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Beware of scams during coronavirus outbreak

Added on: 13th May, 2020 by O1

Beware of scams during coronavirus outbreak

Last Updated:
Wed, 13 May 2020

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Bromley Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19. Criminals can contact you at the door, by phone, in the post or online.

Communities are being urged to look out for signs of neighbours being targeted by doorstep criminals. While there are genuine groups of volunteers providing help during self-isolation please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy.

Here are some of the scams we are aware of:

• People impersonating healthcare workers claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ or people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).

• Offers of home cleaning services which scammers use to try to gain access to your home – don’t allow strangers into your home without checking who they are via a trusted source.

• People offering to spray disinfectant onto driveways, doorways and doorbells for cash

• Emails 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.

• 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.

• Be aware that your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details or PIN over the phone.

• People offering to do shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

• Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence

Tips to avoid being scammed:

• Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.

• Take your time; don’t be rushed.

• If someone claims to represent a charity, be suspicious and don’t give them money or your bank details. Don’t let them into your home.

• If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as Gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses carefully and don’t click on links in emails or text messages

• Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.

• Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger, even if they are going to get shopping for you.

• Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know and trust.

You can contact Trading Standards via email trading.standards@bromley.gov.uk or if you need help urgently for example to report someone going door to door contact the Rapid Response on 07903 852 090

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk

Read more articles likes this one in The Orpington 1st Magazine Summer 2020

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