Residents warned about coronavirus scams

Residents have been warned to looked out for coronavirus scams run by unscrupulous criminals attempting to take advantage of the current crisis.

National Trading Standards said it was aware of a number of different scams being used to trick people out of money online, on the phone or in person.

The body warned people to be wary of anyone offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus, or offering home-testing kits, which are currently not available to buy.

It also urged people to be cautious about those offering home cleaning services or offering to collect medication and food and asking for money upfront.

Meanwhile there are new phone apps that claim to provide updates on the virus but then lock your phone and demand a ransom.

National Trading Standards’ scams team urged people to only purchase good from legitimate retailers and not to give their bank card or PIN number to strangers.

They should be wary of anyone attempting to pressure them into accepting a service and always ask to see ID if someone claims to represent a charity.

When online people should use trusted websites and should type in web addresses rather than simply clicking on links in emails.

For more information and free online training on how to protect yourself and others from scams go to www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Appeal for volunteers to help out during coronavirus crisis

Harrow Council is appealing for volunteers to sign up and help the local authority support residents during the coronavirus crisis.

Volunteers may be drafted in to help in a number of ways that could include delivering leaflets and providing information to neighbours on sources of help.

They may also be asked to deliver essential supplies to vulnerable residents or staff control centres.

Harrow Council said it was keen to get suggestions on other ways volunteers might be able to help.

Anyone who is interested – and fit and well enough to provide help – can sign up here.

The council stressed it would not expect or ask people to do any activity that would put them at risk.

As part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Harrow Council has said it is taking steps to reduce Council Tax for those on low incomes.

It will also be setting up a Coronavirus Hardship Scheme for those experiencing “exceptional hardship” such as those who have lost their jobs and incomes.

The council has set up a dedicated webpage to provide information on support for residents and businesses, service closures and volunteering at harrow.gov.uk/coronavirus

Council leader Graham Henson has warned the outbreak will “significantly impact services”.

“Our priority is to ensure that the council targets the resources it has to help those most at risk in our communities and to continue delivering vital front line services in the coming weeks – and months,” he said.

“We are working closely with our partners, GPs, community leaders, businesses and the voluntary sector to ensure the most in need are supported in the best way possible.”

He said it was vital people followed government advice on self-isolating and social distancing.

“It’s also important that we look out for our friends and neighbours – please give a helping hand where it’s needed,” he added.

Residents must take ID to the tip

Harrow residents have been told they must take valid ID to the dump in order to dispose of their rubbish.

The move is part of a crackdown on people from outside the borough using the town’s waste disposal services.

Harrow Council said the waste and recycling centre at Forward Drive had seen an increase in the number of people coming to the tip with no proof they lived in Harrow.

There has also been a rise in businesses masquerading as residents in order to avoid paying fees.

Harrow residents have been advised to bring a valid photo ID and proof of address with them when going to the dump – preferably a driving licence.

Those coming from outside the borough must pay a £25 fee.

All van drivers are also charged to use the dump.

Click here for more information.