4th May 2020

Covid-19 mask scam call emerges

As the Covid-19 lockdown continues, a new scam has emerged which aims to trick members of the public into buying face masks.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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The public should be extra suspicious of cold calls in the present climate, especially those asking for payment details

CTSI has received intelligence on a series of nuisance and scam calls hitting households throughout the UK.

In the latest scam, people receive calls informing them that wearing a mask while outdoors is obligatory, with the endgame being selling overpriced masks to the unaware.

There are two versions of the call – one involving a recorded message and the other with a live person. Both calls mislead by claiming that mask-wearing is necessary. The live-caller, quoting a price of £29 for two masks, two hand gels and gloves, requests an address and payment information.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdown has led to a surge in suspicious activities, including all kinds of scams, and the phenomenon of price gouging. These calls are yet another example of opportunists attempting to make money dishonestly during a time of heightened vulnerability.

“The public should be extra suspicious of cold calls in the present climate, especially those asking for payment details. I am concerned that many more people, particularly the elderly under lockdown at home, might be more susceptible to these opportunists. If receiving a call like this, they should put down the phone, and if they have the facility, block it.”

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