Monday, 25 May 2020

Coronavirus con artists

Coronavirus con artists

RESIDENTS have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards officers have received reports of scams targeting people via emails, text messages and on the doorstep.

Judith Heathcoat, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It is hard to believe that some people will look to take advantage of the situation our country is facing but unfortunately this is a reality.

“Where possible, trading standards will pursue and tackle these despicable individuals but preventing people becoming victims in the first place is key. Be a good friend: help protect your family, friends and neighbours from scams.”

Jody Kerman, head of trading standards, said: “Action Fraud has recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports increased by 400 per cent in March. These scams come in many different guises so, before taking any action or agreeing to an offer, stop, ‘take five’ and discuss with a trusted friend or family member.”

Scams include people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus, people impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home testing’ for covid-19, emails offering a refund on bills and people offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If you need advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline 0808 223 1133.

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