Deputy PCC: Coronavirus has led to a new outbreak of scams

The Covid-19 pandemic has also created a breeding ground for scams and fraud, the deputy police and crime commissioner has warned.

Deputy PCC Stuart Tweedale, who has been at the vanguard of raising awareness of the issue for years, said today that the virus had led to a new outbreak of scams.

Fraudsters and criminals are increasingly looking for ways to capitalise on victims who are isolated, lonely and afraid of the effects of the virus.

According to National Trading Standards new scams have included:

• Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.

• Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

• Emails luring people to click on attachments which steal personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.

• Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips.

• There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.

Now Mr Tweedale is taking to the road with Horncastle-based PCSO Nigel Wass to warn people across the county about the issue and how to protect themselves as part of the Scams Awareness Fortnight – which starts today (Monday).

He will be visiting Tesco stories throughout Lincolnshire to promote the #ScamAware message and has teamed up with Lincolnshire Police to create a leaflet to avoid residents falling prey to a “test and trace” scam.

Mr Tweedale said: “The coronavirus crisis means more people are facing issues - from employment and debt, to housing and health - resulting in more people being in vulnerable situations.

“In addition, the overall heightened uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic is making everyone more vulnerable and more likely to fall victim to a scam. Empowering the public against scams is crucial during these uncertain times.”

The dates of his tour are:

• Lincoln Extra (Tuesday, June 16) - 9.30am - 11.30am to midday

• Tesco store south of Lincoln (Tuesday, June 16) - 1pm to 2pm

• Market Rasen (Wednesday, June 17) - 10am - 11.30am to midday

• Gainsborough (Thursday, June 18) - 10am - 11.30am to midday

• Skegness (Friday, June 19) - 10am - 11.30am to midday

• Boston (Monday, June 22) - 10am - 11.30am to midday

• Holbeach (Tuesday, June 23) - 10am - 11.30am

• Baytree Garden Centre (Wednesday, June 24) - 9.30am - 11.30am

• Spalding (Wednesday, June 24) - 1pm to 2.30pm

• Stamford (Thursday, June 25) - 9.30am - 11am

• Market Deeping (Thursday, June 25) - 1pm - 2.30pm

• Bourne (Friday, June 26) - 9.30am - 11.30am

• Sleaford (Friday, June 26) - 1pm - 2.30pm