Warning over Covid-19 scams

Scammers and fraudsters are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to rip people off – and Falkirk Council’s trading standards team want people to be on their guard against them.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 3rd April 2020, 10:28 am

Emails, door to door calls and texts are being used to deceive individuals and businesses alike.

People should think carefully and do their research before buying or signing up to anything, warns Falkirk Council’s Trading Standards and Corporate Fraud teams.

Crimes that have been reported across the UK include doorstep callers who offer to help with shopping or collecting prescriptions and mobile apps that falsely claim to give advice and updates on coronavirus but then lock and demand a ransom fee to reclaim the phone.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

There have been reports of various virus scams, including bogus traders selling fake masks, testing kits and ‘cures’.

Some people are falling for adverts for online testing kits and so-called miracle cures that are completely bogus.

And some fraudsters are even impersonating health workers doing doorstep calling claiming to offer testing.

You should also be aware of emails offering a council tax rebate or reduction in utility bills and emails pretending to be from official channels asking employees to purchase iTunes vouchers, then to photograph the code and send on.

People have also made orders for hand sanitiser, gloves and masks that never arrive.

Councillor Laura Murtagh, spokesperson for Public Protection said: “There are many fraudsters out there who are keen to exploit this situation to make financial gain.

“Police and other agencies are working constantly to shut these schemes down on behalf of the public and businesses.

“We’d urge that everyone thinks very carefully about any transaction they enter into and do some research before making a commitment.

“Consumers and businesses have already reported more than £1m worth of fraud as a result of the coronavirus situation and we are determined to prevent any local residents/businesses from being a victim of fraud.”

If you think you have been a victim of fraud contact Police Scotland on 101.

Any scams or overpricing can reported to Trading Standards via Advice Direct Scotland on advice.scot or by calling 0808 800 9060.