Fraudsters claiming to be from Stratford District Council have been sending out letters offering help to buy shopping, carry out household repairs and collect prescriptions.
The council, which has sent out no such letters, is warning residents not to be fooled by the coronavirus-related scam, which seeks to exploit the public’s concern and uncertainty over Covid-19.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, leader of Stratford District Council, said: “Criminals are exploiting fears about the pandemic to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.
“These frauds try to lure you in with what look like genuine offers of help from trusted organisations. I can assure you the District Council is not the author of this letter circulating. Communications to those most vulnerable in our communities is being done at a local level with Parish and Town Council support.
“Besides this particular letter circulating, it is likely that the number of frauds could increase as more people work from home and vulnerable and elderly people self-isolate.
“There are genuine charities providing support, but you should be vigilant and ask for ID from anyone claiming to represent a charity. Be assured that those making contact with vulnerable people about receiving support from the local ‘shielding hub’ will be reliably identifiable and will never ask for bank details or money.
“I must stress that it is not only individuals that are at risk but businesses are also being targeted, and, so is the District Council by people attempting to fraudulently claim grants and reliefs. We must all be vigilant.”
A number of scams are currently circulating the country, including those offering to do shopping for those self-isolating and emails offering fake medical support.
Other scams include offers of high-return investments, healthcare opportunities, appeals to support bogus charities and fake messages from HMRC about free school meals.
The advice on how to avoid scams urges residents to:
- Stop: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
- Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
The district council and partners are offering extra help for those identified as extremely vulnerable who have no access to food and support. People in this group should call 0800 4081447 or go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirusextremelyvulnerable for more information.
If you have been asked to ‘shield’ yourself from coronavirus by isolating for 12 weeks Warwickshire is here for you. If you have no local support call the dedicated helpline on 0800 4081447. For all other enquiries please continue to go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 410410.