Coronavirus / COVID-19 Scams and Advice
Unfortunately, we have become aware of incidents across the country where criminals have attempted to take advantage of the current situation by running COVID-19/Coronavirus scams, targeted in some instances at the most vulnerable members of our communities.
In addition, otherwise legitimate businesses may seek to exploit consumers for profit. The following links provide advice on how to protect yourself from Coronavirus scams and how to report them or other unscrupulous trading activity.
There are also particular business advice and wider consumer issues linked to the pandemic and we want to ensure relevant advisory material is made available in a single place.
West Lothian Trading Standards is a Friends Against Scams Organisation. The National Trading Standards Scams Team have updated the advice on the website to include scams relating to this pandemic.
Trading Standards Scotland have produced advice for those who require help or are looking to provide help called Helping Hands.
Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have developed an online reporting tool for any instances where retailers are overcharging for products during this pandemic. They are concerned businesses may exploit the situation by increasing prices or making misleading claims. Further information is available from the CMA website.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are aware of a small number of advertisers promoting so-called preventative products. Report a potentially misleading or harmful advert related to the coronavirus to the ASA on their quick reporting form.
Citizens Advice Scotland have developed an online scam checking tool.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued a number of warnings relating to COVID-19 Coronavirus scams.
Cifas, the UK's leading fraud prevention service, has issued advice on how members of the public can protect themselves from current scams:
- Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, never click on any attachments or links
- Never provide personal information such as your name, address, date of birth
- Don't feel pressured into donating money, never make donations by cash or gift card and never send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram
- Contact your bank if you think you've been the victim of a scam and report any fraud to Police Scotland on 101.
Business Gateway are providing support and advice for businesses and have produced a guide to the free resources available. Further information is available on the Business Gateway website.
Hand Sanitiser Products
There is great demand for hand sanitiser products (not soap-based etc) and some businesses are adapting their processes to produce these products.
- These types of products are currently controlled under "Product type 1: Human hygiene" within the European Biocidal Products Regulations 2012. Products in this group are used for human hygiene purposes, applied on or in contact with human skin or scalps for the primary purpose of disinfecting the skin or scalp.
- Producers should check the current rules on manufacture and approval of these products with the Health and Safety Executive
- Further advice is available from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association
If you need advice or wish to make a complaint about any goods and services you have bought please contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or visit www.consumeradvice.scot.