Wash your hands of coronavirus scams!
Whilst many communities are pulling together to help the most vulnerable, please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation our society is facing.
We’re hearing about increasing amounts of fraudsters targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for coronavirus. Scammers have also been setting up websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips.
To help protect yourself, you should:
- Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links
- Get the company’s name and establish their credentials using the FCA’s Financial Services Register
- Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity
- Do not give out personal details (e.g. bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details). Please note: The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account. They will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
- Seek financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements or making investments
- Reject offers that come out of the blue – it’s ok to take your time to make all the checks you need, even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’
- Ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops. Update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry.
Remember, it's ok to be wary or question any letters or calls you receive claiming to be from the council - especially where you are being asked for bank details or personal data.
Further advice on how to protect yourself can be found on the FCA’s ScamSmart website.
There are lots of ways you can help to protect others from falling victim to scammers – take a look at Friends Against Scams for more information
Advice for businesses
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your device and operating systems and educate others on your network. Please visit the NCSC website to find out more.
You can also read the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Business Guide: Cyber Security for advice on how to keep your business secure online
Reporting suspected fraud/scams
If you think you may have been contacted in what could be a scam, you can make a complaint to the Insolvency Service or call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a suspicious email reporting service where you can send any suspicious emails you receive to email@example.com .The NCSC’s automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site and any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.
You can forward any suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to
- Coronavirus Scam Postcard (PDF Document, 0.19 Mb)
Last updated: Mon 21 September, 2020 @ 10:06