Business News

COVID-19 scams and fraudulent activity alert

March 26, 2020

This information has been produced by Brighton and Hove City Council to reduce scam and fraudulent activity

The Council has received reports of unscrupulous traders and scammers who are using the pandemic situation to their own ends.

They would like you to share any information that you hear about so they can try to prevent further incidents.

The information needed is:

– the nature of the incident
– name of the business or individual causing the incident
– details of any vehicles associated with the business or individual responsible for the incident
– any telephone numbers associated with the business or individual responsible for the incident
– when and where it happened
– contact name and details for the person who was affected (if happy to share this)

The Council are aware of the following taking place around the country and some incidents in the city:

– Offers to help with shopping but then taking money and never returning
– Spray cleaning driveways to clear bacteria
– Posing as door to door testers
– Sale of facemasks and or hand sanitisers
– HMRC tax refund fraud
– Overpricing

Please email as much information as you have available to:

Alternatively, you can report this to Healthwatch and we will forward this information on: / 01273 234040

Some issues to look out for

– With many more people confined to their homes, the telesales fraudsters and doorstep criminals have an increased target base
– An increase of doorstep crime targeting the elderly and vulnerable is particularly dangerous. The risk is of someone spreading the virus while they are committing a crime
– Sale of home-made hand sanitisers which are either not safe or effective
– Overpricing of sought after goods and aggressive sales

The council’s Trading Standards team is doing all possible, despite the impact on services of COVID-19. They have:

Implemented changes to respond more promptly to requests for support
Alerted and liaised with the Neighbourhood Watch Association
Produced news letters to deal with the issues
Given advice to 450 residents identified as potential repeat victims
Liaised with East Sussex and West Sussex partners to agree a collaborative approach

Please stay safe, and look out for vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours.