Trading Standards Scotland has produced a range of guidance and advice to help prevent members of the public becoming victims of scams during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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 could 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 whilst online shopping 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.
In addition, Trading Standards Scotland – which is part of 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 to do TS staff as they work to identify and prevent scams and to protect Scottish consumers.”
For more information and advice, visit https://www.tsscot.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-scams/