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Beware of COVID-19 scams

How to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams.

Criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people.

National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public's concern and uncertainty over Covid-19.

Always check the official Government advice on coronavirus and never click on links in messages.

You can read the advice and warnings from Trading standards below:

Further information on the different types of scams that are currently happening, and a guide to reporting scam texts or mobile calls can be found on the official Ofcom website.

Advice on scams

Friends Against Scams are warning of the following scams:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures 
  • Home cleaning services.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering 'home testing' for coronavirus 
  • Emails saying you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you coronavirus updates but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don't be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door. Take your time. Don't be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money upfront. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help from other sources if you are unsure.
  • Be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as Gov.UK and NHS.UK. Be careful when clicking on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you're dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with one of the advisory services listed below.

Think you've been scammed?

If you think you've been scammed, contact your bank, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.

Report a misleading coronavirus advert

Contact Public Health