So many people are being caught out by scammers that we have put this page together to alert people to the dangers.
A scam is an illegal attempt to make money that usually involves tricking people. When online media is the main way people keep in touch during the lockdown, it is no surprise that there has been a surge in online scamming. The reality is that, unfortunately, some unscrupulous people take advantage of distressing situations like coronavirus, hoping to catch us off-guard.
Scams have become a menace: e-mails or telephone calls or even calls at the front door from people pretending to be someone they are not.
Scammers are becoming ever more ingenious. The latest scam apparently is to target people whose holidays or travel plans have been disrupted by Covid-19 pretending to issue refunds for cancelled holidays. Scammers say they are authorised to pay you money due as a refund but ‘just want you to confirm your bank details so as to pay into the right account’. No bank or travel company would need to do this, and even if they asked, would quite understand if you insisted on contacting them rather than them contacting you.
The second major scam at the moment is the ‘track and trace’ scam. We all know how important it is to set up a system for tracking and tracing people who have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to coronavirus, so again criminals are trying to take advantage of this. Contact tracing works by asking people who have tested positive for the virus to share the details of anyone who could have caught it from them. This is exactly the kind of information fraudsters want and need in order to trick people out of their money. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the public has sent it 600,000 scam emails. So do be on the lookout for rogue emails. Just remember one important fact:
Genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS will never ask you for any personal details upfront.
Why would they? They already have them.
Here is a brief guide as to what to look out for.
- Someone contacting you unexpectedly, out of the blue. Sometimes these calls are genuine, but genuine callers will never mind you checking their identity.
- You are offered a deal that is too good to be true. If it is too good to be true it probably is, it won’t be a real deal.
- You are asked for personal details. Don’t share them unless you are certain you know who is asking and why.
- Someone puts you under pressure. Anyone who rushes you ins definitely not to be trusted.
- Spelling mistakes in emails and text messages. Legitimate companies don’t make those kind of mistakes, so be very suspicious of these, especially where addresses look very similar to, but do not quite match, that of a legitimate company.
- You are asked not to tell anyone else about the deal. Someone who tries to compel you to keep everything secret is a safeguarding risk. They are definitely not to be trusted.