Be aware that opportunists and criminals can take advantage of the elderly and vulnerable who are self-isolating.
Most people offering to help elderly people in their neighbourhood are genuinely kind, honest and caring. The elderly self-isolating will be stuck for food, supplies and someone to talk to if they don't have friends, family or a nearby neighbour that they already know.
However, some people may try to take advantage of the increased isolation faced by these vulnerable groups.
It is important to be aware of:
- People offering or selling virus testing kits (the NHS are NOT conducting any door-to-door testing - if anyone knocks on your door proclaiming to be conducting these tests, please call the police)
- Vaccines or miracle cures - there is currently no vaccine for coronavirus
- Overpriced or fake goods to protect yourself from coronavirus, such as anti-bacterial gel
- Shopping or medication collection services - do not accept services from strangers who ask for cash up front or a credit card and its PIN.
- Home cleaning services
- Those looking to gain trust simply to execute a more elaborate scam e.g. to access savings.
For a full list of identified COVID-19 scams, please visit the Friends Against Scams website.
Protect yourself and others:
- Don't be rushed into making a decision. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money and sharing personal information.
- Don't assume everyone is genuine. It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone tries to pressurise you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers for help if you are unsure.
Scams can be hard to spot. But you can keep yourself and others safe by knowing the signs.
There are a number of resources available online to help in the fight against scams and financial abuse.
Download the Metropolitan Police’s Little Book of Big Scams, which outlines 10 Golden Rules to help beat scammers, information on what to do if you uncover a scam, and other useful contacts such as Royal Mail, the Mail Preference System or the Telephone Preference System.
Access support and advice through Think Jessica, a charity set up to raise awareness and campaign for change by making people aware of the danger and financial implications caused by postal and telephone scams
Complete a short online course and join Friends Against Scams
Find out about No Cold Calling Zones in Lambeth or find out how your street could become a No Cold Calling Zone.
Report scams and fraud to Action Fraud