POLICE have issued a warning to members of the public about an online scam set up to dupe people into paying Covid breach fines.

The Police National Management Centre was alerted to the fake website in the last few days and steps have been taken to remove it and investigate the hosts, according to West Mercia Police.

The website, which has since been taken down, was designed to lure the public to pay fines, especially for Covid legislation breaches, however police believe it may not be limited to this in the future and officers fear there is potential for more fake websites to appear.

Stourbridge News: Pic - West Mercia PolicePic - West Mercia Police

Detective Sergeant Ian Osborne, from the West Mercia Police Cyber Crime Unit, said: “I would like to reassure our communities that this website was not a West Mercia Police website, however everyone should be mindful that these spoof sites are likely to try and impersonate any police force.

“The webpage warns visitors that the spoofed police force use facial recognition technology, and this has been used to identify individuals failing to wear masks in public.

"The site states that failure to wear a mask breaches Covid-19 regulations, and they are therefore subject to prosecution.

Stourbridge News: Pic - West Mercia PolicePic - West Mercia Police

"To avoid prosecution from the spoofed police force, the visitor is advised to make an immediate £100 card payment on the website to the force. There is a payment portal for the site visitor to input their bank card information."

Police, however, have stressed "there is no facility on the West Mercia Police website to pay Covid-19 fines" and members of the public are urged to be vigilant if they receive an email or text demanding a fine be paid to police for such a breach.

Det Sgt Osborne said: "This is a scam. Do not be pressured into submitting financial information and making a payment.”

People are urged to forward the email to report@phishing.gov.uk or send a free text to 7726.