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Covid-19 scam products alert

Trading standards for Somerset have issued an alert about bogus products. Scammers are attempting to take advantage of the Covid 19 crisis by putting out fake or inferior products.

This includes counterfeit medical kits that claim to prevent or cure the disease and fake online coronavirus resources which contain damaging software.

Counterfeit goods such as hand sanitiser, face masks and swabbing kits are also being widely advertised online.

Financial scams, both online and by telephone, have seen a marked increase as we reported last week. Criminals are trying to take advantage of the financial uncertainty many people and businesses face due to the coronavirus.

These include calls pretending to be from your bank or mortgage provider.

There has also been an increase in loan shark activity.

Residents are also being asked to take special care with doorstop helpers or traders. There are of course many volunteers working for genuine self help groups formed all around the county.

However it is important to be aware of those who may be taking money under the false pretence of helping with day-to-day tasks. Ideally you should be able to verify a caller before agreeing to let them help you.

The formal advice is as follows:

If you receive an offer of help from elsewhere, ask for a form of identification and always question paying any money upfront.  Never to give out personal or financial information (such as bank account details or your PIN) to anyone.  This also applies over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from your bank. Scammers will try to rush you into providing your personal details. They may say they have time-limited offer or claim that your bank account is at risk if you don’t give them the information they need right away. If you’re unsure whether the caller is genuine, it is a good idea to ring the company or bank they claim to be from. Make sure you find the number yourself and don’t use the one provided by the caller.

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