Police issue warning over fake COVID-19 marshals attempting to gain access to homes
26 October 2020, 12:42
Officials have advised people to be vigilant as the scammers are going door-to-door looking for 'rule breakers'.
Police have issued a warning to the public after multiple reports that scammers are pretending to be COVID-19 marshals or health officials in order to gain access to homes.
Bedfordshire Police told people to be "on guard" and to "look out" for vulnerable friends and family after two men attempted to enter a man's home in Dunstable last month.
The two men told the resident they were marshals who had been instructed by police to enter homes to check lockdown restrictions were being followed.
They told him if he refused to let him in they would fine him.
The man, however, kept the security chain on the door, and after some time of denying the men access, they left.
It is important to note that COVID-19 marshals do not have any powers to enter people's homes and will not turn up unannounced.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) have also reported similar incidents taking place, with lead officer for doorstep crime, Katherine Hart, saying that they could increase through the winter.
It is thought these fraudsters are attempting to gain access into homes in order to steal from them.
Katherine Hart explained: "Since March we have seen so many different instances of fraudsters using the pandemic as an opportunity to defraud the public.
"These scams are shifting in their theme as the rules and regulations change with individuals now pretending to be COVID-19 secure marshals.
"COVID-19 secure marshals will never come to your door unannounced and do not have the right of entry, or the right to issue fines."
She went on: "This type of scam appears in many forms, and I have also received information about individuals pretending to offer flu vaccinations on the door - a concerning development as we enter flu season.
"I am particularly concerned that elderly and vulnerable individuals may be at risk to this scam.
"I ask the public and public authorities to spread the correct safeguarding information so that we can stop these unscrupulous individuals from ruining the lives of those already struggling during this challenging time."