Clwyd West AM Darren Millar is warning people in Conwy and Denbighshire to be aware of unscrupulous criminals who are exploiting fears about Covid-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.
National Trading Standards have reported that there are a number of coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over Covid-19, and Darren is keen that his constituents don’t fall victim to any of them.
He said: and
“At a time when communities are coming together, it saddens me greatly that these criminals are exploiting this crisis to their advantage. It is absolutely crucial that we do everything we can to prevent them succeeding and I therefore urge everyone, but particularly the old and the vulnerable, to be extra vigilant.
“They should ignore scam products such as supplements and anti-virus kits that falsely claim to cure or prevent Covid-19. In some cases individuals may be pressurised on their own doorsteps to buy anti-virus kits or persuaded into purchasing products that are advertised on their social media feeds. In addition, some call centres that previously targeted UK consumers with dubious health products are now offering supplements that supposedly prevent Covid-19.
“Communities are also 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, there have been reports of criminals preying on residents – often older people or people living with long-term health conditions – by cold-calling at their homes and offering to go to the shops for them. The criminals often claim to represent charities to help them appear legitimate before taking the victim’s money. There are genuine charities providing support, so consumers should be vigilant and ask for ID from anyone claiming to represent a charity.
“These are worrying times for us all and I would hate for any of my constituents to have the additional upset of being scammed, so please be extremely cautious”.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“It is despicable that heartless criminals are exploiting members of the public – including some of our most vulnerable citizens – to line their own pockets. I urge everyone to be on their guard for possible Covid-19 scams and to look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters.
“We’re calling on communities to look out for one another. If you see anything suspicious, report it to Action Fraud or to speak to someone for advice, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.”
People are being encouraged to protect their neighbours by joining Friends Against Scams, which provides free online training to empower people to take a stand against scams. To complete the online modules, visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.
For further details on the scams doing the rounds and advice on how to avoid becoming a victim visit; https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/beware-of-covid19-scams/