About Trading Standards

Criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19

Criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams.

Members of the public should ignore scam products such as supplements and anti-virus kits that falsely claim to cure or prevent COVID-19. Some call centres that previously targeted UK consumers with dubious health products are now offering supplements that supposedly prevent COVID-19.

Please look for signs of neighbours being targeted by doorstep criminals. While there are genuine groups of volunteers providing help during self-isolation, there have been reports of criminals preying on residents – often older people or people living with long-term health conditions.

COVID-19 scams identified include:

Doorstep crime

  • Criminals targeting older people, offering to do their shopping.
  • Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Online scams

  • Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments.
  • Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware

Refund scams

  • Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips.

Counterfeit goods

  • Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe.

Telephone scams

  • As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

Donation scams

  • There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donation for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.

Members of the public should keep in contact with family members regularly and inform them of the most prolific scams and the possible dangers to them. If someone has been targeted by a scam it can be reported to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For advice and information on how to check if something might be a scam, visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/.

Businesses acting unfairly during the COVID-19 outbreak

Torfaen County Borough Council Trading Standards Team have received a small number of complaints about businesses acting unfairly to customers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The complaints have related to some shops raising prices on goods such as hand sanitiser and toilet roll.

Currently, UK legislation requires that businesses must not mislead their customers about their prices. This means that items must be clearly priced, and the price shown on the label or website must be the fully inclusive price you will be charged for the item at the till.

There is no law which sets a maximum ceiling price on goods, therefore each trader is able to set their prices how they see fit. Trading Standards does not have powers to force businesses to lower their prices.

Please bear in mind that businesses will be affected by price rises at the wholesalers, and they may have no choice but to pass some price increases on.

The Competition and Markets Commission has asked for customers who have concerns about businesses treating their customers unfairly to contact them via their website. You can contact them via their web reporting form.

About Us

Trading Standards aims to ensure a fair, safe and equitable environment for all who purchase and sell goods and services in Torfaen.

This is undertaken through a range of intervention, advice and enforcement activities with businesses and consumers.

We work closely with partner agencies in order to gather intelligence and enforce the legislation covering areas such as:

  • Weights and Measures
  • Food Labelling and composition
  • Counterfeit Goods
  • Product Safety
  • Pricing (including Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol)
  • Rogue Trading and Doorstep Crime
  • Consumer Credit
  • Misdescribed Goods
  • Scams
  • Age Restricted Sales

More information on the work of Trading Standards can be obtained at:

Businesses can obtain advice at:

The Food Standards Agency provides guidance for businesses on food labelling (including allergens), food alerts and free on-line labelling and allergen training.

The Agency also provides information and guidance for farmers and feed businesses including how to apply for approval or registration for your feed business.

The Food Standards Agency also provides information for consumers on the latest food alerts and product recalls.

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Last Modified: 27/10/2022
For more information contact:

Trading Standards

Tel Citizens Advice Consumer Service: 03454 04 05 06

Email: trading.standards@torfaen.gov.uk

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