Fraud awareness during the Coronavirus pandemic

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus outbreak has provided an opportunity to fraudsters to target people within our society at this difficult and worrying time. Criminal may try to contact residents at the door, by phone, post or online and constantly develop new tactics to try and de-fraud people.

It is therefore useful for you to have an awareness of the types of scams that have been seen nationally:

  • Unwanted callers asking for donations to help those in need during this time
  • Individuals making contact out of the blue claiming to be from official organisations and asking for payment for the latest COVID-19 information and treatments which do not exist
  • Calls and emails offering miracle cures
  • Door-to-door visitors claiming to be from the British Red Cross offering testing
  • Individuals offering to do shopping and not returning with the groceries
  • Emails posing as the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Emails claiming to be from HMRC offering a tax rebate due to the Coronavirus outbreak
  • Text messages claiming to be from GOV.UK requesting money for breaching stay at home regulations 
  • Fraudulent messages to parents entitled to free school meals requesting bank details.
  • Telephone calls or emails from someone claiming to be from your bank and asking you for personal and financial details.

While scams aren’t always easy to spot, we’ve put together some top tips on protecting yourself:

  • Be suspicious of requests for money up front and never feel pressured into handing any over money or personal details. If you are using a volunteer that you do not know then check with family and friends before accepting offers of help and support. Those who are genuine will be happy to wait for your response.
  • Legitimate organisations will not contact you out of the blue to ask for payment. Make sure to remember this if you are contacted and Take 5.
  • If an email does not look right, never click on links or attachments. If you are unsure about whether an email is genuine, ask family and friends to make sure.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from those you don’t know. Never give your bank card or pin number to a stranger.
  • If someone contacts you claiming to be from your bank, then they will already have your details.

If you would like to increase your awareness and help protect others from scams then you can complete a short online training session and become a Friend Against Scams by visiting Friends Against Scams.  

If you think you have been a victim of a scam, you should contact your bank immediately. For further support and advice, or to report a scam you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 who will give further advice and pass the report onto Trading Standards.

Please report any cold calling of doorstep traders and canvassers to the police non-emergency number 101 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

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