PEOPLE have been warned to be on their guard against criminals exploiting the coronavirus outbreak.

Oxfordshire County Council said some scammers were claiming to be charity workers, offering assistance with shopping, or requesting donations.

The authority's trading standards team has given tips for how to check charity workers are genuine.

They include checking the charity’s name and registration number at

ALSO READ: Didcot postmen walk out on strike due to coronavirus safety worries

The team also urged being wary of unsolicited emails from unknown charities and being careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.

People are advised to visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser.

Jody Kerman, head of the county council's trading standards, said: “The vast majority of people and organisations have the very best of intentions, to support residents at this difficult time.

ALSO READ: Why Covid-19 is 'crucial' but no easy fix

"However, a small number are looking to take advantage of our good nature and charitableness. Remember, it is ok to ‘take five’, give yourself time to think about it and to decide not to give on the spot. Have the confidence to put the phone down, delete the text or email, or shut the door.”

Full details and advice are available here. If you think you have been scammed, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.