A report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has seen a major increase in reports of fraud where Coronavirus has been mentioned. Total losses so far total over £800,000.
These may include people knocking on your door, phone calls, text messages or emails. Whilst we would all expect people to work together as a community at a time like this, unfortunately, is necessary to protect yourself against these scams.
Types of scams
Different types of scams reported to date, include:
- Sale of protective items, eg. face masks, sanitiser
- Signing up with personal details for reports on who is currently infected
- Impersonation of the Disease Control and Provention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Emails containing links to malicious attachments, or revealing sensitive personal and financial information
- Online shopping/ elderly residents targeted with help their shopping
- Impersonating workers, knocking on doors and offering services
- Impersonating volunteers
- Calls from 'hospital officials'
- Requests for payment to help relatives
- Selling of door-to-door or online testing kits
- Retailers overcharging for staple items
How to protect yourself from Scammers
Never give out your personal or financial details over the phone, to anyone.
Do not click any suspicious links or open suspicious attachments
When shopping online, make sure that it is from a trusted website.
Do not answer the door to anyone you do not know, or who does not have identification.
Reporting a Scam
Action Fraud have published up-to-date advice for keeping yourself safe whilst shopping online - fraudsters are trying to exploit the increased number of people doing their shopping this way.
There is an online scam checker and advice on coronavirus scams available through Citizens Advice. The National Scams Team also offer great support and information materials, and ask that you pledge to act upon scams by registering as a Friend against Scams.
If assistance is required outside of opening hours, phone the West Midlands Police on their non-urgent number 101, or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.