Wash your hands of Coronavirus scams
Midlothian Council and the Police are reminding residents in the area that scammers never miss an opportunity. The message is to be on guard during the Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.
Variety of scams operating
Across the UK there have been reports of various virus related scams. These include bogus traders selling fake masks, testing kits and ‘cures’. Some of these fraudsters have been pretending to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There have been scammers seeking donations for victims or impersonating healthcare workers to gain entry into people’s homes. Fraudsters have also offered to do shopping or to collect medication and asked for money upfront before disappearing.
There are even new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom for unlocking.
Midlothian Council Trading Standards team advice
- Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls
- Be suspicious if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the coronavirus. Never click on any attachments or links. Their purpose is to trick you into opening malicious attachments or revealing personal or financial information.
- Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money and never make donations by cash, gift card or through money transfer agents.
- Be vigilant and on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly. Ask to see an ID card. These can be faked so if in doubt phone the company to verify their identity
- If someone turns up at your door, remember, it’s your home. There’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes. Don’t be embarrassed to turn people away.
- Never provide any personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth. Scammers can use this information to steal your identity
- Don’t be pressured into making decisions. Take time to ask advice from family and friends.
For advice on scams call
- Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 164 6000.
- To report a crime call the Police on 101.
- Contact your bank if you think you have been financially scammed.
Cllr Russell Imrie, Midlothian's Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards said: “There have been so many positive examples of people pulling together and supporting each other at this difficult time. However it is unfortunate that some individuals see this time as an opportunity to scam others. I would urge people to be careful and follow the advice of our Trading Standards team and the Police if they have any concerns about approaches made to them.”
Competitions Market Authority
Some businesses have also been raising their prices unreasonably for food and certain toiletry items such as hand gels during the pandemic outbreak.