Met Police have issued a warning the general public to be extra cautious about scams by criminals preying on people’s fears about the coronavirus outbreak.
Many of these incidents that have been reported regard online shopping scams in which members of the public have ordered protective equipment, which has then never arrived in the post at all.
In addition, unsolicited home visits from criminals have been reported where they are ‘offering a service and asking for payment or to be let into your home’. The police advice is to immediately request and check their ID and credentials carefully and shut the door if you are not convinced.
Police have already alerted people in Harrow to criminals acting in the borough pretending to be ‘testing for Coronavirus’.
If you are suspicious, shut the door and report the matter to police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
There has also been a rise in cyber crimes, individuals and businesses are vulnerable to being a victim as internet use is more frequent as people shop and communicate with loved ones.
Reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails being sent have also been noted by police, the emails are designed to trick members of the public into opening attachments which then could enable criminals to obtain personal information, passwords and banking details, these often look genuine emails from websites and banks that you may use regularly.
Police have urged people to be aware of this and to not click any suspicious links or attachments.
Superintendent Lis Chapple, the Met’s lead for Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement, said: “We are seeing communities across London rallying together to help each other through this unprecedented public health crisis, and what is a difficult time for many. However, there are a small number of unscrupulous people out there who see it as an opportunity to con others for personal gain.
“The most vulnerable in society are often targeted which makes the offending all the more despicable, and the Met is committed to identifying these people and ensuring they are held to account for their actions.
“Please take a moment to think about who you are speaking to, what you are agreeing to and what you may be clicking on online. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
For more crime prevention advice, visit https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/.