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Scam warning issued for Suffolk residents as criminals look to exploit coronavirus pandemic

An increase in scams seeking to exploit people during the coronavirus pandemic has been reported by police, with Suffolk residents warned to be on the lookout.

Suffolk Constabulary is issuing guidance on how to avoid unscrupulous individuals looking to use the publicity around the virus to take advantage of the vulnerable.

Examples of the scams include fraudulent coronavirus tax refunds, fake cures, impersonated World Health Organisation emails and bit coin payments.

Scam warning (32435413)
Scam warning (32435413)

Residents are urged to always ask for identification of anybody claiming to be from the emergency services or the voluntary sector, to steer clear of dealing with unexpected cold callers and to never trust anyone asking for a cash transfer over the phone.

Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, county policing commander for Suffolk, 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.

“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.”

Anyone who knows someone who is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud should call Suffolk Police on 101.

For more information, go to www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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