Coronavirus scams lead to Island warning

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Isle of Man residents are being warned to be vigilant after a rise in coronavirus-related scams in the UK and on the Island.

According to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) scammers in the UK are using a variety of tactics including emails, social media, phone calls and text messages as they seek to benefit from the public’s fears and uncertainty over COVID-19.

The Isle of Man Constabulary said they have received several reports of scammers targeting Island residents on the phone and attempting to persuade them their money is not safe.

Martyn Perkins MHK, Chair of the OFT, said:

‘We ask that people remain vigilant and think about vulnerable or elderly friends, neighbours and family members – never give out your personal bank details over the phone.’

John Peet, Head of the OFT, added:

‘So far we are only aware of one phone scam which has targeted Manx residents, but if consumers in the UK are being targeted on the phone and online by unscrupulous scammers then it is inevitable that local residents will fall victim to the same tactics.

‘It would be exceedingly disappointing if anyone in the Isle of Man is considering scamming local residents as we are rightly proud of our community. The OFT will not hesitate to prosecute anyone caught doing so and I’m sure that other enforcement authorities have adopted the same stance. I’ve dealt with scammers and rogue traders for many years now but for someone to scam people in these exceptional circumstances would be a new low for me.’

If anyone is concerned they have already been scammed they should contact Trading Standards/Consumer Advice on +44 01624 686500 or the police on +44 1624 631212.

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