UK government body has issued ten coronavirus related scams that we should be aware of and how to spot them. So far, since lockdown began, Action Fraud has logged reports from 2,378 victims across the United Kingdom who have lost a total of more than £7,000,000 to scammers. So be careful.
There are a number of simple steps that you can take to protect yourself the most important to note is that official organisations such as HMRC, NHS, Banks etc… will never ask you to reveal passwords and financial details by phone or by email. If you follow that rule you’re half way there. Always report suspicious emails to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).
Sometimes these scams are so cleverly put together that it can fool even the most switched on and cautious of people. So here is a recap of the 10 most common scams, currently going on.
- NHS track and trace phishing emails. Claims the recipient may have COVID-19 and contains a link to a fake website which will steal personal and financial details or infect devices with malware.
- Fake adverts for non-existent COVID-19 products. So you pay for the products and the products of course never arrive. So steer clear of unknown and suspicious suppliers and use sites such as Amazon, Boots, and Superdrug etc… If it is a company you do not know check google reviews and always use a credit card as you are protected against fraud.
- Fake Government websites offering grants. Do not click on the link.
- This one has caught out a number of people. It concerns Covid-19 relief grants. Inviting you to complete a form and hand over personal information.
- Council tax reduction emails. Containing a link to a fake government website.
- Universal Credit assistance. This is where the fraudster’s email offers to help with applications in exchange for an advance payment. People have been duped into this many times.
- TV licence fees. The email tells the victim there is an issue with their direct debit and redirects them to a fake site to pay the overdue amount.
- Another one on TV licences. Here the fraudster invites the victim to update their payment details. Armed with this information they will spend on credit cards.
- Fake investment adverts especially crowd funding and always on social media. The fraudster makes a, urging their targets to put money into fake investment
- Fake social media profiles. Fraudsters use identities of real people and try to chat and manipulate you into handing over money. This has been going on for some time and there are horror stories of victims being duped into tens of thousands of pounds
Roger GUNNING FCMA CGMA