Be vigilant of Covid-19 scams

Date: 26/03/2020
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Gwynedd Council is warning people to be vigilant of unscrupulous fraudsters taking advantage of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to scam members of the public.

 

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with home visits, emails, texts, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages as well as setting up websites with the aim of tricking people out of money or information.

 

Some of scams reported to trading standards include:

  • people pretending to be ‘Good Samaritans’ and tricking people out of money
  • websites selling fake products and ‘cures’
  • websites asking for donations for victims
  • promoting awareness and prevention tips.
  • cold calling businesses and organisations telling them that certain measures must be in place by a specific deadline.

 

John Eden Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Public Protection Enforcement officer, said: “It has been brought to our attention that there are people pretending to be Good Samaritans during this pandemic – offering to fetch shopping for vulnerable individuals who are self-isolating. But in fact their vulnerability is being exploited by being overcharged or being duped into sharing their cash card and PIN.”

 

To help members of the public protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud, Gwynedd’s Trading Standards Unit is advising people to:

 

  • Ask friends, family, neighbours or a trusted organisation – such as your local community council or a local charity – to fetch shopping or prescriptions on your behalf. Don’t forget that a number of local businesses are offering a delivery service because in these current circumstances. There’s a list of voluntary and community groups able to help on the Council’s website www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/CommunityHelp

 

  • Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the   Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links

 

  • Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity

 

  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money. Never make donations by cash or gift card or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram

 

  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

 

For more information about dealing with scams and fraud, call the Consumer Service telephone number 0808 223 1133 or visit Gwynedd Council’s website www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/TradingStandards