CONSUMERS are being warned to be on the alert for fraudsters taking advantage of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Middlesbrough Council's Public Protection Service is urging people to be on the look-out for scams designed to take advantage of the situation.

Emails have reportedly been created to encourage consumers to click on links for information which then allow the scammers to collect personal or financial information. These include email scams for Covid-19 tax refunds from HMRC in which fake government website forms are used to obtain personal and financial information.

Fake advertisements for protective masks, sanitiser or vaccines have also been created. The goods are unlikely to arrive and bank details may be used to empty accounts.

Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council's Head of Public Protection, said: "Scammers seek to make money directly or by obtaining personal and financial information from victims. I would encourage family and friends to talk to those who may be more vulnerable about how to avoid becoming a victim of scamming."