Coronavirus York updates; 19th April 2020

Bogus window cleaner

York Police are saying that they have been made aware of a bogus window cleaner attending properties in York. The male states that during the Coronavirus lockdown the regular window cleaner can’t attend and that he will be their window cleaner until further notice. The male asks for 3 months payment in advance but does not return to clean the windows.

Coronavirus updates – 4th April 2020

Royal Mail

Details of changes to services click here

Communcations problems and doorstep deliveries

Some questions are now being asked about priorities for doorstep delivery of food packages

A direct to doorstep essential service is being organised by the government. for those classed as critically at risk. Currently and subject to supply an individual box contains; hot beverages (coffee, tea bags), biscuits, bread, cereal, tinned veg, potatoes, long life milk, tinned protein (fish, cold meat excl pork, corned beef), fresh fruit, pasta sauce, pasta and rice, toilet tissue, hand soap or shower gel. This group also gets priority delivery slots from a local supermarket. The criteria for being identified as a member of this group can be found here:

Separately some local GPs have written to some of their patients saying that they may be severely at risk even though they do not have any of the conditions contained in the above guidance. The letters don’t identify what the vulnerability judgement is based on. This group of people does not automatically get food parcels (or priority for supermarket home deliveries) although they are being recommended to stay at home for 12 weeks.

The authorities should clear up this confusion.

Separately forward delivery slots at the Waitrose supermarket are now visible on their web site ( ). Sadly there are no vacancies during the next 3 months!

The Council promised to send an update leaflet, to each household in York, with delivery starting this week. While we doubt the value of this form of communication, against a rapidly changing background, if delivery is delayed then the Council should confirm when (if) the communication will be going out. (see note below on e-newsletter updates.

Mental health and isolation

There is some evidence beginning to emerge that isolation is having an effect on some of those living alone. It is not restricted to the elderly. If you haven’t seen or heard from a neighbour, relative or friend please make a point of telephoning, texting or emailing them. Just to check that they are OK

The Council says, “This is a difficult time for everyone, with friends, families and communities affected by coronavirus.  The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK”.

They share this advice:

Please continue to look after yourselves and each other. Public Health England has published guidance for the public on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Every Mind Matters platform has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.

Free school meals

Free school meal payments and provisions are offered to all pupils eligible for benefit based free school meals and will be available during term time while the schools are closed. Provision offers vary and may include school provided meals, grab bags, vouchers or direct payments. This is dependent on each individual school. Schools have been contacting parents/and or guardians directly if their child/children are eligible benefit based for free school meals or meal vouchers. The provision will be made available to children of keyworkers over the Easter period, at the discretion of the school.

Information about applying if circumstances have changed is here:

Resident e-newsletters

Residents can now get e-newsletters from the council straight into their inbox. By signing up to their preferred mailing list via an online form on the council website, residents can choose whether to receive business, resident or families guidance and updates about support or services, or all three.

Visit to find out more and sign up. Residents can also change preferences and unsubscribe to the e-newsletters if they wish.  Members are welcome to register for these e-newsletters too (noting you will still receive this update each evening


Sadly, a number of criminals are using Coronavirus as an opportunity to scam people when they at their most vulnerable.

The police have a list of scams and advice available. Veritau have also produced a list of scams affecting businesses and residents across the country with a number of messages to share on social media.

Tips to keep safe from scams

  • Do not click on links or open attachments in emails and text messages.
  • Take time to check emails or messages are from a legitimate source. Please be aware that fraudsters go to great lengths to make their communications with you look genuine.
  • Delete any suspicious emails or text messages immediately.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home without verifying their identity and checking they have legitimate documentation or an official ID card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Only purchase goods online from trusted and legitimate retailers and if you have one, then use a credit card as this will offer greater insurance.

York “scambusters” success

£129,000 recovered from fraudsters

sCAM ALERTCouncil officials seconded to a regional task group have had notable successes recently in dealing with scams and eCrime in the City.

A York Council report, to a meeting taking place next Monday, lists 8 cases where court action has already been taken against traders

In most cases prison sentences were handed out by the courts.

Examples of the type of fraud being committed included:

  • On-line bogus recruitment and CRB checking scam
  • On –line airline tickets scam.
  • Council tax re banding scam.
  • Second hand car dealership
  • On-line business grants scam.
  • Rogue builders. Aggressive selling, pressurising vulnerable consumers into paying for unnecessary work,
  • Itinerant drive tarmacing gang targeting vulnerable elderly home owners.
  • Kitchen retail business Misrepresentation as to the quality of the product,

Other investigations yet to come to court relate to “copycat” web sites, roofing repairs, medical bed sales & vacuum cleaner repairs.

Many of the cases involve the exploitation of elderly/vulnerable people.

Since 1st April 2014 the Council has received £129,000 from the Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearings relating to Scambuster cases.

Campaign launches to expose scammers’ tricks

sCAM ALERTCity of York Council Trading Standards is urging people in York to spread the word this month about scams and to expose the tactics of fraudsters to protect others.

Trading Standards launches Scams Awareness Month in July to help stop people falling prey to scams by following a three-step rule – get advice, report it, and tell others about it.

It comes just as City of York Council has had reports from residents of cold callers claiming to have been told by the council about a supposed car accident.

Scam methods such as this are known as ‘vishing’ whereby scammers cold-call people in a bid to get their bank details, and offers of fake services. Besides claiming to be from a reputable organisation, these include telling people their computer has a virus which they can fix remotely.

Investment scams carried the highest price tag, with people investing in fake diamonds or bogus stocks and shares losing of on average £20,000 each.

In fact, national research by Citizens Advice finds that scammers are using a variety of tactics to get people to part with their cash, with people losing an average of £2,500 across all types of scam.

InYork, Trading Standards has helped many people targeted by scams including residents who receive hundreds of items of unsolicited mail each month.

Trading Standards is warning people to be on guard and watch out for the different methods used by fraudsters, from doorstep selling of counterfeit goods to demands for upfront payments for services that never materialise.


Eight common scams reported to Citizens Advice are: (more…)