Trading Standards experts are warning people to beware of criminals and rogue traders who are trying to con people with coronavirus-related scams.Advertisement
Fraudsters are preying on people’s uncertainty and fear to convince them to hand over their money for scams, substandard goods, and services they don’t need.
In South Ribble, it was reported that a doorstep cold caller attempted to charge an elderly man £3,500 for power washing his driveway. Trading standards is looking into this issue.
The police have also received reports of door-to-door salespeople offering “home Coronavirus testing kits”. These items are fake; no such testing facility is currently available to the public in the UK.
The police have also received reports of cold callers selling hand sanitiser, masks and rubber gloves. While this may not be a scam, Trading Standards would warn people against buying these items from anyone other than recognised retailers.
Meanwhile, school meal scam reports are emerging. Parents are being asked to provide bank details to retain a free school meal entitlement. People should never do this and should instead report these scams to the county council.
Read more: How Prestonians are responding to coronavirus lockdown rules
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said: “There really is no limit to the lengths fraudsters will go in order to con people out of their money.
“Unfortunately, they are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to scam vulnerable people.
“We’re doing everything we can to make people aware of these scams as they are reported. I’d urge people to be particularly vigilant at the moment and keep a look out for their neighbours.
“Always say no to cold callers, and be suspicious of any unsolicited communications via phone, email or post. Don’t act on the emails if you don’t know the sender or think the email looks suspicious. Never click on the link.”
Other national and international scams include fraudulent COVID-19 tax refund offers, and scam emails claiming to be from researchers asking for donations.
Read more: Crime news from Blog Preston
To contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, call 0808 2231133 or visit the Citizens Advice website.
Lancashire County Council’s Safe Trader Scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to the Safe Trader website.
Follow the Scambuster Stan Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest scam alerts.