Coronavirus

Please see our coronavirus pages for the latest guidance, how services are affected, and what help is available.

Wash your hands of coronavirus scams

Trading standards is warning people to be alert to coronavirus scams.

  • Be aware of people offering or selling items to test for/cure coronavirus. These are not currently available to purchase.
  • Be aware of people offering shopping or medication collection services. Don’t assume everyone is genuine. It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts to pressurise you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine.
  • More information is available on the Friends Against Scams website.
    The Friends Against Scams website also offers scam awareness eLearning.

Ambulance audio clip

  • There is a scaremongering short audio clip being shared pretending to be from the ambulance service. It is fake and should not be taken seriously.

Further information on scams

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
  • Home cleaning services
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details. (However support is available from the council with Council Tax etc if needed. If you get emails that purport to be from the council, please always check their authenticity by going to the official council website www.slough.gov.uk or contacting the council on a telephone number you already had and know is genuine. Please do not click any links in the email.)
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
  • Take your time; don’t be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of helps if you are unsure.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council on the numbers below.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.

Contact information:

  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

E-learning

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.

Become a Scam Marshal

A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that it can be utilised as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. Visit the ScamMarshals page for more information and to sign up.

Related pages

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Report a business you think is acting unfairly during the Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak using this online form