We understand you may be worried but please don’t get scammed

It is a worrying time for all in these unprecedented times, but sadly there are people out there who wish to take advantage of peoples, fears, worries and concerns by trying to trick or scam them out of their money.

Please check out this website from Friends Against Scams https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/article/505/beware_of_covid_19_scams

Action Fraud, which receives reports of fraudulent activity, says victims of online scams have lost £960,000 in 105 coronavirus-linked cases since the beginning of February.

COVID-19 scams identified include:


Doorstep crime

Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.
Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Online scams

Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.

Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’

Refund scams

Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.

Counterfeit goods

Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), which was banned for human use in 2014.

Telephone scams

As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

Donation scams

There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.
Loan sharks

Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence.

Criminals will use the current situation to trick you –

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau says it has recorded 200 cases of fraudulent emails being sent, which include scammers who:

  • pretend to be from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization, asking recipients to click a link to report active infections in their area
  • offer links to a fake daily newsletter for Covid-19 updates
  • offer fake insurance schemes and trading advice
  • pretend to be from the government, offering tax refunds

Trading standards officers in Birmingham have seized bottles of hand sanitiser containing an ingredient banned for human use years ago which were on sale for £5 a bottle. They claimed to contain an ingredient called glutural, which was banned for human use by the EU in 2014. Some bottles had no labelling at all. Glutural can be used in cleaning products and has previously been used by the NHS to clean surgical tools and surfaces.

The advice is always:

A
Accept nothing – Facebook, Internet, emails

B
Believe nobody –  who cold calls or sends you an unsolicited email

C
Check everything – with the NHS or .gov websites

Here are some links which provide advice and information:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Please take care, The North Bournemouth Crime Prevention Panel understand that you may be very concerned and are looking for things that may help, but please only trust the NHS medical professionals in the UK.

Scammers will try and provide you with hope in exchange for your money, please do not fall victim to their efforts to exploit you and others at the challenging time.