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
* 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@example.com
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.
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>.
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.