • Never give out personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
  • If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up and call 101 using a different phone. If you can't use a different phone, wait at least five minutes before calling back. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check
  • Police and banks will never ask you to give out personal details such as account numbers or PIN numbers
  • If you're asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on. Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ring tones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number. Use a friend or neighbour's telephone instead
  • If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank to cancel your cards as soon as possible
  • Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere
  • Never download any software suggested by caller

Norfolk Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have received a similar type of telephone call or has any information about these incidents. Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Public Health England’ – 1 April 2020

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone cold calls claiming to be the ‘Public Health England’.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the caller asked 'if you've received your letter from the Government' before attempting to find out what support the call recipient is receiving from family and friends along with other personal details.

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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘garden work’ – 1 April 2020

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

We advise never deal with cold callers looking to carry out work on or around your property.

Anyone concerned about possible rogue trader activity in Norfolk can contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone 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.

Scam Alert – Text messages about ‘your latest bill’ – 31 March 2020

We have received reports from residents about text messages claiming to be from mobile phone network providers stating they have been unable to take payment for ‘your latest bill’:



The messages then offer a link to ‘update your payment information’.

These texts are not genuine. Anyone following the link will be taken to a fake version of the network providers website which will then attempt to gather personal and financial information.

There have also been messages circulating on social media and via message apps containing a warning about these texts:

 

The message makes several claims about these texts and states ‘as soon as you touch it the money is gone’. This message is not connected with City of London Police, Danske Bank or Santander in any way. The claims are not correct and wildly overstate how these text scam attempts work and causes unnecessary alarm. Please do not share this message if received.

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’ – 30 March 2020

We are aware that emails claiming to be from TV Licencing are continuing to circulate.

Recent examples have included emails claiming that ‘the TV Licence could not be automatically renewed’.

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

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

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.

Information Alert – Norfolk Community Law Service, requests for Employment Law Advice – 30 March 2020

Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) have released the following information:

NCLS office is closed due to the Coronavirus. We may still be able to help with your legal problems and you can reach us by calling 01603 496623 and speak to a member of staff or leave a message. Alternatively you can email us at info@ncls.co.uk, message us via our Facebook page or Twitter. We will get back to you but please be patient with us while we all deal with this difficult situation. Be safe. Thank you.

They also advise that you can find information on the ACAS website but warn that if you search online for ACAS you may see a link to an organisation which is not in fact ACAS and which may seek to charge you for advice. The official link to the ACAS website is www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.

Scam Alert – Text messages referencing Coronavirus – 26 March 2020

We are warning residents to be alert for fake text messages claiming to be from government agencies, authorities, organisations and businesses referencing Coronavirus.

Recent examples reported have included:

  • Text messages claiming that ‘UKGOV has issued a payment of 458 GBP to all residents as part of its promise to battle COVID 19’.


The message then contains a link ‘to apply’. Anyone following the link will be taken to a very well-presented fake version of the GOV.UK website which attempts to gather personal and financial details.

There are likely to be several variations of this message circulating stating different amounts with different embedded links.

  • Text messages claiming to be from HMRC offering tax rebates ‘as a result of the ‘coronavirus pandemic’

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from the ‘Department for Education’ about ‘free school meals during school closures’ – 24 March 2020

We are warning parents and carers in Norfolk about emails circulating claiming to be from the Department for Education.

These emails contain messages such as ‘If your child is entitled to free school meals send your bank details to the school and they will help with funding while the school is closed’.

The emails then contain links for the parents to follow ‘to receive this funding’.

These emails are not genuine. Anyone who follows the links will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details which can then be used to by scammers to potentially commit fraud.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from the ‘Coronavirus Trust Fund’ – 23 March 2020

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone cold calls claiming to be the 'Coronavirus Trust Fund'.

This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a call during which the caller claimed he was calling from the 'Coronavirus Trust Fund' and that they could offer ‘discounts on replacement windows and doors’ if the resident was ‘currently self-isolating’.

The resident ended the call at this point and reported the call to us.

Our advice is always be very wary of claims made during 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 their freephone number 0808 223 1133 or via their online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Lloyds Bank’ referencing coronavirus – 20 March 2020

We are warning residents after receiving reports of telephone cold calls claiming to be from 'Lloyds Bank'. During the call the cold caller states they are calling to discuss payment holidays from loans and mortgages as 'part of their help for customers during Coronavirus'.

The cold caller them attempts to gather an excessive range of personal and bank account details to 'authenticate your ID'.

Our advice is always be very wary of claims made during a cold call and never give or confirm personal or financial details unless you are 100% sure you know who you are talking too.

There are likely to be a range of this type of scam calls being made using the names of well-known financial service providers in the coming days and weeks.

If you receive this or a similar call our advice is hang up, wait five minutes and then contact your bank using the customer service number on your card, a recent statement, on the genuine website or app.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers enquiring about ‘insulation’– 20 March 2020

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

In the incident a resident received a doorstep cold call from two men who stated they were calling as ’the Government needed to inspect loft insulation’. The resident declined the offer after which the two men were seen to return to a red Vauxhall Adam car. The resident then reported the cold call to us.

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

Anyone concerned about doorstep cold calling in Norfolk can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Coronavirus doorstep safety – 19 March 2020

During the current Coronavirus outbreak we want to help keep the people of Norfolk up to date by highlighting scams which are using the current situation as part of their approach.

Please be aware of the following and share safely with your family, neighbours and friends:

  • British Red Cross have been made aware of people going door to door in Norfolk, claiming to be from them, cold calling at the properties of elderly and vulnerable people offering to do shopping. They are then asking for money to pay for the items but if money is given are leaving the property and not returning
  • British Red Cross has stated: All British Red Cross staff and volunteers have clear and recognisable ID and uniforms. If you are doorstep cold called by someone claiming to be from British Red Cross and they do not have ID we advise you close the door immediately
  • They have also been made aware that the British Red Cross name and logo is being to brand postcards offering help and assistance
  • British Red Cross has stated: ‘British Red Cross are not using a postcard system currently in connection to Covid19 and any distribution of these cards locally needs to be reported to the authorities immediately’
  • There have been reports from colleagues in other parts of the country of doorstep callers claiming to be working for the NHS, stating that they are able to provide a Covid-19 vaccine. Alongside this there have been reports of people cold calling attempting to charge to attend properties to deliver Coronavirus testing kits.

We would advise that any unexpected contact taking this approach is not genuine.

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

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

If you want to support a neighbour who is self-isolating, you can download a postcard on the Norfolk County Council website to tell them that you're available.

If someone offers you help, ensure you only use someone you know and trust

If you need to get work done on or around your property try a Norfolk Trusted Trader. To search our directory and read feedback from their customers visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader

Scam Alert – Emails and apps referencing Coronavirus – 19 March 2020

We are warning residents to be alert for fake emails purporting to be from government agencies, authorities, organisations and businesses referencing Coronavirus.

Recent examples reported have included:

  • Emails claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs stating you are being offered a tax rebate as part of a package ‘to support people through this challenging period’. The email, which is very well presented, then offers a link to a website to receive a stated amount. The linked website will then attempt to gather personal and financial details
  • Emails claiming to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which claims to contain ‘crucial Coronavirus safety advice’. The attachment to the message, if opened, attempts to download malicious software onto the recipients’ device
  • There have been reports of several 'coronavirus update' apps, which claim to provide updates on the virus. The fake apps contain a form of 'ransomware', currently named CovidLock, which upon downloading attempts to lock the phone and if successful displays a message demanding that the user pay a sum of money to unlock it. These apps are available to download from various unofficial websites

Phone users are advised to only download apps directly from the Apple Store or Android Play Store as these are safety checked by the platforms

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls referencing Coronavirus – 18 March 2020

We are warning about telephone cold calls referencing Coronavirus following an incident which targeted an elderly North Norfolk resident.

During the cold call the caller claimed he was calling from ‘Southern Electric’ and stated that they would visit the resident’s home at midday and in exchange for a cash payment of £520 a credit of £5,000 would be put onto the resident’s electricity bill ‘as part of us helping people though the Coronavirus outbreak’.

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

Never hand over large cash payments or purchase gift cards to access larger amounts in return or refunds.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘driveway work’ – 18 March 2020

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

Two men were seen carrying branded leaflets going door to door.

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

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls about ‘money transfers’ – 17 March 2020

We are warning residents after receiving reports of automated telephone calls which claim a ‘£600 transfer’ is about to go through on your bank account.

Following these initial claims, the message will then give press button options to ‘prevent the transfer’

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

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 12 March 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 as ‘there are issues with your telephone and router’. 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 – Scams referencing Coronavirus – 09 March 2020

We are highlighting an alert from Action Fraud who have reported receiving 21 reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800k, since February 2020.

Of the 21 reports, ten were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. One victim reported losing over £15k when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.

Action Fraud have also received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

Action Fraud offer the following advice to Protect Yourself:

Watch out for scam messages:

Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Shopping online:

If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit the Action Fraud website

Protect your devices from the latest threats:

Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, please visit the National Centre for Cyber Security website

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: how to stay safe

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep Cold Callers selling ‘aerial photos’– 09 March 2020

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

In the incident a resident received a doorstep cold call from a man who offered to sell an aerial photo of the resident’s property which the cold caller stated he had taken using a drone. The cold caller went on to say he was selling these at a ‘discounted price’ as he was ‘getting out of the business’. The resident declined the offer and reported the cold call to us.

Trading Standards advises to be very wary of claims made by doorstep cold callers and NEVER give access to your property, agree to services, buy items or for return visits if approached in this manner.

Anyone concerned about doorstep cold calling in Norfolk can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘British Gas’ – 06 March 2020

We are warning about telephone cold calls claiming to be from British Gas following recent reports from Norfolk residents.

Recent calls have included:

  • cold calls stating that they need to ‘confirm payment details’
  • cold calls stating that they need to ‘change your gas meter’

In both calls the cold caller then attempted to gather personal and financial details from the call recipient.

If you receive this or a similar call our advice is DO NOT give or confirm any details and hang up.

If you want to check on payment details or the validity of claims made about domestic utility supplies, contact your supplier directly using contact methods from bills or statements you have received or via official apps.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 5 March 2020

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

Recent reports have included an automated recorded message call informing the call recipient that ‘HMRC have issued a warrant for your arrest due to tax evasion’. These calls are appearing to come from a range of different ‘spoofed’ numbers.

We always advise to be very wary of any approach made by a telephone cold call. If you receive this type of call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up immediately.

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Door to door fish sellers – 4 March 2020

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

This follows an incident in the Thurlton area on Tuesday 3 March where a resident was cold called by a man wearing a long white coat who offered to sell them frozen fish.

Reports have also been received from Hainford, Thorpe St Andrew, Acle, Felthorpe and Attleborough in recent days.

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.

It is possible this seller may continue to move on to other locations within Norfolk.

We advise consumers do not deal with cold callers and never be pressurised into buying on the doorstep.

If you are approached by this seller or are concerned about possible rogue trader activity in your area, please report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Police on 101.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers claiming they could ‘see issues’ with a property’s chimney – 3 March 2020

We are warning residents to be on their guard after two men cold called at a property in Mulbarton this week.

The cold callers claimed to be from a well-known Norfolk based home improvements company and that they could see issues with the resident’s chimney.

They then persuaded the resident to hand over a cheque for a large amount so they could ‘get on with the work’ as the chimney was ‘dangerously unsafe’.

We advise:

  • Never deal with cold callers looking to do work on or around your property
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or take their word that it needs to be done at all
  • Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or gardens even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free
  • Never pay for work before it is completed
  • When looking to have work done on or around your property, only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and have obtained a written quotation from before starting the work

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

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

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

 

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