Coronavirus scams

Written on 04/23/2020
le

Fraudsters are using the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of money. This has included people attempting to buy protective face masks from fraudulent sellers and coronavirus-themed phishing emails. Here’s a round up of some of the scams we’ve heard about so far.

Coronavirus scams

Fraudsters are using the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of money. This has included people attempting to buy protective face masks from fraudulent sellers and coronavirus-themed phishing emails. Here’s a round up of some of the scams we’ve heard about so far.

Coronavirus job scams

With many people worried about their jobs, there has been a massive increase in the number of fake and fraudulent job listings.

These scams encourage people to hand over personal details, or money, as part of the job application. For example, you might be asked to pay for a uniform or training, or a security check which requires you to submit personal information.

Fake job adverts can be very hard to spot. They’re usually very easy to apply for and require little or no previous experience.

If you’re thinking about applying for a job, do some research on the company first, such as looking for the company’s website, or searching for company online to see what information there is about them. Most legitimate employers will not ask you to hand over money in advance.

If you fall victim to one of these scams, contact your bank as soon as possible to stop any further payments going out.

Coronavirus scams

Email and door-to-door scammers claiming to be from research companies connected to organisations like the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) offering coronavirus tests, or details of those who have been infected.

People being encouraged to invest money in the stockmarket as share prices have fallen a lot in recent weeks. The scammers will often tell you this is low risk, high reward, which is a tell-tale sign of a scam. Be very careful of anyone who contacts you out of the blue with a too-good-to be true investment proposition.

Emails appearing to be from the government offering money to help you through this difficult time and messages from HMRC offering you tax rebates.

Government grants, particularly the self employed income support scheme, are likely to be targeted by scammers. If you’re self-employed, this scheme is not open yet, so any contact you have from someone claiming to be from HMRC offering you access is a scam.

Many scammers are taking advantage of the fact it is harder to get in contact with providers because shops are closed, and helplines are very busy. Be suspicious if you get a text message, email or phone call saying there is an issue with your payment or bill.

Scammers have also been contacting people pretending to be from banks offering financial help like no late fees on credit cards and payment holidays on loans, as a way of getting you to reveal your card and bank account details.

The number of scams is only likely to increase and Action Fraud is reporting hundreds of thousands of pounds being lost to scammers since the outbreak began.

It’s important you remain extra vigilant at all times, make sure any calls and emails you’re getting are from legitimate sources and don’t give out any personal information.Find out more about how to spot, avoid and report scams.Learn more about coronavirus scams on the Action Fraud website.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

The content of this Factsheet has been created by and is provided by The Money Advice Service and is produced under licence from them.
Please be aware there are links contained within this factsheet that may take you to external sites, we are not responsible for their content. This is a general advice and information factsheet only and should not be treated as a definitive guide and does not constitute legal or professional advice. We are not a law firm and information is not intended to create a solicitor client relationship. Law Express and The Money Advice Service does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from relying on information contained in this factsheet. This is not a substitute for legal advice and specific and personal legal advice should be taken on any individual matter. If you need more details or information about the matters referred to in this factsheet please seek formal legal or financial advice.
The Money Advice Service is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Money Advice Service does not provide a regulated service. The information and tools that the Money Advice Service provides are generic and should be of general assistance to you in managing your finances. However, the money advice service cannot recommend specific financial products and always recommends that you seek further information from an independent financial adviser, and/or further information from the providers of specific financial products.
This factsheet is correct at time of going to print. The law set out in this factsheet applies to England and Wales unless otherwise stated.