Release date: 10 June 2020
Be wary of coronavirus related scams, warns West Sussex Trading Standards after residents are targeted by scammers during the pandemic.
“My parents were called by scammers claiming to use ultra violet lamps to get rid of coronavirus,” explains Ian Meaker-Bayford, the son of two elderly West Sussex residents.
“I had warned them to be careful and my father declined to let them go round to his house. He is now in regular contact with West Sussex Trading Standards and I am so grateful to them.”
This is just one of the many scams circulating at the moment and Trading Standards officers have contacted hundreds of vulnerable residents across the county to warn them.
As part of Scams Awareness Fortnight (15-28 June) officers are advising residents to be aware of fake calls claiming to be from the NHS. The NHS Test and Trace service will never:
• ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
• ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
• ask for any details about your bank account
• ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
• ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
• ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
• ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS.
Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “We know West Sussex residents are being targeted by scammers so please be wary.
“The NHS Test and Trace Service will never ask for your bank details, any passwords or pins and will never ask you for payment.
“If you have concerns and are worried you have been targeted by a scam, please don’t hesitate to contact Citizen’s Advice and report it.”
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Residents are more likely to be isolated at the moment and unfortunately many scammers are taking advantage of this.
“I would urge residents to speak to their elderly friends and relatives about these scams and to report anything suspicious.”
The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By following any advice the genuine NHS test and trace service gives you, you will help to contain the virus by reducing its spread.
Use the Citizen’s Advice online Scam Checker to help recognise a scam.
Anyone concerned about scams can get advice from the Citizens Advice Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.
To learn more about scams and to report fraud, visit the Action Fraud website.
You can report an incident or concern direct to West Sussex Trading Standards.