Beware Covid-19 Scammers

Check before clicking on a link in an unsolicited email, or placing an online order

People are being urged to stop and check before clicking on a link in an unsolicited email, or placing an online order with a new company.

Some people are exploiting the uncertainty around the Coronavirus for financial gain. Below are three examples of fraud and phishing emails that are being circulated about Coronavirus:

+ Face masks that supposedly protect against COVID-19 with a direct link to 'buy' them
+ A request for a donation to the World Health Organisation (WHO)
+ A fake message from the Government which informs the recipient that they are entitled to a tax refund.

All of these are fake. If you're in any doubt, do not click on any links in the emails or part with your money.

The newest text scam tells people they have been fined for flouting the Government’s ‘lockdown’ rules.

If people visit this link, and provide their payment details, they are revealing their bank account data and at risk of losing even more money. Another fake message appears to not only aim to trick people into revealing their bank details but to also cause alarm and distress by suggesting the Government is tracking people’s movements.

Entitled GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT - this message states: “You have exited the specified 1 mile radius on three separate occasions today. A penalty notice has been issued to your address held on the electoral roll. More info & appeals can be found at Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

To best protect yourself from phishing emails, make sure you:

+ Check the actual email address of the sender. The name of the sender can be different to the email address.
+ Install the latest updates on your electronic devices as this fixes any bugs and helps protect your device.
+ Install antivirus software.
+ Use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Unfortunately the scammers have no qualms at all about preying on people’s fears and concerns to make a fast buck – even in the midst of a life or death health crisis.

“There has been only one genuine text message from Government. This was about a week ago and said nothing about fines or tracking people’s movements. People can rest assured that any message to the contrary is completely fake and only designed to trick you into revealing your personal information. It is perfectly safe to ignore these messages. No-one is being given fines by text message and no one is tracking your movements.”

If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. You can do this via their website or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

Family and friends may not know about these scams, so please pick up the phone, give them a call and let them know.


March 30, 2020