10:39AM, Tuesday 31 March 2020
A county councillor has said he is ‘appalled’ at an increase in scam complaints following the coronavirus outbreak.
There has been a rise in the number of complaints, according to the Bucks and Surrey Trading Standards team, which is warning people to be wary of the threat.
Doorstep scammers have been taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to con elderly and vulnerable people and, since the beginning of March, the number of complaints has risen by 40 per cent.
Latest complaints include a South Bucks woman in her 80s who answered the door to a man who tried to demand £220 in cash to complete a health and safety check.
There have been also been complaints of scammers trying to take people’s bank details to cover payments for school meals whilst the schools are closed.
People are urged to be aware of others offering or selling items like virus testing kits – which can only be offered by the NHS – or vaccines, of which there are none at the moment.
Trading Standards has advised people not to be pressurised into making decisions, to be suspicious of money upfront, and to only buy from trusted retailers.
Gareth Williams, Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for communities and public health, said: “I am absolutely appalled that anyone would use a time of national emergency to target vulnerable and older people. This is as low as you can get.
“I’m heartened by the fantastic number of people locally who want to help others, and I’d encourage anyone looking out for their elderly and vulnerable neighbours to keep an eye and ear out for these types of scammers.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01296 388788 if you have any information about or are worried about the scams.
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