Citizens Advice South Hams have today issued a stark warning about the rise in the number of scams being reported in the region and the worrying rise of false information being shared on social media.

Scammers are using the ongoing Coronavirus crisis to target people in a variety of ways including emails and SMS text messages. Some scammers are claiming to be from HMRC offering a tax refund or from the World Health Organisation with a link to a Coronavirus cure.

If you receive an email or SMS text message from someone or an organisation that you do not know, guidance is clear, do not open it or click any of the links.

Janie Moor, Chief Officer Citizens Advice South Hams said, “In addition to our warning about email and texts, we also need to highlight bogus callers both on the phone and in person. This could be someone purporting to be from a company or a neighbour offering to buy shopping or collect prescriptions. Never share personal details such as PIN numbers and bank cards with anyone. If possible ask a person you know well to collect shopping and run errands. If you have any concerns ring the Safer Neighbourhood Police team on 101.

This is a deeply distressing and worrying time for people and unfortunately scammers will use any trick. Now more than ever is a time for us all to be on guard and to spread this advice to our friends and families including the elderly and vulnerable.”

Citizens Advice has advice on how to check if something might be a scam at or alternatively you can call the Scams Action Fraud line on 0300 123 2040 for more information or to report a scam.

Citizens Advice South Hams is also warning about the large amount of bogus and incorrect information being shared across social networks and on messaging apps. They are urging people to seek impartial, correct advice and are signposting people to use trusted sources such as the website, local councils and the Citizens Advices website where there is regularly updated bespoke guidance for people facing challenges arising out of the Coronavirus outbreak .

For those who may not have access to the internet or need further advice then Citizens Advice offices throughout Devon are responding to these challenging times by continuing to offer a wide range of telephone advice.

Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133

Universal Credit, Help to Claim phone line: 0800 144 8444

General Adviceline: 03444 111444

Teena Barrett, Advice Services Manager for the local charity says, “We intend to keep our service running as much as possible, it is at times like this people need access to trusted and impartial information. I am hugely proud of the way our volunteers, staff and trustees have worked tirelessly to ensure we can continue to give advice to those who live, work and study across Devon”

All Citizen Advice offices in Devon have stopped face to face appointments in line with guidance from Public Health England and the UK Government.

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