Covid-19 Scams – Government warning to be vigilant.

7th April 2020
Covid-19 Scams – Government warning to be vigilant.

The most recent text message scam is from what appears to be the Government, indicating a covid-19 relief payment. Recipients of this text are urged not to click any link contained within the text and to simply delete the message.

The most recently reported scam message reads as follows:

covid-19 scam

The latest email and text phishing scams:

1. Fake lockdown fines

People have been warned not to fall for a bogus text message saying they have been fined for stepping outside during the coronavirus lockdown. The scam message claims to be from the Government, telling the recipient their movements have been monitored through their phone and they must pay a fine or face a more severe penalty.

2. HMRC goodwill payment

The police are warning of a fake message designed to steal your account details that says ‘As part of the NHS promise to battle the COV-19 virus, HMRC has issued a payment of £258 as a goodwill payment’.

3. Free school meals

The Department for Education has issued warnings about a scam email designed to steal your bank details saying:

‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported.’

4. WhatsApp request to forward your code

A recent scam could grant hackers full access to your WhatsApp messages, photos and videos. Someone who knows your phone number could request to register your WhatsApp on a different device, and when a verification code is sent to you, the hacker will then message you to try and coax you into forwarding this on to them. They could then target your contacts with requests for money.

BE VIGILANT AGAINST SCAMS

The Government are warning businesses, clients, customers and members of the public to be vigilant in the face of scams connected to the coronavirus (Covid-19).

These scams could take many forms and might take the form of pensions transfers, high-return investment opportunities or health insurance supplements.

Government advice is:

·        reject offers that come out of the blue.

·        beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online.

·        do not click links or open emails from senders you don’t already know.

·        be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true.

·        take your time to make all the checks you need, even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.

·        do not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details).

·        seek financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements or making investments.

There is further advice on the FCA’s ScamSmart website about how to protect yourself and if you suspect you may have been contacted in what could be a scam, you can make a complaint to the Insolvency Service or call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SCAMS

Unsolicited emails and texts:

Be careful of anything you weren’t expecting that claims to be from an organisation such as a bank, BT, Sky, PayPal, Microsoft, the BBC and other large, trusted organisations.

An urgent tone:

Phishing messages are designed to scare you into clicking on their links.

Grammar and spelling:

Phishing emails are often poorly written with spelling and grammatical errors, keep an eye out for this.

Fake domains:

Scammers often set up website addresses that look legitimate in order to trick you. Security researchers Digital Shadows says that more than 1,400 domains linked to the Covid-19 disease caused by the coronavirus have been registered in the past three months.