Don’t fall victim to scammers!

During the COV-ID19 panademic we’ve heard many stories of communities coming together to help each other, people volunteering, neighbours coming together to clap for the NHS. These stories have filled us with positivity during a very difficult time but sadly it also creates opportunities for criminals and fraudsters with a rise in scams that seriously put your money at risk. To help you increase your awareness of some of the scams currently operating we’ve put together some information that might just help you to avoid being taken in by these appalling criminals.

Watch out for:

Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus. There is currently no cure and the government are currently working with a range of organisations to come up with a vaccine. Therefore, keep yourself up to date with developments in the news and ensure that you are aware of the current situation.

  • Home cleaning services: Beware of callers who promise to come in and clean your house demanding money prior to working.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar can often be bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

How to avoid scammers:

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts.
  • Take your time; don’t let anyone rush you.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID.
  • Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts to pressure you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine.
  • Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as uk or NHS.uk websites.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you’re dealing with – if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council or the numbers suggested in our useful contacts.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know.
  • Never give your debit card, online banking details or PIN to anyone else.

Useful contacts:

  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • For advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999. To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit http://www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk