HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned of fake healthcare workers claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan has branded the fraudsters behind this and other Covid-19 related scams as 'despicable'.

He issued a warning today about the deceits aimed at fleecing worried residents along with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The scams include:

* bogus healthcare workers knocking on doors claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

* emails claiming to be from the Government offering a tax rebate to support people requesting they click a link to receive it which asks for bank details enabling the fraudster to take money from the bank account;

* emails claiming to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO)offering crucial coronavirus safety advice which has an embedded 'keylogger' allowing scammers to follow the online movements of the user,and gain access to their device and personal details; and

* scam ‘coronavirus update’ phone apps containing a form of ransomware, named 'CovidLock' which on downloading locks the phone and displays a message demanding the user pay to unlock it.

Cllr Khan said: "This is despicable behaviour from a small minority of unscrupulous people at a time when people are more vulnerable and scared due to this unprecedented situation.

"This is a time when we should all be pulling together and supporting each other, and protecting our most vulnerable people who are most at risk from scams like these. We will be taking the strongest action against anyone caught operating any of these scams.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council trading standards boss Cllr Jim Smith said: "It is disgusting that there are people who are trying to scam money off people at this time. I want to urge people to be extra cautious of any information like this.

People need to stay safe and vigilant and only access information you know is coming from fully reputable sources. Be extra careful of people offering any services at the door and only deal with official medical settings such as your GP or hospital.”

Phone users are advised to only download apps directly from the Apple Store, or Android Play Store as these are safety checked by the platforms.

CTSI chief executive Leon Livermore, said: "It is abhorrent that unscrupulous individuals are using this difficult time as an opportunity to immiserate others further. Consumers should now be extra vigilant, and aware of these new scams that take many forms. The general rule of scams applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is."