Beware of the rise of Coronavirus scams

In this two-minute read, we discover the despicable scams which have developed around the Coronavirus outbreak. And how we can take action to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

The Coronavirus pandemic has created a surge of people feeling anxious and fearful, and low-life scammers are preying on these emotions to trick people out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The scammers are using several methods to target people, including text messaging, social media, phishing emails, direct mail and even in person.

Below are five scams we’ve been made aware of that have happened across the UK.

  • Door knocking. In some rare cases, fraudsters claiming to be from a local health authority have been reported as knocking on people’s doors offering Covid-19 testing – for a fee.
  • Free school meals. The Department of Education recently warned of a scam email asking parents of children eligible for free school meals to share their bank details so they can access free meals during school closures.
  • HMRC. Phone calls and emails from people claiming to be from HMRC and offering financial support if you part with your bank account details and other personal information.
  • Fake fines. Text messages claiming to be from the Government which tell the recipient that they have been ‘caught’ going outside three times during a day. This scam links to a webpage where the fraudsters demand you pay a fake £35 fine – or in some cases even more.
  • Online shopping scams. Due to the rocketing demand for hand sanitisers and face masks, fraudsters have set up fake websites offering these products. People who have ordered from these sites are left out of pocket as the goods never end up arriving.

The Advertising Standards Authority have published a useful article on how to avoid falling victim to a Coronavirus scam. The link to it is at the end of this article.

The website www.actionfraud.police.uk is also a useful source of information around how to reduce the risk of being scammed.

These shameless scammers prey on the elderly and vulnerable in particular, so please share this information with them. Perhaps consider give them a call to make them aware of these frauds that are doing the rounds and to check on how they are doing in general.

From all of us at Duncan Yeardley thanks for reading and stay safe.

https://www.asa.org.uk/news/consumer-advice-avoiding-coronavirus-scams

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