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Warning after Suffolk businesses targeted by coronavirus grant scam

PUBLISHED: 12:56 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 08 April 2020

Scammers are said to have been taking advantage of the disruption caused by the outbreak of coronavirus  Photo: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Scammers are said to have been taking advantage of the disruption caused by the outbreak of coronavirus Photo: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Archant

Businesses in Suffolk have been warned to watch out for scammers offering assistance in obtaining a government grant to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on trade.

Suffolk Trading Standards said it had received reports from businesses which had been contacted by a company offering to “assist them in obtaining their government grant, for a small one-off fixed fee of £99”.

The Trading Standards department of Suffolk County Council said: “Government grants are being made available in Suffolk to help businesses get through the COVID-19 emergency.

“Teams in all district and borough councils are working hard to make contact with businesses that are eligible for the funding.

“It should be noted that no fee is payable to receive these grants.

“If you receive such a call, our advice is to hang up, and make contact with your local council to find out if you are eligible.

“Report all scams to us via 0808 223 1133.”

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The scam is among a number being spread in an effort to capitalise on disruption to the lives of many individuals and businesses following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Earlier this week, householders were urged to be wary of “fake” home testing kits being sold online.

Suffolk Trading Standards reported a spate of posts on social media selling “dangerous and illegal” coronavirus home testing kits.

If you spot posts claiming to sell the items, report them to the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme via ➡yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk

Last month, police issued a warning as “heartless criminals” looked to exploit the vulnerable during the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Suffolk Constabulary said a small minority of people saw the current pandemic as an opportunity to commit crimes across the county.

Both police and Trading Standards have received reports of fake emails and texts, as well as cold callers claiming to be working for the NHS and stating that they are able to provide a Covid-19 vaccine.

Suffolk Trading Standards warned of text messages purporting to be from the government and offering hundreds of pounds in financial support, with a bogus link to click on.


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