Coronavirus scam warning as door-to-door crooks target elderly and vulnerable

Police are warning the public to be wary of door-to-door coronavirus scammers targeting elderly and vulnerable people stuck at home.

With the UK on lockdown and most Brits staying at home, crooks have "unprecedented opportunities" amid the pandemic.

There have been a number of incidents reported in Scotland recently of gangs pretending to be charities and asking for donations for COVID-19 victims, including in Edinburgh and East Dunbartonshire.

Some scam artists have set up hoax websites claiming to sell coronavirus cures or testing kits, which also ask for money.

There is evidence fraudsters across the UK are taking advantage of the outbreak in order to target members of the public by using emails, texts, telephone calls and social media messages offering advice and treatments for coronavirus.

A new campaign, Shut Out Scammers, has been launched to help people stay safe.

Police Scotland's Chief Superintendent David Duncan, Safer Communities Division said in a statement: "We are aware that community groups are being set up to help vulnerable members of our communities and we do not, in any way, want to impact on the good work being carried out.

"However it is imperative that we are all aware that vulnerable people can be seen as easy targets by criminals seeking to take advantage of this unprecedented and dynamic situation.

"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.

Live updates on COVID-19 cases near you

England: 4,792

  • London: 2,433
  • Midlands: 808
  • South East: 590
  • North West: 496
  • North East and Yorkshire: 446
  • East of England: 452
  • South West: 278

Scotland: 499

Wales: 418

Northern Ireland: 149

"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.

"If you are self-isolating, let friends and family know and if in doubt about anyone offering services at your door, step back and take a few minutes to contact them for advice. You can also visit the Police Scotland website for more information."

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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