October 2020

VACANCY

Vacancy O'Donovan

Norfolk Police – Latest Consumer & Scam alerts from Norfolk Trading Standards

Please find below the Latest Consumer & Scam alerts from Norfolk Trading Standards https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/scams/consumer-alerts

Cold Calling Alert – Doorstep cold callers in the Hingham area – 15
October 2020
We are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reorts of doorstep cold callers in the Hingham area.

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

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

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

Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold calling incidents – 15 October 2020
Watch out for doorstep cold calling even if you are displaying a No Cold Calling sticker.

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

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

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

* If someone cold calls at your property remember it is your doorstep
so your decision whether you even answer the door, if you can check
through a spy hole or look from a window to see who is there
* Think about your home security, make sure other doors to your
property are locked before answering the front door
* If the person is offering services or trying to sell something
politely but confidently say you are not interested and close the door
* If the person is claiming to represent an authority, organisation or
charity ask to see ID. If ID is offered, ask if you can take it to
check its validity. If you are given the ID close the door and
contact the company or organisation on the ID by a number you find
online or in the phone book, DO NOT use information on the ID, it
could be fake
If no ID is offered, the caller refuses to let you check it, or you
can not verify it is genuine politely but confidently say you are
not interested and close the door
* As the cold caller leaves, if you can safely from inside your
property watch and see:
o Do they go to call at neighbouring properties?
o Do they return to a vehicle, is it sign written, can you see the
make, model, colour and registration plate?
o Are they alone or working with others?
o Note down a description of the cold caller, why they were
calling and who they say they were representing – all of this
information is very useful to Trading Standards and the Police
when looking at Cold Calling incidents

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

Why not consider setting up a No Cold Calling Zone in your community? You can find out more about our scheme at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz <https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/consumer-advice/no-cold-calling-zones>

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

Be vigilant for cold callers selling fish door to door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you receive messages like these our advice is:

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

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

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

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

Norfolk Police – Scam Alert

Courier fraud victim speaks out in a bid to warn others of the sophisticated scam
The following is a Police Connect message.

A victim of courier fraud has described losing her “trust in people” after being conned out of almost £60,000.

The 65-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shared her experience in a bid to warn others and raise awareness of the sophisticated scam.

In the last two months, police in Norfolk have received more than 100 reports about fraudulent calls from suspects claiming to be police officers. The cold-callers will make efforts to defraud victims of money, asking them to withdraw large sums of cash in connection with an investigation.

The victim, who lives in Breckland, was targeted in September when she received a telephone call on her landline from an unknown number. The caller claimed to be a police officer working on behalf of the Fraud Prevention Investigation Team in London.

The officer said he was calling from Paddington Police Station and that they were investigating a case of stolen identity whereby someone in London had been using the victim’s personal details. In a bid to gain the victim’s trust, the fraudsters said she could verify their identity by ending the call and immediately dialling 999 and ask to verify the officer’s collar number and investigation reference. What the victim didn’t realise is that the line had been left open by the fraudster and so when she picked up to redial 999, the call was still connected to the scammer.

The victim was told police were carrying out an undercover operation into suspects allegedly passing counterfeit notes through the banking system and asked for her help.

Recalling the incident, the victim said: “I had grown up trusting the police and had no reason to think this was a scam. I had already verified that this was legitimate by calling the generic 999 number and so I agreed to help the officer with their investigation.”

The victim was asked to go to the bank and withdraw some money, which would then be collected by a courier who would attend her home address. The cash would then be examined to see if it was counterfeit. The victim was advised the money would be reimbursed as soon as their enquiries were complete and he was grateful for her assistance with the investigation. The suspects kept in contact with the victim, providing regular updates and advised the money was counterfeit. The cold-caller said a further two transactions would be needed as part of their investigation.

Describing the con, the victim said: “The officer would remain on the phone whilst I attended the banks in order to listen in on the conversation. I assumed this was part of the investigation and it made me feel at ease given that I was involved in an undercover operation. So, as asked, I withdrew two further payments from separate banks and handed them over to the courier. As expected, they too were counterfeit.

“At the time I felt like I was doing something to help. I’m of the generation that strongly believes the local bobby will always help you out. These scammers preyed on that and they targeted me when I was in an emotionally vulnerable position.

“I realise now that these scammers treat this as their job and like us, they strive to do it to the best of their ability. They commit these crimes in such a sophisticated way, preying on the older generation who are more likely to be isolated, vulnerable or more financially stable.

“Looking back now, they brainwashed me into thinking I was being helpful. They made me feel like I was in control; when I asked whether I could tell my daughter about the investigation, the officer had never strictly told me not to so, but advised that it wouldn’t help the undercover operation. Therefore, I made the decision myself to keep it from her believing it would be within the best interests of the investigation.

“The effects of this crime will never be understood by someone who has not been through it. My children now regularly stay at my house as I struggle to be alone. I have undoubtedly lost my confidence and ability to socialise as perhaps I used to or would like to.

“Although I know that this was a sophisticated crime, that often many people fall for, I cannot help blaming myself and I often feel frustrated and emotional about it. I will no longer be able to have the future I envisioned and the financial implications are major. It has undoubtedly changed the way I trust people and the world.”

Norfolk Police are reminding residents that 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.

Further advice includes:

* 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.
* Do not rush into complying to the scammers demands / requests.
* 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’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, who commissions a countywide support service for scams victims, praised the victim for sharing her experience in order to help others protect themselves.

“What this Breckland resident has experienced is truly shocking. Her story highlights just how complex and convincing these scams can be and also the impact they have on their victims’ lives. Her bravery in speaking out in order to help raise awareness and prevent others finding themselves in her shoes is to be commended.

“As evidenced by this case, the emotional and financial hurt of being a victim of a scam can be massive. Key to preventing that harm is sharing information and advice, and learning how to keep ourselves safe.

“Who among us has not had that phone call, email or knock on the door by parties unknown seeking heartlessly to steal from us? Don’t brush off suspicious approaches; report them. If you’ve been a victim, speak out. Not only will you help the police with their investigations to put these criminals where they belong, but you may help your family, friends and fellow Norfolk residents avoid the hurtful exploitation you’ve endured.

“And if you’ve been affected by a scam, please don’t suffer in silence. The Norfolk Scam Prevention Service is there to help you.”

The Norfolk Scam Prevention Service, delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care, is a free and confidential service offering specialist support to individuals that have been targeted by scammers. The service, commissioned by the PCC and supported by the partners who make up the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, helped 1,200 people affected by scams last year. Feedback from those using the service shows it is helping people feel more confident, safer and better placed to cope with the impact of what they have experienced.

Kami Al-Faris, service coordinator for the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service, said: “Sadly, in the last three months, we have seen an increasing number of reported incidents of elderly people being targeted by scammers impersonating police officers and the National Crime Agency, as well as scams directly relating to Coronavirus, including fake Track and Trace messages and false requests for information from local or national authorities.

“We have worked with victims facing these types of scams who have lost up to £390,000; whereas some victims who have not lost any money, may instead have their data or privacy compromised.

“We can help victims cope and recover from their experience, providing practical advice and information so they can get back their confidence and feel safe again. If you have been affected by a scam and would like to talk in confidence with a specialist member of our team phone 101 followed by extension 5005 or email [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>.”

NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST PURCHASE OF LAND IN BEETLEY.

You may have seen in the Eastern Daily Press on the 3rd October and/or Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Newsletter that Norfolk Wildlife Trust has purchased land in Beetley to join up with Hoe Roughs. The land that has been purchased by the Trust was owned by Gooch’s Charity, and is not land that has ever been owned by Beetley Parish Council. The land purchased includes the wood through which there is a public footpath from Beetley River Meadows Parish land to Green Lane and a meadow. This meadow is to the east of Beetley Parish Council land and abuts Beetley River Meadows near to the “beach” and has been used in the past by Gooch’s Charity for grazing with cattle.

Norfolk County Council

Coronavirus –  latest information, advice links and service update – 30th September 2020 

Police Message

Scam Alert – Fake Facebook pages – 1 October 2020

We’re continuing to receive reports of fake pages on Facebook claiming to be well-known brands or retail chains.  Recently this has included several pages claiming to be large holiday companies offering ‘free holidays’.
Post from a fake Facebook page claiming to give away free holidays at Center Parcs.
The fake pages then attempt to get people to engage with them by claiming to be offering discounts, prizes and giveaways.  Sometimes this will be by asking you to like, share and comment on the post – which increases the reach of the fake page.  They may also provide links to other pages that you must follow as part of the competition entry.
These fake pages can often gather tens of thousands of shares within hours of being posted.
If you see a competition on Facebook, take a moment to check before you click on it:

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

* If you have liked, shared or commented be aware you could be
targeted with further scam postings or contacts
* If you have given personal information like email address or contact
numbers be aware for scam contacts via these routes
* If you have given banking or financial information, contact your
bank or card provider immediately to protect your accounts
You can report fake Facebook pages, or other scam contacts, to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Scam Alert – Emails claiming to be from Netflix – 28 September 2020
Scammers are continuing to exploit the popularity of streaming services by sending large numbers of emails claiming there are problems with your billing or subscription.
Scam email with title “Revision status of subscription”
A Norfolk resident has reported receiving the email pictured above, where they are asked to follow a link to update their payment details.
Always be wary of claims made in unexpected emails and never click on any links or open attachments.

Netflix offer the following advice regarding scam emails:
* We will never ask for your personal information over email, such as
passwords or bank account details.
* If you receive a suspicious email:
o Don’t click any of the links or open any of the attachments
o Forward the email to [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>
o Delete the email.
You can report suspicious emails to us via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Alert – Green Homes Grant vouchers – 30 September 2020
Green Homes Grant vouchers are available from Wednesday 30 September 2020.
Traders
Remember that you must register with TrustMark to carry out work under the Green Homes Grant scheme. Visit greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk for more information <https://greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk/#tradespeople>.
Consumers
Find out if you are eligible for a Green Homes Grant voucher at greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk <https://greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk/#homeowners>.
Remember to check whether any trader offering to carry out work under the Green Homes Grant scheme is registered to do so – look for the TrustMark.

Report anyone cold calling to us via the Citizens Advice consumer service on freephone 0808 223 1133.

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

If your home has been damaged by the recent bad weather, getting repairs completed will be something you want to do as quickly as possible.  Make sure in the hurry to get things fixed you don’t end up with a rogue trader or poor-quality repairs.  The following advice will help you get the right trader and smooth repairs.

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

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

Choose reputable traders like a Norfolk Trusted Trader
When looking for someone to undertake work on your property, make sure they’re a trader you can trust.  This could be a member of the Norfolk Trading Standards Trusted Trader scheme, a business you’ve used before, or a recommendation from a friend or family member.
You can search the Norfolk Trusted Trader directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader <https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/trusted-trader> or call the Norfolk County Council customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.
Get at least 3 quotes for the work
Try to get at least 3 traders to come to your property and provide proper, written quotations to undertake the work required.  Compare them carefully to help you choose the right trader for the job.
Never pay the full price upfront
Good businesses and tradespeople will not require payment until the work is finished to your satisfaction.  Some may ask for a percentage to cover materials or specific parts if they are expensive, but it the trader is asking for full payment upfront don’t contract with them.
Talk to your insurance company first
If you have insurance on your property, speak to your insurance company before arranging any repairs.  They may require you to use a company approved by them, or want to see quotations before authorising the work and subsequent payment.
If you need further advice on choosing a trader, or help dealing with disputes with companies, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on their freephone number 0808 223 1133.