Oxfordshire residents warned against coronavirus scams

Trading Standards says con-artists are taking advantage of the situation.

Oxfordshire's Trading Standards has published a load of scams that it's aware of; like people offering cleaning services and emails offering a refund on council tax.

It wants to prevent people from falling victim as scams are on the rise.

Jody Kerman, Head of the County Council Trading Standards, is urging the public to be cautious and not to be afraid of hanging up or shutting the door. He said: "Action Fraud has recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% 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."

Here are some of the scams Trading Standards is aware of:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus - there is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering 'home-testing' for coronavirus - this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy
  • Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom
  • People offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing
  • People offering home cleaning services.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the County Council's 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."

 

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