set off alarm bells

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set off alarm bells

To cause concern due to being an indication that there is something wrong. The new report set off alarm bells among the board members because it forecasts a large decrease in enrollment. If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, it should set off alarm bells.
See also: alarm, bell, off, set
References in periodicals archive ?
5 feedback automatically sets off alarm bells for immediate remedial action.
Al-Madinah newspaper said that the terrorist assault on "Charlie Hebdo" satirical newspaper in Paris, which killed 12 people, sets off alarm bells again on the growing wave of terrorism, and reaffirms the warning by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz last August.
And the fact that he said "I love you" the day he "met" you online sets off alarm bells.
Hieronymus knows that issue sets off alarm bells in Britain where all-seater stadia were created after the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters but is convinced of the merits of standing.
For most exhibs and studios, the NC-17 sets off alarm bells.
THESE days, the idea of food that is "forced" (grown in the dark) sets off alarm bells.
Relegation hanging over any side usually sets off alarm bells for the players.
If my assumption is correct it sets off alarm bells because the new campaign is only in its infancy.