Fraudsters offering fake coronavirus advice and treatments

Police launch new campaign to crack down on scammers taking advantage of the pandemic.

A warning has been issued about scammers trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police said there was evidence of fraudsters targeting elderly and vulnerable people by offering advice and treatments for Covid-19.

They said members of the public and businesses were being targeted by bogus callers, emails, texts, phone calls and social media messages.

According to Police Scotland, scammers have set up fake websites to sell products and offer so-called cures or testing kits, as well as requesting donations to help victims.

In some instances, cold callers have contacted organisations suggesting a legal requirement to have certain measures in place by a specific deadline.

Chief Superintendent David Duncan said: “Anyone can be a victim of doorstep crime – it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Criminals can be very clever, and play on your emotions and insecurities.

“If someone comes to your door claiming to be from a legitimate organisation, always ask for identification.

“Don’t give people money or your bank details if they come to your door and offer to do shopping for you if you don’t know them. And never give your debit or credit card and PIN to anyone.”

Police said that between April and September lat year, more than £600,000 has been taken from householders in 306 cases of doorstep and bogus crime.

The force is working alongside Trading Standards Scotland, Advice Direct Scotland, Neighbourhood Watch Alert, Age Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in its new Shut Out Scammers campaign.

Fiona Richardson, chief officer of Trading Standards Scotland, said: “Trading Standards is at the forefront of tackling consumer-related scams.

“Working in partnership with the police and other Shut out Scammers partners means that we are better able to protect our most vulnerable citizens from Covid-related scams.”

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