Beware of cover-19 coronavirus scams Image: AdobeStock_87212890

Reports of fake hand sanitiser and coronavirus tests

Bedford Borough Council’s Trading Standards team is warning people to remain vigilant. This follows reports of coronavirus-related scams as criminals try to exploit people’s fears.

In Bedfordshire, the sale of counterfeit goods such as hand sanitiser and fake coronavirus tests has been reported. Currently, there are no legitimate coronavirus tests for sale.

Look out for people selling other counterfeit goods such as sanitisers, face masks, or coronavirus swabbing kits online or door-to-door. Trading Standards says that these products are likely to be ineffective and could be unsafe to use.

There are genuine groups of volunteers providing help for those in self-isolation. But there have been reports nationally of individuals cold-calling on people and offering to go for the shops for them, sometimes claiming to represent a charity.

Consumers should be vigilant and ask for ID from anyone claiming to represent a charity.

Communities are being urged to look out for their neighbours. Especially those who are more vulnerable, and check for signs of them being targeted by doorstep criminals.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services said:

“We have seen some amazing examples of community generosity and kindness in recent days, and I know people across the Borough are grateful for the work that’s being done.

“But, we also have to be wary of that small minority who would look to take advantage of this awful situation for their own gain. Only use reputable suppliers, companies you’ve used before or know to be trustworthy when making purchases online, be wary of anyone cold calling, and avoid buying products or services from people on your doorstep.”

If you have been targeted by a scam, please report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040, or Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

If anyone in Bedford Borough is in self-isolation and is in need of support, for example food or prescription medication, they can contact the Council’s Community Hub at www.bedford.gov.uk/covid19 or by phoning 01234 718101.