Fraudsters exploiting Coronavirus fears and lockdown trends - The Rugby Observer

Fraudsters exploiting Coronavirus fears and lockdown trends

Rugby Editorial 2nd Oct, 2020   0

FRAUDSTERS are exploiting Coronavirus fears and lockdown trends, Warwickshire Trading Standards (WTS) has warned.

Residents are being warned to look out for the latest hoaxes, which include test and trace scams, bogus puppy sellers, and a spate of scam phone calls.


FRAUDSTERS have been reported posing as people from the NHS Test and Trace programme, launched to help control the COVID-19 virus.

Scammers are pretending to be contact tracers in a bid to trick people into parting with their personal information.

People will be alerted by the NHS Test and Trace service if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Genuine contact tracers will call from 0300 013 5000 or send text messages from ‘NHS’ asking people to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website.

They will not ask for bank details, payments, details of social media accounts, or ask people to set up a password or PIN number over the phone, or to call a premium rate number such as those starting 09 or 087.

Visit for more information on the NHS Test and Trace programme.


BOGUS puppy sellers have been taking advantage of the increased popularity of buying a dog during lockdown.

Buyers have reported trying to buy puppies via internet and social media advertisements where they are often asked to pay hundreds of pounds up front.

Prospective owners are shown photographs or video of the puppy before fraudsters then take the money and disappear.

Buyers should also beware of purchasing illegally bred puppies including illegal imports, and stolen puppies.

Guidance is available from the RSPCA at or Dogs Trust at


A SPATE of bogus phone calls have recently been reported to Warwickshire Trading Standards.

They include calls from fraudsters claiming to be calling from Amazon, saying that the resident owes money for an order or that there has been an unauthorised purchase on the resident’s account.

Fraudsters have also been falsely claiming to represent HMRC, stating that residents have either defrauded the Government or owe money to the Government and will be arrested if they don’t immediately resolve the problem.

False threats to cut off utilities, in particular broadband because of unpaid debts, have also been reported.

And fraudsters have also been claiming to be calling from Scotland Yard to say that the resident’s bank account had been cloned and money used to purchase consumer electricals. The caller asks the resident to dial 999 on their keypad.

Trading Standards warned residents to never reveal personal and financial information – including passwords, or send money, often via bank transfer or gift cards – and instead put the phone down because unsolicited genuine phone calls from any company or Government department are rare. If you believe a call to be genuine, phone them back on a publicly listed telephone number.


COVID-19 has led to a boom in online sales and with it have appeared bogus sellers.

Their websites appear glossy and professional and advertise what at first glance appear to be good quality products. The companies claim to be based in the UK or Europe.

In reality, these websites are selling poor quality products. The traders are often based in the Far East and many consumers have reported that products either don’t arrive at all or take months to be delivered.

They have been unable to get their money back when problems are found, including damaged, poor quality and counterfeit goods.

Visit for online shopping advice.


RESIDENTS interested in investing are warned to beware of bogus ‘celebrity endorsement’ advertisements that often appear on the Internet and social media, directing people to scam investment websites that take money but deliver little or nothing.

Go to to visit the Financial Conduct Authorities’ Scam Smart website, which has advice on how to avoid investment and pension related scams.


Visit or call 0300 123 2040 to report fraud or cybercrime.


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