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Criminals profiting from coronavirus pandemic

As coronavirus preys on the vulnerable, so are criminals. There's an epidemic of crime, cons and counterfeits as fraudsters cash-in on this crisis. Our research reveals fake treatments, illegal sanitiser and bogus safety masks - with police and trading standards seizing goods and issuing a new spate of public warnings.

ITV News was shown a kit being sold as a treatment for Covid-19, but the only real benefit was to the fraudsters behind it. The ‘treatment’ involves mixing potentially toxic chemicals and rinsing your mouth with them.

City of London Police, which handles fraud cases from across the country, fears that some of these kits have already been sold online and could be used.

ITV News was shown a kit being sold as a treatment for Covid-19. Credit: ITV News

One sign of how low criminals will go to profit from the pandemic is the batch of fake NHS lanyards police have uncovered.

Sold online, they unlawfully use the logo that is trademarked by the health service. Officers from City of London Police suspect that the products were being sold for users to gain shopping advantages and discounts.

Trading Standards in Birmingham told us counterfeit hand sanitiser is being sold with an illegal ingredient that has been banned since 2014.

Patricia Redmonds with a counterfeit mask she bought online. Credit: PA

If applied to the skin it could cause irritation and blemishes. They have seized all the stock they could find.

UK labs are testing products related to Covid-19 on an unprecedented scale, but it's feared many are dodging these checks.

One consumer from Hull, Patricia Redmonds, told ITV News she bought a mask online that was described as high quality with a good filter.

One sign of how low criminals will go to profit from the pandemic is the batch of fake NHS lanyards police have uncovered. Credit: ITV News

When it arrived the mask was so shoddy it fell to pieces in her hand. It is an example of how some fake products could give buyers an entirely false sense of reassurance.

These cons mean that, while millions of others can't work due to the coronavirus outbreak, many fraudsters are busier than ever.

It's an era where criminals aren’t wearing masks, they are selling them!

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know