Residents are being asked to be vigilant and look out for their neighbours as criminals are taking advantage of older and vulnerable people, particularly those who are self-isolating.
Incidents include scammers pretending to be Enfield Council officers and offering to do food shopping – inevitably asking for cash up front – as well as someone posing as a Council volunteer, asking for personal details of a vulnerable person including information about other people living in the home.
There has also been a reported increase in unexpected phone calls, emails and texts from scammers which ask recipients to provide personal details that genuine organisations would not ask for, such as passwords and bank account numbers.
Other tactics reported across London include criminals offering fake coronavirus testing on behalf of the NHS, or text messages demanding payment of fines for breaching lockdown rules.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Nneka Keazor, said: “It is incredibly sad to hear of scammers taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Council officers and volunteers working on the Enfield Stands Together scheme - which is providing food packages, prescription pick-ups and friendly phone calls by request – will never ask for your personal or financial details. Our assistance is offered for free. Volunteers from Enfield Stands Together will always call in advance to let you know they are on their way. All our volunteers carry an identity badge with their photo on it. If you’re not sure about an offer of help, ask the caller to leave their name and contact number and talk to someone you trust about it first or contact Enfield Council if you have any concerns.”
A short guide on protecting yourself can be found at www.enfield.gov.uk/covid19. Click on the Fraud & Scams tab. Other important information includes:
* Instances of fraud can be reported to Action Fraud on their website or on 0300 123 2040
* If you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0800 223 113
* call 101 to report non-emergency incidents to your local police, or 999 if a crime is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger
Cllr Keazor added: “The recent, extraordinary situation has seen a huge amount of kindness emerge with the volunteer sector and Council working together to provide indispensable, critical services. I am proud of the way Enfield has come together during this difficult time. If you know someone living alone, or who is vulnerable, do check up on them by giving them a call and make them aware of our guidance to help protect them from these disgraceful criminals.”