‘Worst in society’ scamming vulnerable during coronavirus lockdown, council leader warns
PUBLISHED: 11:10 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:10 08 April 2020
The “worst people in society” are using the coronavirus crisis to target the elderly and vulnerable, according to the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
Carl Smith’s warning came as the council alerted residents to a rise in criminal “cold calling” scams across the borough.
This typically sees criminal groups turn up on people’s doorsteps, or call on the phone, claiming to represent charities and offer favours which seem legitimate but in reality are not.
These could be food delivery serivces or an offer to do shopping in return for money.
While praising the response of most of the borough’s citizens, Mr Smith slammed the growing trend as “an opportunity for the worst in society to exploit the vulnerable.”
He said: “These exceptional circumstances have brought out the best in our communities, who have pulled together marvellously in response, but has also, sadly, presented an opportunity for the worst in society to exploit the vulnerable.
“As part of the Norfolk-wide response, our Community Team have been calling our most vulnerable residents to offer reassurance and support, which includes delivery of food and medicine where needed.
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“But no member of that team would cold call a resident and ask for their bank details or payment.
“All members of the Community Team, whether council staff, volunteers or from a community group, should be able to provide ID.”
The council is warning residents that if anyone phones up or knocks at their door claiming to represent a charity, community group or the council, ask for their ID.
This is especially true if they ask for money or bank details, a council statement added.
The warning comes as National Trading Standards reported a rise in scams related to coronavirus directed at those most in need.
To tackle the phenomenon, a Scam Prevention Service has been set up by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner.
This service works in with the council, police and victim charities and provides confidential specialist support to those who have been targeted by scams.
For information, call 0300 303 3706 or visit www.nsvictim care.org/help-and-support-2/norfolk-scam-prevention-service/