Don't get caught out by fraudsters during coronavirus outbreak

Released on 3 April 2020 Archived Press Release

Stratford News

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is warning residents of a coronavirus-related scam that seeks to benefit from the public's concern and uncertainty over COVID-19

The District Council has been alerted to the fact that fraudsters appear to be sending letters to households in Stratford District, claiming to be from the District Council and offering help with buy shopping, housing repairs and collecting prescriptions.

The District Council has not sent out a letter to households.

Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon 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."

Warwickshire Shielding Hubs

The 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.

Types of scams
Scams circulating across the country include:

  • offering to do shopping for those self-isolating
  • buying medical supplies online
  • sending emails offering fake medical support
  • high return investments
  • 'healthcare opportunities'
  • appeals to support bogus charities or those who are ill
  • fake text messages from HMRC and about free school meals

How to avoid scams

  • 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.

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 03/04/2020

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