TRADING standards officers from Cheshire West and Chester Council are urging people to remain alert for scams during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Cheshire Police has warned of a growing national trend of criminals taking advantage of the current Covid-19 crisis to defraud innocent people.

Officers warn that criminals are experts at impersonating people and organisations such as the council and even the police.

They can get in contact by phone, email, text, on social media or in person and try to trick people into handing over money, personal information or buying goods or services that do not exist.

Examples of scams include people selling fake products or 'miracle cures' for the virus; fake home cleaning services and people offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money up front and then disappearing.

To avoid falling victim, the council’s trading standards team has issued the following advice:

  • Take a moment to think before parting with money or information.
  • Challenge and requests and don’t be afraid to hang up or shut the door.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to Action Fraud via or 0300 123 2040. You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726.
  • Police or banks will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account and will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
  • Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

Cllr Karen Shore, deputy council leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “It’s been wonderful to see huge numbers of people coming forward during the coronavirus to offer help and support for others within the community.

“Unfortunately, it is also enabling a small minority to try and take advantage of the situation by scamming and tricking people.

“We are not trying to scare people at a time when they are already anxious.

“We simply want people to be aware of the simple steps they can take to protect themselves from handing over their money or personal details to criminals.”

If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately and contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.