The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warns the public to be aware of bogus websites claiming to be a "Trading Standards Call Connection Service."
CTSI has received evidence of a fake website which sends callers to a premium rate number which the site claims charges £1.55/ minute plus access charges. The phoney website lists the address of CTSI, giving the impression that it is officially endorsed by it.
CTSI Chief Executive, Leon Livermore, said: "CTSI does not offer a consumer helpline service. Citizens Advice manages the UK's consumer support service through the Consumer Helpline, which is free of charge.
"It sickens me that unscrupulous individuals are attempting to profit from the good name of CTSI and Trading Standards with a fake hotline.
"The unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the general public increasingly vulnerable, and I urge everyone to be aware of potential scams on the internet, through the phone and on the doorstep."
For consumer queries, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133, or for textphone: 18001 0808 223 1133
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm and are completely free of charge. Lines are closed on bank holidays.