COVID-19 themed Scams
The National Fraud Reporting Centre has reported a new trend in scams relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and vulnerable people may be particularly at risk.
For a small group of people, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may increase their susceptibility to the risk of financial abuse due to being home alone, answering telephones and being on the internet more than usual.
Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus to commit various types of fraud and cyber crime. It’s important to be cautious, as fraudsters are changing their methods all the time.
Recent Coronavirus related scams include:
Fake COVID-19 home-testing scams – The public are warned not to respond to emails or open their doors to bogus healthcare workers claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Criminals target members of the public with NHS scam emails – ActionFraud has received 41 reports of a scam email pretending to be from HM Government asking for donations to the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a fake email and your money will only end up in the hands of a criminal.
Here is a typical scam phone call:
“Good morning, I’m calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.”
“OK. Can you tell me who that person was?”
“I’m not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.”
“Right. Um… so…”
“But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?”
“Ok (gives address)”
“Thank you – and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.”
“Sorry – a payment card? I thought this was all free?”
“No – I’m afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit, and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you’re ready.”
“No – that’s not right. This is part of the NHS so there’s no charge.”
“I’m afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please – this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.”
At this point you put the phone down.
This is how scammers work. And vulnerable people will fall for it. -Cheryl Rice, Development Worker SCVYS