Unscrupulous criminals looking to exploit coronavirus vulnerable warn police

Police have warned the vulnerable may be at risk of scammers Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

Police have warned the vulnerable may be at risk of scammers Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk Constabulary are warning the public to stay vigilant as criminals look to exploit the coronavirus to target vulnerable people.

The force is issuing advice to combat unscrupulous individuals who look to exploit the vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak.

For example, members of the public should ask for identification from anyone claiming to be from the emergency services or the voluntary sector and not to open the door to anyone, especially from someone you are not expecting.

Other scams include coronavirus tax refunds, fake cures, World Health Organisation impersonation emails and bit coin payments.

READ MORE: ‘This isn’t scare mongering’ - Police chief urges public to listen to coronavirus advice

Suffolk police said it was important for relatives and neighbours to keep on vulnerable people to help them avoid such scams.

County Policing Commander for Suffolk, Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, said: “We are living through unprecedented times, and while we are seeing mostly positive and very helpful community based activity to support the vulnerable, there continues to be a heartless and scheming group of criminals who will look to exploit the current situation for their own needs.

“Scams are likely to come in many different forms – from, for example, calling on people to say they are testing for the virus, to those fraudulently selling protective face masks, or offering to do shopping and taking money.

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“The majority of groups are well intentioned and will be working through the voluntary or charity sector and will be very happy to provide you with proof as to who they are.

“The message is simple, if you have any doubts about the honesty of the person or offer of help, we urge you not to engage further – put the phone down or shut the door and report suspicious behaviour.”

Suffolk Constabulary’s advice:

·Only accept help from people you know and / or trust. Never deal with unexpected cold callers

·You do not have to agree to anything you don’t feel comfortable with

· Police, health workers and others will not and do not call at your house to test for coronavirus or ask for money regarding investigations

·Check the person calling at your door has valid identification, even if they are dressed in uniform

·Do not transfer any money across to someone who calls you over the phone, banks will not ask for your personal security details

· Do not trust anyone asking for money transfers or cash over the phone

· Do not make shopping purchases from a company or person you do not know and trust. Use a credit card to pay to protect yourselves.

If you feel in immediate danger call 999.

If you know someone that is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud, contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101 or Action Fraud at or call 0300 123 2040.

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