If you cold callers in Norfolk, contact us through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101.
If you feel intimidated or sight cold callers and are concerned for vulnerable neighbours call 999
Information Alert – Covid-19 and Lockdown scams to be aware of – 05 November 2020
We are reminding residents to continue to be Scam Aware following the new restrictions in England from 05 November.
Action Fraud have put together a list of scams we should all be aware of regarding Covid-19 and lockdown. These include:
•Fake Government emails offering grants and tax reductions
•Emails offering to assist with universal credit applications
•Fake track and trace emails claiming you have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19
•Fake adverts for hand sanitizers and face masks
•Fake emails offering 6 months of free TV License
•Fake online dating profiles
•Fake investment opportunities
More information on these scams and advice should you receive one can be found on the Action Fraud website
The Friends Against Scams partnership have also created a fact sheet to help raise awareness on coronavirus scams. Friends Against Scams help to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams. The fact sheet as well as information about becoming a Friend Against Scams and the free online awareness training available can be found on the Friends Against Scams website.
Scam Alert – Scam inheritance letter – 4 November 2020
A Norfolk resident has reported receiving a letter offering them the ‘opportunity’ to receive the inheritance from an estate. The letter claims that the estate comes from an ‘oil magnate’ who ‘tragically lost his life along with his immediate family during this coronavirus pandemic’.
The letter requests the recipient contacts the sender by email so that the funds can be released to them.
This letter is a scam and there is no inheritance to claim. It shows how scammers will continually update their approaches and will often tailor the story to reflect current new stories and events.
Easy ways to spot an inheritance scam letter include:
•The amount of money on offer and the percentage claimed that is available to you will be extremely large
•Letters / documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written with spelling mistakes and poor grammar
•Look out for webmail addresses such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. They are freely available making them easy to set up and equally easy to shut down
•Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as plane crashes and natural disasters. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident.
If you receive this, or a similar letter, just recycle it after obliterating your details printed on the letter. Do not reply with personal details.
Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering ‘roofing work’ – 03 November 2020
We are warning residents to be on their guard following a cold calling incident in Norfolk this week involving roofing work.
The incident occurred in the Sheringham area and involved a man cold calling a local resident and offering to undertake repairs on their roof.
We always advise:
•Never deal with cold callers looking to undertake work on or around your property
•Never agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or take their word that it needs to be done at all
•Never allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or 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
It is possible this doorstep cold caller could move on to other areas around Norfolk.
Rogue Trader Alert - Cold calling incidents - 3 November 2020
We are warning residents to be on their guard after two cold calling incidents were reported in the Swaffham area this week.
In the first incident two men were reported cold calling at properties offering to undertake work on residents’ homes and gardens. They were seen to be using a yellow flatbed van.
In the second incident a young man cold called at a property claiming he was part of a ‘young offenders programme’ before showing the resident his passport as ID. He then attempted the sell the resident items from a bag he was carrying. Fortunately, the resident declined the offer and asked the cold caller to leave before reporting the incident.
Never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property offering to sell something or undertake work on your property.
It is possible these sellers will continue to move onto other locations in Norfolk.
Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 28 October 2020
We are 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.
Scam Alert - Fake adverts for holiday accommodation – 27 October 2020
A Norfolk resident has reported losing £1165 to an online scam that advertised fake apartments to rent overseas.
The advert was posted on Craigslist by an individual who stated they were looking to rent out their apartment in Lisbon whilst they worked away. The individual asked the Norfolk resident to provide a copy of their passport before booking and sent the resident a link to process the payment. They stated this link would connect them to Airbnb and that someone from Airbnb would be in touch once the payment had been taken. However, after contacting Airbnb it became clear that this advert was not genuine, and that the resident had fallen victim to a scam.
Norfolk Trading Standards are advising Norfolk residents to be wary of fake adverts posted online and to stop and question whether it is genuine before parting with money or personal information.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have a service which allows internet users to report scam ads appearing online.
Online users have been asked to fill in the form to report any fake ads they find on online platforms such as newspaper websites, paid-for search engines or social media.
The ASA will then make contact with the relevant platform who can then work to remove the advert and prevent the advertiser publishing further scam ads.
This reporting mechanism is in response to the ever-increasing number of fake advertisements found online which spread false information and trick internet users into parting with their cash and personal information..
Information Alert – Home Repairs or Improvements? Make sure you #CHECK – 26 October 2020
We have received recent reports of residents losing money after arranging home improvement work on their property, with the trader not returning once they have been paid up front. Norfolk Trading Standards are therefore reminding consumers to think #CHECK when choosing a tradesman or business for the job.
Scam Alert – Online scammers selling pets – 22 October 2020
Criminals continue to take advantage of the demand for pets which is pushing the prices of puppies and kittens ever higher.
Earlier this year, 669 people 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, specific pet selling platforms and websites.
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
Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’ – 19 October 2020
We are continuing to warn residents to be on their guard for telephone cold calls claiming to be from ‘Amazon’.
In recent weeks we have received a number of reports from residents who are receiving cold calls claiming to be from Amazon. Examples of these calls include:
- Recorded message calls claiming ‘your Amazon Prime subscription is about to expire, and a payment of £79 will be automatically taken’ the call then states you can ‘press 1 to cancel the payment’
- Recorded message calls claiming your Amazon account ‘is about to be cancelled unless you update your bank details’. The call then states you can ‘press 1 to speak to customer service’
- Recorded message calls making similar claims but referencing ‘Amazon Prime Video subscriptions’
Some residents have reported receiving multiple calls within a day delivering the same message but originating from different numbers.
In previous reports, where residents have interacted with recorded message calls, they have then been connected to a person who attempts to gather personal, account or financial details.
These calls are a scam and are not connected with Amazon in any way. If you receive this or a similar call our advice is do not interact with the call, do not give or confirm any information and hang up.
- Staying Safe during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Reporting scams you receive helps us continue to build up intelligence on the scammers and how they target people.
You can report scams and get further advice from our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline:
0808 223 1133 (freephone)
Citizens Advice consumer service website
You can also report Frauds, Cyber Crime and Phishing attempts to Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime reporting centre:
0300 123 2040
Action Fraud website