Trading Standards issue warning over Covid 9 scams

Thursday 14 May 2020

The council’s trading standards team is promoting a range of guidance and advice produced by its national body, Trading Standards Scotland, to help prevent local residents becoming victims of COVID 19 scams.

Officers have been dealing with a variety of reports of both cyber and doorstep scams in recent weeks.

Online scams have included quizzes that ask for personal information which can then be used to commit financial fraud or identity theft; fake emails, texts and calls claiming to be from HMRC, the NHS and the World Health Organisation (WHO); fake supermarket vouchers, and pop-up adverts that appear while people are shopping online apparently offering discount codes.

There have also been reports of companies offering to ‘cleanse’ properties of COVID-19 and of fraudsters cold calling households and posing as NHS or Red Cross staff.

Councillor Michael McCormick, Convener of Inverclyde Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee, said, “Scammers never miss a chance to try and part people from their money. For them the coronavirus is just another opportunity to feed on people's fears. But people need to weigh up what they are being offered against the advice from the NHS, Inverclyde Council and the Scottish Government.

“Scientists have found that normal, household soap is better for killing the virus than almost anything else – even disinfectants and alcohol based wipes and gels. It literally causes the virus to disintegrate. Regularly washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is one of the most effective things you can do to protect yourself and your household.

“While these are new scams people still need to be wary about the ‘old favourites’. Recently we have received a number of calls from the public about a fake GOV.UK email about how people can reclaim hundreds of pounds in Council Tax. This is a scam.”

In addition, Trading Standards Scotland – which is part of local government umbrella body COSLA - has been investigating the sale of fake medical products, including items claiming to prevent or cure COVID-19, and testing kits.

Councillor Kelly Parry, Chair of Trading Standards Scotland and COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, said: “Scammers continue to bombard Scottish consumers with fake emails, cold calls and online fraud.

“Trading Standards staff are working to disrupt and prevent these scammers and to keep the public informed. Consumers should get their information from official sources and should question all unsolicited calls and emails.”

She continued, “Trading Standards staff in Scotland are keeping consumers updated on the latest email, online, phone and doorstep scams.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has seen an emergence of new scams and consumers are advised to get information from trusted, official sources only.

“As fraudsters adapt to changing circumstances, so do Trading Standards staff as they work to identify and prevent scams and to protect Scottish consumers.”

Below is a copy of the scam Council Tax email that is currently circulating. The government doesn't deal with Council Tax benefits. This is handled by the council.

 

GOV.UK

 

Council Tax Reduction

You have a new message from GOV.UK about your Council Tax

Hi,

Working out your Council Tax

You`ll need to know 3 things:

·  the valuation band for your home in England and Wales or in Scotland

·  how much your local council charges for that band

·  whether you can get a discount or exemption from the full bill

You are getting a Council Tax Reduction (this used to be called Council Tax Benefit) considering you`re on a low income or get benefits.

  • Total amount of benefits: GBP 385.50
  • The refund amount will be transferred directly on your Debit/Credit Card.

Apply now to claim the reductions made over your past 2 years of Council tax payments.


Claim your Council Tax Reduction Now ↣

The information in this electronic e.Mail message is private and confidential, and only intended for the addressee.

Thanks

The Government Digital Service Team

Crown Copyright 2020

Page last updated: 14 May 2020