Action Fraud has recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March 2020 – a scammer will always target the vulnerable, which is all of us at the moment.
Across the country, Trading Standards has received reports of scams targeting people via emails, text messages, smartphone apps and even on the doorstep.
Our advice is ‘stop’, take a minute and think, before clicking on any email, notification or link – and be aware of door-knockers at this time.
Scams Trading Standards are reporting
- Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details.
- Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).
- People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
- There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
- There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom to unlock it.
- Remember: Banks or the police will never ask for account details over the phone.
Top tips to avoid being scammed:
- Be cautious and listen to your instincts.
- Do not be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it, or shut the door.
- Take your time; do not be rushed into making a decision.
- No charities are door-knocking for donations.
- Be suspicious of sensational social media stories
- When online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites.
- Type-out email addresses. Don’t click on links in emails.
- Be very mindful of buying online from new shops – protect your data
- Protect your financial information, especially from people you do not know.
- Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
For help protecting your IT systems, or for help implementing secure IT particularly whilst working remotely contact us.
If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
Make sure that you contact your bank immediately if you think you have been financially scammed.