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Covid cons – businesses warned to beware of ‘track and trace’ hoaxer

Following a recent spate of bogus food safety inspections in the Newquay area, Cornwall Council’s Environmental Health team is now warning of a hoax call in the Par area claiming to be from a ‘track and trace’ official. 

This time the fake call was to a hairdressers. The caller claimed to have identified a positive case of Covid 19 in someone who had been to their premises.  They asked them to close their business.

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Environmental Health, Food Safety, and any other Cornwall Council officials will always provide contacts .  This is so business owners and staff can check they are genuine.  The veracity of any call or visit can always be checked by phoning 0300 1234212 or emailing businesscompliance@cornwall.gov.uk.  

Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “It is a shame that a business has to contend with hoaxes and confidence tricksters at this difficult time, when everyone is rightly focused on health and economic recovery. 

“In order to safeguard themselves, business owners should advise their staff to take full contact details from anyone claiming to be giving official instructions. Then either report or check the visit or phone call. Our Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will either confirm and reassure quickly. Or pass the information to Police to investigate if it looks like a hoax.” 

“Whatever the motives of these con artists, we must act promptly to make sure their activity is spotted and reported. Using this time of heightened anxiety to worry businesses unnecessarily is contemptible. They mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.”