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Public warned to be vigilant after increase in Covid-19 scams

Residents across the South are being warned to be vigilant following an increase in coronavirus-related scams.

It comes as members of the public are self-isolating, often leaving older and vulnerable people alone at home.

Credit: PA Images

According to National Trading Standards, some of the scams involve people selling fake anti-virus kits and "dubious health products" that claim to prevent coronavirus.

The agency is asking neighbours to look out for one another to help stop the fraud from taking place.

"It is despicable that heartless criminals are exploiting members of the public. I urge everyone to be on their guard for possible COVID-19 scams and to look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters."

– Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards
Credit: PA Images

Coronavirus scams have cost victims more than £800,000 in one month, according to Action Fraud.

In one case, a victim lost more than £15,000 when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.

£15,000
was lost when a victim purchased face masks that were never delivered, Action Fraud.

What type of scams should you look out for?

  • Doorstep crime: People claiming to offer Covid-19 testing kits. Offers to do shopping for those self-isolating. Offers to clean driveways and doors in order to "kill off" coronavirus.
  • Online scams: Emails claiming to be from the Government offering tax rebates. Fake online resources like false Coronavirus Maps.
  • Refund scams: Fake companies offering refunds on holidays cancelled due to coronavirus.
  • Donation scams: Fake charities claiming they are collecting money to help fund virus vaccination research.
Credit: Nicolas Economou/PA Images

Councils across the South are also warning residents about the threat of coronavirus scams.

Brighton and Hove City Council say they have "received reports of unscrupulous traders and scammers" and are doing "all possible" despite their services being impacted by coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Hampshire County Council is asking residents to share information about how to protect against scams, with friends and family.

"The coronavirus pandemic is quickly changing the way we lead our lives, with many residents now staying at home. We are determined to do everything we can to protect them from this, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities."

– Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council
Credit: PA Images

Who should you contact?

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

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