How can business scam alerts help my business?
We use the business scam alert system to send you information about new
scams, and new variations on old scams. We explain how to avoid scams
and how to report them.
Click here to receive business scam alerts by email.
The most recent scam alerts are:
Ban on Tobacco Sales from Vending Machines – 30 September 2011
Please be aware that from 1 October 2011 there will be a ban on tobacco
products sold from vending machines in England.
It will also be against the law to display advertisements or pictures for tobacco
on vending machines.
We have produced a Business Advice fact sheet which you can find here.
Further information can also be found at www.businesslink.gov.uk/vending
Mobile Phone Scam Messages – 14 September 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are warning Mobile Phone owners
to be wary of text messages offering compensation for accidents or to write off
These messages are often along the lines of:
„struggling due to current economic conditions? Reply debt to book a
„Our records indicate you may be entitled to 3750 pounds for the
accident you had. To claim for free reply YES to this message. To opt
out text STOP‟
These text messages are sent randomly, so many of the mobile phone users
that receive them may not be in debt or have had an accident.
Trading Standards advise never to respond to unsolicited text messages such
as these. Even responding „STOP‟ to try to opt out of the messages can
confirm to the sender that your phone number is a working number, also
never to give out personal details in response to unsolicited text messages.
If you wish to report a scam or obtain further advice please contact Consumer
Direct via their online form or to Action Fraud via their online fraud reporting
Fraudulent Card Payments – 26 August 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards Service has been contacted by a
local butcher who found that he has been the victim of a scam and wants to
warn other businesses. He received a phone call from someone who said
they had been let down regarding meat for a wedding and placed a large
order with the butcher. They paid over £700 with a card over the phone and
the meat was collected by a courier. The business later found that the
payment had been declined as the card had been reported stolen or it had
Our advice is that businesses should be careful if they are contacted like this.
Loan Scams - 23 August 2011
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning people to steer clear of scam loan
companies who take upfront fees but fail to provide credit or offer clearly
unsuitable credit alternatives. For more details see:
Safety Warning – Potentially dangerous giant lighters – 12 August 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are warning businesses about
potentially dangerous giant lighters after officers seized a batch from two
shops in the Norwich area.
A report on the seizure can be read here on the EDP website.
Similar items to these have been reported by Hampshire Trading Standards
where it was reported that a teenage boy received burns to his hands after
trying to light candles with a giant lighter.
If anyone has any concerns with regard to these lighters please contact
Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or via their online reporting form
Fake PayPal Emails – 13 July 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are warning businesses that fake
emails are circulating claiming to be from PayPal.
The email states:
Dear valued PayPaI Customer,
We need your help resolving an issue with your account. To give us time
to work together on this, we‟ve temporarily limited what you can do with
your account until the issue is resolved.
What‟s the problem?
We noticed some unusual activity on the credit card linked to your
Case ID Number: PP-001-212-055-698
How you can help
It‟s usually pretty easy to take care of things like this. Most of the time, we
just need a little more information about your account.
To help us with this and to find out what you can and can‟t do with your
account until the issue is resolved, please proceed to our secure webform
by clicking here.
If you click on the link you will be taken to a fake PayPal website at:
The website URL does not mention PayPal and when it opens a number of
the tabs on the screen do not work.
If you receive emails like this do not respond and do not hand over any
PayPal, personal or bank details. You can forward these emails directly to
PayPal at email@example.com
More information about this scam can be seen on PayPal‟s website here.
If you wish to report a scam or obtain further advice please contact the
Consumer Direct via their online form
Bogus Invoices purporting to come from OHIM, the European Trade
Mark Agency – 8 July 2011
Please see the extract from the OHIM website
Misleading requests for payment relating to information/trade mark “registers”
and entries to directories
Users in Europe are receiving an increasing amount of unsolicited mail from
companies requesting payment for trade mark and design services such as
publication, registration or entry in business directories.
A list of letters from firms or registers, which users have complained are
misleading, is published below for your information. Please note that these
services are not connected with any official trade mark or design registration
services provided by public bodies within the European Union such as OHIM.
If you receive a letter or invoice please check carefully what is being offered to
you, and its source. Please note that the OHIM never sends invoices to
users or letters requesting direct payment for services.
If you have any doubt or detect any new case, please check with your legal
advisors or contact us at +34 96 513 9100 or by e-mail at
We include below some sample letters from firms or registers, which have
nothing to do with OHIM's registers or official publications.
Commercial Centre for Industry and Trade
(Wirtschaftszentrale für Industri und Gewerbe AG)
P.O. Box 2116
COMMUNITY TRADE MARK FILING SERVICE
17-19 Fenwick Street
CPTD - Central Patent & Trademak Database
Companies Directory of Commerce, Trade and
Bunge Milling, Inc.
11720 Borman Drive
State: Missouri Missouri 63146-1000
C.R.P. S.L. International Publication
Apt 572, 03710 Calpe(Alicante), Spain
ECTMF - European Communities Trademark Filing
Suite - Imperial Court
Exchange Street East
Liverpool l2 3A8
Brussel, EU Parliament
Square de Meeus 38/40
European Patent Agency
Community Trade Marks
WC2H 7 LA
European Trade marks and Designs
Register Community Trade marks
European Trademark organisation S.A.
Brussells, EU Parliament
Square de Meeus 37 - 4th Floor
EUROPEAN TRADEMARKS CONSULTING
Register Community Trade marks
Community trad marks and designs limited
7 Arlington gardes
FIPTR - Federated institute for Patent & Trademark
6574 North State Road 7, Suite 337
Coconut Creek, FL 33076
GAIA almanch Ltd
PO Box 142
I.B.F.T.P.R - International Bureau for Federated
Tradmark & Patent Register, LLC
6650 Rivers Avenue
Charleston SC, 29406 USA
IBIP - Internationa Bureau for Intellectual Property,
975 Bacons Bridge Rd, #214, Unit 148
Summerville SC 29485, USA
Intellectual Property Agency Ltd.
Rue des Colonies 11
INTERNATIONAL PATENT & TRADEMAK SERVICE,
Register Community Trademarks
1156 Bowman Rd, #200
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
OHMI Office for International registration
TRADEMARKS AND DESIGN
Community trad marks and designs limited
7 Arlington gardes
Patent Trademark Register
Register of International Patents
P.O. Box 26
TM Worldwide Lp.
H-9601, Sarvar, PO-Box 11
PO Box 201
TRADEMARK PUBLISHER GMBH
B.P. 73 A-1190 Wien
WBIP - World Bureau Intellectual Property Inc.
1000 North west street. Suite 1200
DE 19801 USA
WDTP - Worldwide Database of Trademarks and
Globex World Organistaion Intellectual Property Ltd.
2-4 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3NT
HMRC Tax Rebate – 8 July 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards is publicising the following warning
released by Her Majesties Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
HMRC would not inform customers of a tax rebate via email or phone call.
With regard to email, the recipient should not visit any website contained
within that email.
To view examples tax rebate phishing emails and a list of fake email
addresses used visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm
Consumers should never give personal information to anyone requesting
them in this way.
Computer Fault Scam – 5 July 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are again reminding businesses to
be aware that the Computer Fault Scam we issued alerts about on 22 March
and 12 May is continuing to target people.
The scam starts with a phone call from individuals who claim to work for
computer software companies. The caller advises that there is a problem with
the user‟s computer and that the caller can help fix it. The caller may ask the
user to open a particular Internet link, which indicates that the computer has a
number of errors. Before „correcting‟ the errors remotely, the caller requests
an upfront fee. The aim is to con money out of you or collect identity and bank
details. If these companies do not succeed to obtain any information out of
you on the first contact they are known to try calling again on several
One new variation involves consumers being told their PC has been making
malicious calls in an attempt to get you to agree to allow them access to your
Scams Awareness Month Update – 5 July 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards has issued a warning to residents
on scams and the different approaches by scammers; together with an update
on Scams Awareness Month held in February. Click here to read our press
Business Advertising – 5 July 2011
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards Service is again issuing warnings
to businesses about being contacted by publishing organisations selling
advertising space. These approaches generally take the course of an
unsolicited telephone call, email or fax to the business with the view of selling
advertising space in a publication, often claiming to support „good causes‟,
such as the emergency services in the local area.
A demand for payment then follows, sometimes even if no agreement has
The advice is not to make any payment unless you have agreed to the
advertising and to check any demand for payment carefully. Where
agreements have been made and the business feels they have been misled
over the terms of the advertisement and they require further advice, please
contact Trading Standards on 0344 800 8013 or email
Further information about this topic can be found in our „Publishing Scams‟
advice fact sheet.