Tell your friends and loved ones not to accept offers of help from strangers or cold callers who may attempt to contact them in person, online or over the phone. Signing up for help directly through Harpenden Cares is the best way to ensure a loved one doesn’t fall victim to scammers.
From the Local Government Association website: “The Local Government Association is urging residents not to accept services from strangers or cold callers – whether in person, on the phone or online – who offer to run errands, collect prescriptions and do shopping and ask for cash upfront, or a credit card and its PIN.
Councils have already seen a number of coronavirus-related scams involving fraudsters knocking on the doors of the elderly and impersonating either council officers or health officials offering mandatory coronavirus testing. The intention of these fraudsters is to manipulate and gain the trust of the elderly and vulnerable in self-isolation simply to execute more elaborate scams, gain access to their property or access their savings.
Other scams included:
- Phishing e-mails offering quack remedies, vaccination kits or bogus medical advice.
- ‘Price gougers’ selling in-demand items such as facemasks and hand sanitiser at inflated prices both on fake websites and legitimate online marketplaces, with victims often paying upfront and never receiving the kit.
- Criminals exploiting pandemic panic to assist in burglary or fraud by impersonating government, council or medical officers.
- Scam e-mails pretending to be charities encouraging residents to donate or travel companies asking for information about cancelled holidays, often to secure unsuspecting victims’ payment details or steal their identity.
- Advertisements for “money mules” playing on the fears of the financially insecure, which are often part of more serious organised criminal networks including fraud and drug gangs.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.