Criminals use any opportunity to trick people into parting with their money. The Coronavirus pandemicis no exception.
Think before responding to unexpected letters, phone calls, emails or texts.
Be wary of messages and posts on social media.
The following is details of some of the scams reported:
- Callers claiming to be able to undertake a test for Covid-19, either for a fee or as a way of gaining entry to carry out theft.
- Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.
- Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.
Including emails, texts, social media and What’s App messages
- Scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by
- claiming to be from the Department for Education, asking for bank details to receive support in place of free school meals
- claiming to be from the government or HMRC offering a refund or grant
- claiming to be from the government and issuing a fine for leaving your house
- offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.
- offering a voucher from a well known supermarket to help during the epidemic.
- Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.
- Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.
- Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), which was banned for human use in 2014.
- As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.
- There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for
- a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.
- supplies for the NHS or other services
- Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence
Encouraging people to invest or to move their pensions or invesments to take advantage of the downturn caused by the pandemic
Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.