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COVID-19 News - Stay alert

Fraudsters are using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam people.

According to Action Fraud UK, there has been a 400% increase in coronavirus-related fraud reports in March of this year. There have been reports of online shopping scams and offers of fake medical support or tax rebates. Fraudsters can claim to be from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) or HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC), or others. The HMRC warn people to be aware of emails, texts or calls claiming to be from them, offering tax rebates as a result of coronavirus. Such emails may trick people into opening attachments that could steal people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fraudsters are targeting people who are vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home. There are reports of fraudsters going door to door (disobeying social distancing) claiming to be NHS staff conducting coronavirus tests or welfare visits. Do not let them into your house. Call the police if someone knocks on your door claiming to be conducting coronavirus tests. In addition, rogue ‘community helpers’ target older people knocking on their doors to offer shopping collection and to run errands. The fraudsters are taking cash or bank cards and getting PIN numbers. Do not hand over your bank card and never share your PIN number. Furthermore, there have been reports of flyers offering coronavirus tests being left on car windows. Do not take them up on the offer.

 

One Camden resident told Healthwatch, “I answered a knock on the door and found a young man standing far too close. I shouted at him and shut the door. After he had moved away I opened the door again and found him knocking next door. No idea of social distancing or hygiene. He claimed to be volunteering on behalf of Age UK but didn’t show ID. Said they were offering to do shopping. I was angry more than anything and concerned at how they were putting people at risk by their careless behaviour. It was only after reporting it that it occurred to me that it might have been a scam. Now I’m sure it was.”

 

How to protect yourself

  • Stay alert. Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails or messages
  • Never respond to messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • If you shop online, check it is a reputable website and use a credit card.
  • If someone you don’t know offers you help, try to find out more about them, e.g. where they live and how you can contact them.
  • If you are homebound in Camden and require assistance, utilise the council’s support service or call 02079744444 (extension 9).

 

Useful links

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on coronavirus in the UK, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus or http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Action Fraud UK are providing many useful resources around current scams and new ones as they arise on their website and on their twitter pages, please visit:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/covid19

https://twitter.com/actionfrauduk

For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely

For information how to report fraud Action Fraud please visit:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

Action Fraud offers reporting services in many languages.

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-in-local-language

City of London resources on COVID19 related scams:

https://scripartnership.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/NFIBCoronavirsAlert-March2020Final.pdf