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10 coronavirus scams to be wary of

30th July 2020

UK Finance has issued ten coronavirus-related scams people should be wary of and how to spot them.

The trade body said fraudsters are using "sophisticated methods to callously exploit people's financial concerns".

The ten scams are split into three categories - COVID-19 financial scams, lockdown scams, and health scams.

Financial support scams

  • Fake Government emails - typically offering grants of up to £7,500 containing links to steal personal and financial details.
  • ‘COVID-19 relief fund' emails - inviting people to complete a form and hand over personal information.
  • Council tax reduction emails - containing a link to a fake government website.
  • Universal Credit assistance - fraudsters email offers to help with applications in exchange for an advance payment.

Lockdown scams

  • ‘Free TV licence for six months' - emails tell the victim there is an issue with their direct debit and redirect them to a fake site.
  • TV subscription service - emails ask the victim to update their payment details and contain a link to steal credit card details.
  • Fake social media profiles - criminals use identities of real people, try to chat and manipulate them to hand over money.
  • Fake investment adverts - usually on social media, urging their targets to put money into fake investment companies.

Health scams

  • NHS track and trace phishing emails - claim the recipient may have COVID-19, contain a link to a fake website which will steal personal and financial details, or infect devices with malware.
  • Fake adverts for non-existent COVID-19 products - such as hand sanitiser and face masks, which take the victim's cash and send them nothing.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said:

"During this pandemic, criminals have been impersonating trusted organisations like the NHS or HMRC to try and trick people.

"We always urge people to follow our Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep their money and personal information safe from fraudsters."

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