Residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus crisis.
There are many genuine community efforts to help residents; to provide good quality advice and support, but Havering Council and the Metropolitan Police are reminding everyone that not everyone is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unprecedented situation.
Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:
“Action Fraud recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports increased by 400% in March.
“It’s immensely disappointing that some people will look to take advantage of the situation our country is facing, but unfortunately this is something we must be vigilant about.
“Where we can, our Trading Standards team will pursue and tackle these despicable individuals, but preventing people from becoming victims in the first place is the most important thing.
“Be a Havering Hero – help to protect your friends, family, and neighbours from scams by making them aware.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, East Area Tri-Borough Commander added:
“If you’re ever suspicious or unsure about an offer, online or offline, take time to make all the checks you need to, even if this means turning down what seems like an amazing deal”
Here are just some of the current scams Trading Standards is advising the public to be aware of and be vigilant against
Criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online, so be aware of:
• People offering fake miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus.
• Those impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus.
• Emails or text messages offering a refund on taxes, utilities or similar to capture personal and bank details.
• Fake products online to protect you or cure coronavirus.
• Mobile phone applications giving updates on the virus but instead, it locks your phone and demand a ransom.• Offers to shop or collect medication with money demanded up front
Remember: Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
There is a lot of advice out there, here’s who to contact:• If you think you have been scammed, report it to the Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040•
If you need advice, call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133.• If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.•
Contact your bank if you think you have been financially scammed.•
Age UK runs a telephone support service (for older people and carers): 01865 411288.