Sefton Council’s Trading Standards have received a number of reports of scams and profiteering on the coronavirus outbreak and are asking people to stay Safe and Savvy during this difficult time.
The reports range from inflated prices for hand sanitisers to emails claiming to be from organisations affiliated with the centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), designed to obtain personal and banking details.
Earlier in the the month Action Fraud reported receiving 21 reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totaling over £800k, since February 2020.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “This type of behavior is both shocking and disgraceful and has an impact on vulnerable members of our communities.
“Of the 21 reports, ten were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers.
“One victim reported losing over £15k when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.
“Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world and we are encouraging residents to engage with Citizens Advice.
“They have launched advice on coronavirus scams and a scam checker, to check if something might be a scam
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s chief executive Leon Livermore said: “It is abhorrent that unscrupulous individuals are using this difficult time as an opportunity to immiserate others further.
“Consumers should now be extra vigilant, and aware of these new scams that take many forms.
“The general rule of scams applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
“CTSI is monitoring these developments and will update the public as we receive further intelligence.
“In the meantime, the public should follow the official government advice, and take all necessary precautions.”