Coronavirus related Scams
Advice from Thames Valley Police
Following reports of Covid-19 related scams, Thames Valley Police is urging the public to remain vigilant against criminals using the publicity around the coronavirus as a chance to target their victims with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or door to door services. We are encouraging residents to look out for their friends, family and neighbours. There are examples of communities working together to help local residents and we don’t want to discourage this so we ask that people consider the following advice to avoid falling victim fraudsters:
We are aware of people knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable people offering to shop or other services for them and then taking money without providing what they have offered.
- If you can, only accept help from people you are familiar with or who can prove who they are.
- Do not hand over a bank card or large sums of cash to anyone on your doorstep.
- Please look out for your neighbours and family members who may not have access to social media and therefore will not be receiving this information.
Watch out for scam messages:
A number of online scams offering fake services are being reported nationally. Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely
Coronavirus Testing Kits:
We are aware that some maybe trying to sell fake coronavirus tests. At this time the public are not being offered COVID-19 tests to purchase and no companies have been deployed to carry out checks in homes or businesses, this will be a scam.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber-crime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Update from Buckinghamshire Council
has been a rise in the number of scam complaints related to the
coronavirus outbreak. Latest complaints include reports of a South
Buckinghamshire woman in her 80s who answered the door to a man who tried to
demand £220 in cash to complete a health and safety check. Additionally, there
have been widespread complaints of scammers trying to take people’s bank
details to cover payments for school meals whilst the schools are closed.
Residents are also being urged to be especially wary of people offering or selling:
- Virus testing kits – these are only offered by the NHS.
- Vaccines or miracle cures – there is currently no vaccine or cure.
- Shopping or medication collection services that require payment upfront.
- Home cleaning services.
- Overpriced or counterfeit products.
Residents must also be wary of emails, texts, telephone calls and messages via social media from scammers offering refunds on taxes or bills, as these are highly prevalent.
Trading Standards have provided some helpful tips to help prevent people from becoming victims of scams:
- Don’t be pressurised into making a decision. If someone is trying to rush you or panic you, they are probably trying to scam you.
- Only purchase goods from trusted retailers.
- Be suspicious of requests for money upfront.
- Do not give your bank card or bank details to a stranger. Never write your PIN number down.
- Know who you’re dealing with – if you don’t know the person who’s offering you help then ask to be introduced by someone that you know and trust.
If you have information or are worried about coronavirus related scams please contact Trading Standards. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01296 388788.
Trading Standards warning over ‘test and trace’ scammers
Trading Standards are warning people to be wary of 'phishing' texts and emails, to 'think before you click' on a link in a text or email suggesting, for example, that someone testing positive to Covid-19 had come into contact with them and recommending a click-link for more help.
Criminals can spoof texts, making messages appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages making them look so plausible. "So as the Test & Trace scheme rolls out, the warning is to be very alert. Residents should forward dodgy-looking emails to the National Cyber Security Centre at email@example.com
As lockdown scams continue, Trading Standards advice to residents is:
- Be sceptical, don’t be afraid to delete the email/text or put the phone down.
- Take your time, don’t be rushed.
- Know who you’re dealing with: if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with Trading Standards advice line on 0300 123 2329
- Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know.
- Never engage with someone or allow them access unless you are able to verify their authenticity and who they are.
Residents who are being subjected to nuisance calls, can request a Truecall phone blocker from Trading Standards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Government Test & Trace guidance
Contact tracers WILL:
- call you from 0300 013 5000
- send you text messages from ‘NHS’
- ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
- ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
- ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
- ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the two days prior to your symptoms starting
- ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England
Contact tracers will NOT:
- ask you to dial a premium rate (09 or 087) number to speak to them
- ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
- provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
- ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS