Criminals are using the pandemic as a way to find new scam victims.
The pandemic has given fraudsters an opportunity to devise a host of new scams. Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable. They often have credible websites that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. They will design attractive offers to persuade you to part with your money.
These are the most common types of scam:
- On your doorstep, someone might impersonate a healthcare worker, an emergency worker, or even the police.
- Through an email, you might receive an email that looks like it’s from the Government, your bank or building society, or your email or internet provider.
- Over text, you may get a text saying it’s from the police or HMRC offering you a tax refund.
- By post, you could receive a letter claiming your benefits or bank accounts will be stopped unless you call a certain phone number.
- Over the phone, someone might call you pretending to be from your bank or building society, or an NHS test and trace caller.
- On social media, you may come across scam sellers, who take your money but never provide you with the goods you’ve paid for.
- Through friends and family, they might forward you links or "investment schemes", without realising they're fraudulent.
Watch out for contact out of the blue, promises of high/guaranteed returns on your money, free reviews of your pensions or investments, all with pressure to act quickly.
The most important steps to take in any situation that involves paying money or divulging personal information are:
Stop, taking a moment to think before parting with your money or information could help 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 or provider immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
If it looks too good to be true be very wary, it probably is.