The current crisis ‘is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters to thrive using a range of loathsome tactics’ says Which?, as evidenced by a 400% rise in Coronavirus-related scams recently reported by City of London Police.

These fraudulent tactics range from online shopping scams offering fake and counterfeit products, such as face masks and hand sanitizer, to knocking on front doors offering help to those self-isolating at home. In some areas, people claiming to be from the Red Cross are offering to take temperatures of elderly people and charge them for the service.

Unsolicited calls or emails asking for donations or giving links to fake website are just a few of the ways scammers are trying to get hold of personal details. Among the fake sites reported so far is one imitating HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), offering tax relief or goodwill payments. As reported losses approach £970,000, this figure is likely to rise in the coming weeks, so we urge everyone to be more vigilant than ever.

Ways to protect yourself

  • Do not give out personal details - bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details

  • Banks and HM Revenue & Customs will never ask for your personal or bank details

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls and visitors to your home – callers may claim to be figures of authority, such as the police, HMRC or your bank

  • Ignore unsolicited emails or texts with an urgent tone, designed to scare you into clicking on their links and giving your personal details

  • Make sure your computer and devices have up to date antivirus software.

Find out more

If you have or know someone who has been scammed, report this to Action Fraud, the UK’s national centre for reporting fraud and cybercrime.


Source: 31/03/20