TRADING standards officers have warned of a new coronavirus school meals scam.

Lancashire County Council officials have been alerted to cases where parents are being asked to provide bank details to retain a free school meal entitlement.

It follows their Blackburn with Darwen Council counterparts warning of a series of Covd-19 related frauds.

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 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.

Mandie Maxim, trading standards manager for Lancashire County Council said: "Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak to con vulnerable people.

"We're doing everything we can to make people aware of scams as they are reported. We'd advise people to be vigilant, to always say no to cold callers and not to respond to any calls or emails they are unsure of.

"People can always call our Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline if they need advice and keep an eye on our Scambuster Stan Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest scam alerts.