Police urge people to be on their guard

Merseyside Police are urging Southport residents to remain vigilant following the announcement that enhanced Covid testing will begin in the Norwood area.

Earlier this week, the government announced that a dedicated testing programme would be launched in eight areas cross the UK, including Southport, after a new South African strain of Coronavirus was discovered in these locations.

Mobile testing units have been set up at the Kew Park and Ride site, and home testing kits are being delivered to addresses within the Norwood ward. Where possible, the team delivering them will wait while people test themselves then deliver the swabs to a collection area.

Merseyside Police is aware of a number of incidents which have been reported across the country involving criminals using coronavirus as an opportunity to take advantage of people, and so it is encouraging local communities to remain vigilant and become familiar with the safety advice below, to prevent you or your loved ones falling victim to  such scams.

Community Policing Inspector Graham Fisher said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for everyone and, despite most people pulling together, we have seen incidents across the country of criminals using the pandemic to take advantage of others for financial gain.

“I would like to encourage our communities to not only familiarise themselves with the below fraud prevention advice, but to look out for family and friends, particularly elderly or vulnerable people, and share the advice with them too.

“The new enhanced testing programme is a great opportunity to monitor the virus and protect our communities, but we want to ensure local residents remain vigilant and alert to opportunistic criminals. I would also like to stress that the NHS will never charge at the point of delivery, and that vaccines are not currently delivered on the doorstep. The team members delivering the home testing kits will never enter your house, and will never ask for money or card details.”

Fraud prevention advice:
• Remember to close and lock the back door before answering the front door
• Always ask to see the identification of the person calling
• If you are in any doubt about the identification shown, phone the company they claim to represent and check – don’t use the phone number they give you, look in the phone book for it
• Don’t accept help from anyone charging for their services
• Don’t give your bank card or pin number out
• Ask the person to wait outside while you check and never leave your front door open while you do so
• If the caller claims to be from the police he/she should have a warrant card and this can be checked by calling Merseyside Police on 101
• If the caller leaves and you are still unsure about their credibility, write down the details of the person and the registration number and type and colour of vehicle if you know it and contact us on 101
• Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
• Do not respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal/financial information

If you suspect someone may be trying to scam you, report it to the police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. Further fraud crime prevention advice can be found on the Merseyside Police website, or on the Action Fraud site at www.actionfraud.police.uk

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