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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 – Text messages about your bank account – 7 April 2021

We have received reports from residents about text messages claiming to be from banks stating there is an issue on your account and asking you to log in via a link.

The scam text message contains the opening line 'HSBC: Payee request for MRS K ADAMS on your account through your HSBC mobile banking.'

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 – Fake text messages from Hermes – 6 April 2021

We have received reports of fake text messages from Hermes which lead to a bogus website that attempts to gain personal information.

These texts have been sent by criminals who have created the fake website to look similar to the Hermes website, with the same branding, layout and font choices.

If you receive this text do not click on the link.

If you think you have provided scammers with your financial details you should contact your bank immediately.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. All phone operators now use this number as the short code to report spam texts, which is free of charge. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

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

The scam messages contain the opening line 'Hermes: Sorry we missed your call earlier ...' and 'Status  Missed Delivery  We missed you on last delivery'

Information Alert - Home repairs or improvements? Make sure you #CHECK – 5 April 2021

Is springtime turning your thoughts to planning work on your home or garden?

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

Compare – Use Norfolk Trusted Trader and get three quotes

History – Ask for the traders’ references, recommendations and reviews and make sure you check them out

Establish the details – What is being done, by Who, by When and for How much

Contract – Ensure everything is recorded

Keep all of the paperwork - This may be needed should anything go wrong

Scam Alert - Investment scams and fake cryptocurrency exchanges – 4 April 2021

We have received further reports of individuals falling victim to online investment scams, including fake cryptocurrency exchanges. A Norfolk resident has lost £1,000 after investing in a fake cryptocurrency website.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but there are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies including other well-known ones such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Cryptocurrencies only exist online and are not controlled by a bank, treasury or country, meaning you can’t get physical notes or coins from the bank.

Our advice is to always ensure you understand a cryptocurrency or an investment before transferring any money.

A cryptocurrency scam can take many forms, this could include:

  • A fake cryptocurrency which doesn’t, or will never, exist
  • A bogus investment which promises to put money in a legitimate cryptocurrency
  • A dangerous website link that then downloads malware onto your computer

See useful guidance on how to spot an investment scam via the Which? website.

The Financial Conduct Authority website also provides further details on how to avoid investment scams online.

If you think you have received an investment offer that you believe is a scam or you have become a victim of a scam, you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 3 April 2021

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.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller claiming issues with properties’ roof – 30 March 2021

We've had reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Poringland area.

In the incident a male cold called at a property and told the resident that he ‘was working next door’ and ‘could see the lead flashing was coming away from the chimney’. The male stated he could ‘do the work now’ and quoted a price of £750 which went down to £500 ‘if paid in cash’.

Our advice is:

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

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘DVLA’ – 31 March 2021

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

One recent example reported by a Norfolk resident claimed that ‘The latest payment for your vehicle tax failed’ and that ‘your vehicle is no longer taxed’ The email goes on to provide a link to ‘Pay your tax vehicle now’.

This, at times, strangely worded email is not from the DVLA and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine looking fake version of the DVLA website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

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

DVLA offer the following advice to stay safe online with contacting the DVLA or if you receive something claiming to be from the DVLA:

  • Only use GOV.UK - when looking for information or using our online services, double check that you are using a GOV.UK webpage so that you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
  • Scam emails - we never send emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information. If you get anything like this, do not open any links and delete the email immediately.
  • Beware of misleading websites - keep an eye out for potentially misleading third-party websites. These sites will often offer to help you apply for a driving licence or tax your car but are likely to charge additional fees for services that you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.
  • Look out for premium rate numbers - look out for websites offering to connect you to our contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. Our contact centre numbers will only ever begin with 0300 - which costs the same as a local call.
  • Be mindful of what you share online - never share images online of your driving licence and vehicle documents. This personal information could be invaluable to those looking to steal the identity of a vehicle or its owner.
  • Texts - we never send texts about vehicle tax refunds. Text scams often ask you to follow a link to provide credit card details. Never click on the link and delete the text straight away.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘Council Tax’ – 30 March 2021

We are warning residents about telephone cold calls regarding ‘Council Tax’.

This follows a number of reports from Norfolk residents who have received calls during which the cold caller states that the Council Tax on the residents’ property ‘is about to be raised from its current band’. In some calls the cold caller has also stated that ‘all properties in your area are being changed’. The caller then offers to ‘sort out the paperwork’ to ‘stop the band being changed’ for a fee and then attempts to gather bank details for the payment.

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.

If you require any information about your Council Tax contact your Local Council directly, their information can be located on your Council Tax bill or on the GOV.UK council finder

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

Scam Alert – Royal Mail Fraudulent Texts – 29 March 2021

A new Royal Mail delivery scam is targeting households across the UK to trick victims into giving personal details allowing the scams to access bank information.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute recently alerted shoppers to a text message which appears to be from Royal Mail but is actually from fraudsters.

People have been sent a message claiming their parcel is awaiting delivery but a settlement must be paid first. This is how you spot the scam. This is an example of the first field.

The URL will direct you to a fraudulent website, clicking on the link will take you to a screen asking for personal and payment details.

The best advice with this sort of scams is to delete the message straight away, if you do have a parcel pending delivery and you are out, Royal Mail always leave a card. Royal Mail said the postal service would only ever ask for payment via a text message if a parcel had been sent to them from an international destination and a customs payment was due.

For more information on reporting any suspicious messages call ActionFraud or visit the ActionFraud website.

Information Alert – Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) update for bird keepers - 25 March 2021

Bird flu alert poster - latest updates - housing measures end 23.59 on 31 March 2021 

Compulsory housing measures for poultry and captive birds are set to be lifted at the end of March.

While the risk of bird flu has been reduced to ‘medium’, the risk of outbreaks is likely to persist for several weeks. As a result, enhanced biosecurity requirements that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) on 11 November will remain in place. Good biosecurity is the most effective measure of disease control available.

While it is essential to ensure effective biosecurity when there is an increased risk of bird flu, it is advised that poultry keepers apply enhanced biosecurity measures at all times to prevent and mitigate future outbreaks.

Bird keepers are advised to use the time up to the end of the month to prepare the ranges and outdoor areas for release of the birds. This will include cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroduction of wild bird deterrents.

In addition, when the birds are allowed out at the end of March all poultry and captive bird keepers will need to keep taking extra precautions, such as cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns. They can help prevent avian flu by maintaining good biosecurity on their premises, including:

  • Fencing off ponds, streams, boggy areas or standing water and draining them where possible
  • Netting or covering ponds
  • Removing any wild bird feed sources
  • Deterring wild birds by regularly walking through the area or by using predator decoys
  • Cleansing and disinfecting concrete or other permeable areas
  • Putting down wood shavings in wet areas
  • Limit the number of people who come onto the site
  • Use disinfectant foot dips when entering and exiting enclosures or houses

Poultry and captive bird keepers and members of the public should continue to report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (option 7). Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 24 March 2021

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

This follows several reports from Norfolk residents who have received cold calls in the last week. The callers are making several claims including:

  • that they are a ‘local government energy advisor’
  • that ‘old insulation may be causing mould to form in walls and lofts’
  • that ‘loft insulation is rotting due to condensation’.
  • that insulation previously installed could be ‘poisonous’

Following these claims the cold caller will state that they ‘need to arrange for a surveyor to visit’.

Within some of the reports residents have said that the cold caller has asked for them by name and have then told them their address and asked the resident to ‘confirm if this is correct’. We would remind residents that just because a cold caller knows some basic personal information about you this doesn’t mean they are genuine and that their claims will be authentic.

We also always advise to 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 or via their Citizens Advice online reporting form.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘HMRC’ – 22 March 2021

We are again receiving reports of automated calls claiming to be from the HMRC. The call states that a ‘warrant has been issued for your arrest for no payment of tax’ and that you are required to ‘press 1 to speak to your case handler’.

These calls are a scam. Do not call the number provided, or provide anyone with your personal details, including your bank or credit card information.

HMRC are aware of these automated phone call scams. To help their investigations if you receive this or a similar call making claims about arrest warrents please report the details by email to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, including the:

  • date of the call
  • phone number used
  • content of the call

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep Cold Caller claiming issues with properties’ chimney – 19 March 2021

We've had reports of a doorstep cold caller in the Old Catton area.

In the incident a male cold called at a property and told the resident that he ‘could see the chimney stack was coming away from the building’. The male stated he could ‘do the work today’ and quoted a price in excess of £1,500 ‘if paid in cash’.

Fortunately, the resident declined the offer and reported the incident to us.

Our advice is:

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

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

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

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

Cold Calling Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 17 March 2021

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 stated he was ‘the local government energy advisor’ before making a number of claims about ‘the safety of old insultation’ which he stated could be ‘rotting due to condensation’. The cold caller then said that he would ‘need to arrange for a surveyor to visit’. At this point the resident hung up and reported the call to us.

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.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling household cleaning products – 17 March 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of doorstep cold callers trying to sell household cleaning products.

This follows an incident today where a young man cold called at a property in the North Wootton area claiming he was an ‘ex offender’ and was selling items ‘to earn an apprenticeship’. The resident declined the offer and reported the incident to us.

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

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

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

Scam Alert – Fake delivery emails and text messages – 16 March 2021

We are again warning about emails and text messages circulating claiming to be from courier services and Royal Mail which state that they have a parcel which currently cannot be delivered or has been lost in transit.

The fake DHL email contains the subject header 'Lost package id1363'.

The fake Royal Mail text contains the opening line 'Royal Mail: your item has a £2 unpaid shipping, to pay this now please visit https://royal-mail-book-redelivery.

The messages will often claim that you need to act, for example requiring additional information or the payment of a small fee.

These messages are not genuine and have no connection with the genuine company.

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

See further examples of fake Royal Mail emails and how to report them on the Royal Mail website.

DHL offer the following advice on their website about emails claiming to be from them:

  • 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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers selling furniture – 16 March 2021

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

This follows an incident today where a man cold called at a property in the Cringleford area offering for sale an oval dining table with free chairs. The individual gave the impression that neighbours had suggested that he visited the consumer. The consumer paid using a credit card but found that the furniture was not the same as shown and poor quality.

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

Anyone spotting doorstep sellers in Norfolk should contact us through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming ‘You are getting a Council Tax Reduction’ – 15 March 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be aware of emails circulating claiming to be a 'new message from GOVUK about your Council Tax'.

The fake email contains the subject header 'Council Tax Reduction'.

The fake email contains the subject header 'Claim your Council Tax Reduction Now'.

This poorly worded-email is not genuine and anyone following the link will be taken to a website which will attempt to gather personal and financial information.

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

If you require any information about your council tax, contact your local council directly - their information can be located on your council tax bill or on the Gov.UK website.

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

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents – 11 March 2021

We have received reports of a woman cold calling in the Sprowston area stating she if 'from Amazon' and is 'doing research'. She was seen to be wearing a hi-visibility vest.

There have also been similar reports in the Aylsham and South Norfolk areas.

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 doorbell camera, 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 their ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to check its validity. If you are given the ID, close the door and contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find online or in the phone book, do not use information on the ID, it could be fake

If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you cannot verify it is genuine, politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door

As the cold caller leaves, if you can, safely from inside your property watch and see:

  • Do they go to call at neighbouring properties
  • Do they return to a vehicle? Is it sign-written? Can you see the make, model, colour and registration plate
  • Are they alone or working with others

Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were calling and who they say they were representing – all of this information is very useful to us and the police when looking at cold calling incidents

You can report doorstep cold calling incidents to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or to Norfolk Constabulary on 101. If you feel threatened or have concerns for vulnerable neighbours always dial 999.

If you would like one of our 'No cold calling' door stickers, contact our customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.

Why not consider setting up a no cold calling zone in your community? You can find out more about our scheme at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

Information Alert – Coronavirus – NHS text alerts – 9 March 2021

From Tuesday 9 March, the NHS will be sending text messages to some people to invite them to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

The text messages will shown as being sent from 'NHSvaccine' and will include a link to the NHS.uk website.

Remember, the NHS will never ask you for payment or banking details in order to receive the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call claiming to be from the NHS and are asked to provide financial details, or pay for the vaccine, this is a scam.

If you are unsure about a text message you have received, you can call 119 to book your appointment.

See more information on NHS text alerts for the Covid jab on the Action Fraud website.

Scam Alert - Fraudulent text messages from Vodafone, 02 and other mobile telephone providers - 11 March 2021

We have reports of bogus text messages being sent to customers saying that the latest payment cannot be processed - please update your personal information via (link to web address).

Scam text message "From Vodafone: Payment for your latest bill could not be processed by your bank. Update your payment information via: https://vodafone.billing-42.com?acc=2"

When you "click" the link provided you will be taken to a fake .com address asking for your username and password.

Scam webpage vodafone.billing-42.com login page requesting username and password

Further to this they will request your name and address and finally your bank details.

Scam webpage vodafone.billing-42.com showing 'My Billing Address' requesting full address details

We strongly advise that you do not open any untrustworthy links and if in any doubt contact your mobile provider.

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls making claims about ‘your National Insurance number' – 4 March 2021

We are continuing to receive reports of automated telephone calls making claims about National Insurance numbers.

Recent reports have included that:

  • 'Your National Insurance number has been breached in a security risk’
  • 'Your National Insurance number has been used in numerous criminal activities’
  • 'Your National Insurance number has been used fraudulently’
  • 'Your National Insurance number is about to be cancelled’
  • 'Your National Insurance number has been compromised’

Some calls are claiming to be from the ‘National Crime Agency’, others are saying they are ‘law enforcement officers’. The calls go on to instruct the recipient to ‘Press 1’ to:

  • ‘Prevent the suspension of your National Insurance number’
  • 'Stop cancellation of your National Insurance number’
  • ‘Stop a warrant being issued for your arrest’

Some calls also make claims that ‘urgent’ and ‘immediate action’ is required to ‘resolve the issue’.

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

If you receive this type of call you can report it to HM Revenue & Customs by emailing phishing@hmrc.gov.uk including, where possible, the following details:

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

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

News Alert – BBC Watchdog report on unsafe electrical product – 4 March 2021

On Wednesday 3 March BBC Watchdog on The One Show featured the story of a house fire in Norfolk which was caused by an electrical tower socket purchased from an online marketplace.

Following the incident and testing undertaken by us, the product was found to be unsafe, leading to a Europewide safety recall being issued.

You can see the report on the BBC iPlayer for 29 days from the day it was shown, the report starts at 03:47.

You can find details of current product recalls on the GOV.UK website.

If you’re looking to purchase electrical items online, check out the Safe Shopping advice on the Electrical Safety First website.

If you have concerns about the safety of a product you have purchased you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers in South Norfolk area – 1 March 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after reports of cold callers in the Chedgrave, Poringland and Hethersett areas.

Norfolk Constabulary have highlighted reports of men cold calling in these areas offering to sell generators and cleaning products.

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

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 Police via 101.

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

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from Aviva – 25 February 2021

We have received reports from residents about automated scam telephone calls claiming to be from Aviva. The caller states that there is an Aviva credit card payment pending for £900 and in order to cancel the payment you need to 'press 1'.

These messages are spammed out randomly to huge numbers of mobile numbers hoping to trick people into sharing personal 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.

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 is 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 the named company using the customer service number given on previously-received correspondence or 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 – Telephone cold calls regarding ‘loft insulation’ – 24 February 2021

We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports of telephone cold callers enquiring about property insulation.

The caller states they are replacing work carried out by the council and are offering homeowners a free survey to assess the safety of their loft insulation.

The caller may also state:

  • That they are 'working in your area’ and can offer ‘a free survey to see if you are eligible for new insulation’
  • That ‘glass fibre insulation’ is ‘no longer sufficient’
  • That they 'need to visit to check insulation installed several years ago’

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 the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or telephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert - Investment scams and fake cryptocurrency exchanges – 23 February 2021

We have received reports of individuals falling victim to online investment scams, including fake cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but there are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies including other well-known ones such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Cryptocurrencies only exist online and are not controlled by a bank, treasury or country, meaning you can’t get physical notes or coins from the bank.

An individual has reported meeting a man on Facebook who then recommended a Norwich-based company for investing in cryptocurrency. This was a fake cryptocurrency trader using a fake website in order to scam people into investing money. Unfortunately, the individual has lost £40,000 to this scam.

Our advice is to always ensure you understand a cryptocurrency or an investment before transferring any money.

A cryptocurrency scam can take many forms. This could include:

  • A fake cryptocurrency which doesn’t or will ever exist 
  • A bogus investment which promises to put money in a legitimate cryptocurrency
  • A dangerous website link that then downloads malware onto your computer

Which? Have put together useful guidance on how to spot an investment scam.

The Financial Conduct Authority website also provides further details on how to avoid investment scams online.

If you think you have received an investment offer that you believe is a scam or you have become a victim of a scam, you can report this to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Fake competition emails from 'Currys PC World' – 22 February 2021

We have received a number of reports of fake ‘Currys PC World’ emails being received by Norfolk residents.

The fake email contains the subject line 'Answer & Win! MacBook Pro' or 'Answer & Win! Nespresso'.
The emails state that the recipient has an opportunity to win a MacBook Pro or Nespresso.

We can confirm that they are bogus emails and are not sent from Currys PC World. They are phishing emails intended to obtain your personal information.

If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at report@phishing.gov.uk.

If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.

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

Scam Alert - Fake listings on Facebook marketplace – 21 February 2021

We are warning Norfolk residents to be vigilant when buying second-hand goods online after receiving a report that an individual has lost over £200 after responding to a fake Facebook Marketplace advert.

The resident believed they were purchasing an iPad from the seller who would deliver it to their home after the money had been paid via bank transfer. However, once the money had been transferred the resident was unable to make further contact with the seller.

We are advising residents to be cautious when purchasing items using second-hand selling sites, especially if you are asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. We recommend to never pay for an item in full before seeing it.

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

Scam Alert – Text messages claiming to be from ‘Royal Mail’ – 17 February 2021

We are again warning about text messages circulating claiming to be from Royal Mail.

The scam text message contains the subject line 'Royal Mail: Your package has a £2.99 shipping fee'.

This follows a number of reports in the last week from Norfolk residents who have received the above pictured or similar text messages.

Anyone clicking on the link will be taken to a fake version of the Royal Mail website which has been created to fool people by using the same branding, layout and font choices. This site will then attempt to gather personal and financial details.

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

You can see further examples of fake Royal Mail communications on the Royal Mail website.

If you receive what you think is a fake message, forward the text message, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. It won’t cost you anything and it means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

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

Scam Alert – Fake ‘NHS COVID-19 relief grant’ text messages – 14 February 2021

We are warning residents about text messages claiming to be from the ‘NHS’ claiming that you are ‘eligible for a COVID-19 relief grant.

The fake 'NHS COVID- Relief Grant' text messages contains the subject line 'Records show that you are eligible for a COVID-19 relief grant'.

These messages are fake and are not from the NHS. There are likely to be several variations of each message circulating containing different link addresses.

You can report suspicious text messages received by forwarding the message to 7726. You will not be charged for sending the message and it allows you network provider to investigate the sender.

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

Scam Alert – Automated telephone cold calls making claims about ‘your National Insurance Number' – 12 February 2021

We have received several reports this week about automated telephone calls making claims about National Insurance numbers.

Recent reports have included:

  • That ‘your National Insurance number has been breached in a security risk’
  • That ‘your National Insurance number has been used in numerous criminal activities’
  • That ‘your National Insurance number has been used fraudulently’
  • That ‘your National Insurance number is about to be cancelled’
  • That ‘your National Insurance number has been compromised’

Some calls are claiming to be from the ‘National Crime Agency’, others are saying they are ‘Law enforcement officers’. The calls go on to instruct the recipient to ‘Press 1’ to:

  • 'Prevent the suspension of your National Insurance number’
  • 'Stop cancellation of your National Insurance number’
  • 'Stop a warrant being issued for your arrest’

Some calls also make claims that ‘urgent’ and ‘immediate action’ is required to ‘resolve the issue’.

These calls are a scam and the claims made are not genuine.

If you receive this type of call you can report it to HM Revenue & Customs by emailing phishing@hmrc.gov.uk including, where possible, the following details:

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

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

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from ‘BT’ – 11 February 2021

Emails claiming to be from BT  are continuing to circulate.

Recent examples have included emails that claim BT have ‘detected incorrect information on your account’ and that ‘your account will be suspended if you do not login by clicking the ‘Amend Now’ button’. 

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

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

  • If you're worried about an email that appears to be from BT, rather than clicking on any links in the email 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 the automated BT phone service to check your balance on 0800 443 311
  • Forward the email to 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

Scam Alert – Scam Callers claiming to be Police Officers – 10 February 2021

We are highlighting a warning from Norfolk Police after numerous Norfolk residents were targeted by telephone scammers pretending to be police officers within the last two weeks.

On Monday 8 February, a woman aged in her 70s and from the Wymondham area was contacted by a fraudster claiming to be a police officer.

During the call the victim was encouraged to transfer large amounts of money from her bank account, after being coerced into believing that she was part of an undercover police operation. She was conned out of £30,000.

Another incident was also reported on Tuesday 9 February.  A man in his 20s from the Norwich area was contacted by a fraudster claiming to be a police officer. The caller had cloned the Norfolk Constabulary number, making the victim believe he was speaking to a genuine police officer. £20,000 was taken.

Officers have also received 15 reports within the past two weeks in which victims have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be police officers.

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. A number of 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.

Neither the police nor your bank will ever ask you to withdraw or transfer money or purchase items.

Further advice includes:

  • Police officers, banks and other government agencies will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to another account as part of an undercover operation.
  • They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • The police will never ask you to handover money for safe keeping or as part of an operation.
  • The police will never send someone to your address to collect money, cards or PIN Numbers or ask you to deliver these to another location.

Try these steps if you are approached:

  • Stop – take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
  • Challenge – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests, only criminals will try to rush or panic you. 
  • Protect – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam. Report it.

You can confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly. Ask for ID from individuals who have approached you in these circumstances.

If you're asked to telephone a bank, always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.

Officers are particularly keen for members of the community to ensure they contact family and friends, particularly elderly relatives to ensure they are aware of these scams and the warning signs.

If anyone has received a similar type of telephone call or has any information about these incidents, contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting Operation Radium.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you believe a crime is in progress, always call 999.

Scam Alert – Online scammers selling Pets – 09 February 2021

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic we have seen a rise in reports of fake pet sales, in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via social media.

The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. They're also using lockdown as a way of stopping buyers from visiting to look at the animal.

Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise. The fraudster is then not contactable or will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist.

Follow our top tips to stay safe when purchasing pets:

  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller. For example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face-to-face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet, this could be an indication that the pet does not exist
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary
  • If you think the price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure breed
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’.  A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders.

If you have been affected this or any other scam, please report it to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

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