Torbay residents urged to look out for Coronavirus scams

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Police Hate Crime - Credit: Archant

POLICE and their partners have explained how people can protect themselves in the current crisis.

Watch out for scam messages: Don't click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details. More information about the latest scams can be found later in this article.

Shopping online: If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases. For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely

Protect your devices from the latest threats: Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, please visit: www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/securing-your-devices

Are You Scam Aware? There are always individuals who will try to make money out of a situation and the current Covid-19 crisis is no different. Simply put, scammers exploit people for financial gain.

Examples of scams that have already come to light are:

• Telephone calls allegedly from NHS England asking if people have enough food and asking for bank details to provide food parcels

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• Fraudulent online sellers offering protective face masks, which are never delivered

• Door knocking offering to get food or medication and taking cash up front but then no goods are returned. (Never give a total stranger cash or your bank details)

• Emails suggesting children are eligible for 'free' school meals because of the school closures, but asking for bank details.

Remember:

• Your bank will never ring you to ask for your bank details or your pin number.

• The police will never phone and ask you to transfer money into an account 'for safety'

• No legitimate company will ask you to give large sums of money to a courier or send them i-tunes vouchers.

• NEVER click on a link in an email or text unless you are 100 per cent it has come from the company it relates to. If in doubt, contact the company separately using a phone number or email address that you are sure of. Citizens Advice have lots of useful advice on their website, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk and search for scam checker, or you can phone them on 0808 223 1133.

Anyone who is homeless and without anywhere to stay will be offered temporary accommodation in order to protect their life and welfare.

People do not need to have symptoms of COVID-19 before they are offered temporary accommodation as this will enable them to self-isolate or socially distance themselves, in line with current guidance.

Accommodation will be matched to a person's need and will take into account specified health vulnerabilities and will be reviewed and re-assessed if their health needs change. Those identified as having high risk vulnerabilities to COVID-19 will be placed as a priority in accommodation with ensuite facilities or sole access to a bathroom.

Where temporary accommodation is being utilised, we aim to ensure it is available for the duration of the national emergency response. Efforts to secure long-term accommodation for rough sleepers and the homeless will continue as previously.

The council will continue to provide outreach services for rough sleepers including regular welfare checks if urgent.

You can contact the Housing Options team by calling 01803 208723 (Mon to Fri, 9 am to 5 pm) or 0300 456 4876 out of hours. More detail can be found online at www.torbay.gov.uk/get-help-if-youre-homeless

To notify the outreach team of the location of a rough sleeper please email details to rsi@torbay.gov.uk or call 01803 208093.

Hate crime: All hate crime is unacceptable and Devon and Cornwall Police take all reports of this type of crime seriously. It is important that all hate crimes and incidents are reported to the Police so they know what is happening and where. The Police are then able to provide victims with the support and reassurance that they need.

In an emergency call 999 For non-emergency telephone 101 or email 101@dcpolice.uk or online at www.dc.police.uk/reportcrime

If you are deaf or hard of hearing or speech impaired you can send an emergency SMS/Text to 999. If it is not an emergency SMS/Text 67101.