Trading Standards Scotland has warned the public to be aware of cold calls offering face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for sale.
In the organisation’s latest ScamShare bulletin, instances are reported from across the country where the caller, in an attempt to sell the £29.99 package, has quoted misleading statistics on Covid-19 deaths.
The sellers have claimed that ‘normal masks’ weren’t as effective as those they were selling, before proceeding to ask for bank details.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) reported a similar scam earlier this month where an automated message states that masks have been made compulsory to wear.
The Scottish Government’s advice is that face coverings are recommended in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets or public transport, or generally when leaving the house.
The wearing of such coverings is not compulsory, only encouraged.
Scottish consumers have reported cold calls offering face masks, gloves & hand sanitiser for £30
The caller gave misleading stats about Covid19 deaths & claimed that 'normal masks' weren't as effective as the ones they were selling
— TradingStandardsScot (@TSScot) May 15, 2020
CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdown has led to a surge in suspicious activities, including all kinds of scams, and the phenomenon of price gouging. These calls are yet another example of opportunists attempting to make money dishonestly during a time of heightened vulnerability.
“The public should be extra suspicious of cold calls in the present climate, especially those asking for payment details. I am concerned that many more people, particularly the elderly under lockdown at home, might be more susceptible to these opportunists. If receiving a call like this, they should put down the phone, and if they have the facility, block it.”
When purchasing PPE such as facemasks, consumers are urged to consult with the British Standards Institute’s (BSI) guidance on the different types and how they should be used.
Consumers should be wary of products sold online from unknown sellers which claim to offer medical-grade protection.