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Coronavirus: Angus councillor warns residents to ignore scammers offering to run errands for a fee

Angus councillor Julie Bell.
Angus councillor Julie Bell.

Residents in Angus have been urged to avoid community scammers who are targeting vulnerable residents affected by the coronavirus.

Scammers have reportedly been positing leaflets through letterboxes, advertising help services for people in isolation in exchange for a fee.

It is understood the tricksters are specifically targeting elderly and vulnerable people, who are unable to get out, by offering to run errands.

But locals have been warned to ignore the flyers and instead turn to community groups offering help for free.

The warnings come as a dedicated group of trusted volunteers have taken to the streets pick up groceries and prescriptions.

The volunteers are recruited and vetted through Voluntary Action Angus and offer free services to the community.

The Forfar-based community group assured concerned members of the public on social media that the scam was not affiliated to their group.

Kirriemuir councillor Julie Bell, who has been working with volunteer groups in Angus, condemned the scammers attempting to take advantage of vulnerable people.

She said: “I would ask anyone trying to capitalise on these current tragic circumstances to have a good look at themselves. Just don’t.”

“On a more positive note, there are so many inspiring offers of help in every community. This is what will help us through this. Focus on helping each other, regardless of our role.”

Mark Hodgkinson, Adult Protection Officer at Angus Health and Social Partnership said: “We have known for a while that there are people in the community who target predominately older or vulnerable people.

“With COVID-19, we feared this would turn out to be an opportunity for scammers to target vulnerable people and it unfortunately appears to have started.

“When the offer of help comes with a bill through the door it is not done in kindness and should be ignored.

“I would strongly advise people not to pay for this kind of job. There are many well-meaning people, such as helpful neighbours or Voluntary Action Angus volunteers who are happy to help at no cost.”

Angus residents who require assistance should contact Voluntary Action Angus on 01307 466133.

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