Stay alert to potential scams
People are being urged to watch out for criminals who are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are just some of the scams our Trading Standards team is aware of, but it's worth remembering that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online and scams are evolving all the time:
- Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (Covid-19)
- People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
- People offering home cleaning services for ‘virus decontamination’
- People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy
- Emails and cold calls saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details
- There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money
- Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details, for you to withdraw cash to be collected, or transfer money to another ‘safe’ account over the phone
- There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom
If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999. Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed and you have given financial information.
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit Friends Against Scams and complete the free online training.