SHAMELESS scammers have been cashing in on coronavirus fears.

In one known scam, shielding people have been offered a 'Covid-19 vaccine' that doesn't yet exist.

Another has seen sophisticated con artists develop an app that gives 'updates' on the pandemic but then locks your phone and asks for a ransom.

Ahead of International Fraud Awareness Week (15-22), Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards Team has listed some of the scams to watch out for:

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  • Miracle vaccines and cures for Covid-19 – there is currently no cure for coronavirus.
  • Criminals impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home testing’ for coronavirus – the kits are not available to buy.
  • Bogus emails offering a refund on council tax and utility bills – scammers just want your personal and bank details.
  • Fake products that ‘protect’ against coronavirus – these will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • Mobile phone applications that give 'updates' on the virus, but instead lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Helpers who offer shopping or will collect medication might not always be legitimate – some ask for money upfront and then disappear.
  • Home cleaning services and charity collection ‘volunteers’ have also been caught out for scamming people in the area.

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The team also offered tips on how to avoid being scammed:

  • If somebody claims to represent a charity, ask for ID and be suspicious of requests for money upfront.
  • Charities with an annual income of £5,000 must be registered at
  • Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company.
  • Don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only buy goods from legitimate retailers.
  • Never give your PIN or bank card to a stranger.

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Jody Kerman, head of Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards, said: “The vast majority of people and organisations have the very best of intentions, to support residents at this difficult time.

"However, a small number are looking to take advantage of our good nature and charitableness.

“Remember, it is OK to ‘take five’, give yourself time to think about it and to decide not to give on the spot.

"Have the confidence to put the phone down, delete the text or email, or shut the door."

  • Banks, police officers and other reputable agencies will never ask you to move money into a safe account or ask you to reveal your banking PIN, password or other personal details.
  • If you have become a victim of a scam, report it to action fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
  • In an emergency always call 999.
  • To report a crime to police, call the non-emergency number on 101.