Scammers target firms in advertising con

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Businesses in Thetford are being warned to be on their guard after scammers posing as police officers began targeting them.

Several companies in the town have reported being telephoned by conmen claiming to either be from Norfolk Police or working on their behalf.

The businesses are then being offered advertising in a handbook on child internet safety awareness at a cost of up to £395.

Anne Hunter, managing director of Graffiti Media Group, based in Bridge Street, said she received a call on Wednesday morning from a man claiming to be a Norfolk Police officer.

“He said the handbook was going out to schools in the area and it sounded quite legitimate.

“He offered me three prices - £195, £295 and £395 - and then said he would put me down for a £195 deal.

“But when I asked to see the creatives for the handbook he said he didn’t have any. I knew straight away it was a scam,” she said.

Ms Hunter added that the man gave his name and said he was based in Great Yarmouth, but when she contacted the station, they said there was nobody of that name working for Norfolk Police.

Ms Hunter said the man’s initial credibility had made it a worrying experience.

“That kind of money is a lot to a lot of companies but it’s small enough that they might not ask many questions.

“It really is quite horrific that people would try and do this,” she said.

Two other businesses in Thetford told the Free Press they have received similar calls.

One business owner, who did not want to be named, said a man hadcalled her two weeks ago claiming to be from a crime prevention group who were working with the police.

He said her business owed money from a deal it had already agreed.

She said: “We said we hadn’t signed up to anything and asked him to send the paperwork we had signed.

“He didn’t have an answer to that and just hung up.”

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said businesses should report scammers by calling 101.

“Genuine police officers always carry a warrant card to prove their identity.

“Police officers from Norfolk would also not phone up members of the public for commercial advertising purposes either,” he said.