alarm bells start ringing

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alarm bells start ringing

Some issue indicates that one should be concerned about a potentially greater problem or troubling situation. Alarm bells started ringing among the board members when sales continued to decline for the second straight If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, alarm bells should start ringing.
See also: alarm, bell, ring, start
References in periodicals archive ?
"But then alarm bells starting ringing when they insisted I went in person to discuss my results - that's not good, I thought.
The alarm bells starting ringing last Friday, after the winter favourite for the Derby "failed to sparkle" in a gallop with Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial victor Midas Touch.
Alarm bells starting ringing when it was revealed - quietly, I might add - that the government organisation responsible for the UK's cyber-defence will be fully operational by March 10.
Not much news there I suppose, but when her email was entitled "So Much Fun!" alarm bells starting ringing.
"But the alarm bells starting ringing when I heard about Super League's intention to change the rules over the number of imported players a club could have on their books.
But alarm bells starting ringing when Dino Maamria, back from a five-game ban, pulled one back and Louis nodded the leveller.