At this challenging time, sadly, there have been several scams reported on social media and in the news. These can have an extremely adverse effect on people and especially the vulnerable.
We are aware of the scams below which are taking place under the guise of being a coronavirus (COVID-19) help service.
Here are the details and some important safety measure you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from this criminal activity.
Scams and how to stay safe
• People are knocking on doors claiming to be from the Red Cross and offering to do your essential shopping. The criminal takes either your money/or your bank card and does not return.
NEVER give money or your bank card/credit card to someone you do not know.
• People are receiving telephone calls from criminals saying that they are from the Government Department for Education or HMRC. They then ask for your bank details to send you your benefit/money.
NEVER give your bank details out over the phone.
• Free School Meals Email. Some parents have received an email saying: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’.
The Government is telling recipients NOT to respond and to DELETE the email immediately.
Advice and support
• Anyone providing emergency food provision for a vulnerable person is being urged to shield. You can register someone who is shielding or who needs help with the Government website. You can also register by calling 0800 028 8327.
If you have already registered, but you have not received a call from Bristol City Council, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line URGENT.
• A dedicated free telephone hotline is now available in Bristol to help the city’s most vulnerable people during the pandemic.
The We Are Bristol support phone number – 0800 694 0184 – is free to use and provides support for people with a wide range of needs, including getting food supplies, other essential items and medication.
Stop the Loan Sharks
This is also a time when you maybe under increased financial pressure. The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.
The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service – 0300 555 2222 – is operating as usual.
If you think you have fallen victim to a loan shark or you suspect a family member or friend is suffering at the hands of a loan shark, please contact the team for help. You can also visit the website for more information and support.
Reporting a scam
If you are a victim of a scam or an attempted scam, please call your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.
Please also let your Housing Officer know by calling 0117 942 4600 so that we can support you and others in the community.