Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.
Law enforcement, government and private sector partners are working together to encourage members of the public to be more vigilant against fraud, particularly about sharing their financial and personal information, as criminals seek to capitalise on the pandemic.
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scales, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.
STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or any information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
Your bank or the police will NEVER ask you to transfer money or move it to a safe account.
Examples of some covid19 scams
- Online scams – email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.
- Fake online resources – such as false coronavirus maps – that deliver malware scubas as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive date. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.
- Refund scams – companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.
- Loan sharks – illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s and organisations financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and feels through threats and violence.
- Donation scams – There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID19 ‘vaccine’.
- Doorstep crime – Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return. Doorstep cleansing services too, that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Counterfeit goods – Fake sanitisers, face masks and COVID19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing gluteal, which was banned for human use in 2014.
- Telephone scams – as more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.