Businesses warned over coronavirus inspection scam

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, businesses are being warned to be vigilant after reports of another scam.

Sefton Council said they have received reports of food outlets being contacted by someone claiming to be from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The caller has requested permission to undertake a "Covid-19 secure inspection" of their premises but has also claimed the business could receive a reward up to £2,000 if they score highly in the inspection.

The council says no law enforcement agency would offer a financial inducement and that the FSA does not inspect local businesses as this is the responsibility of the local authority.

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It has also said Covid-19 is not a food matter, but a health and safety one.

Throughout the pandemic, Sefton Council has received a string of reports of scams, and businesses are being urged to stay "Safe and Savvy".

Figures released by Action Fraud at the end of May said more than 2,000 Brits had lost more than £4.6 million to coronavirus-related scams such as fake online sales, bogus pension plans, and bogus cold calls.

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Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “This type of behaviour is both shocking and disgraceful and has an impact on businesses that have already been badly affected by Covid- 19.

"We advise businesses to take extra vigilant and be aware of these new scams that can take many forms. The general rule of scams applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

"In the meantime, businesses should follow the official government advice, and take all necessary precautions."

Any business concerned they may have been targeted by a scam should report it to Sefton Trading Standards by emailing etscontact@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 03454 04 05 06

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