Published: Tuesday, 24th March 2020
There is increasing evidence that fraudsters are targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for Coronavirus.
Some have set up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’. Others have set up bogus websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips.
Cold callers have been contacting organisations suggesting they must have certain measures in place by a certain deadline.
To help the public protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud, Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, is advising:
• Be sceptical - if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, never click on any attachments or links
• Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity
• Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money and never make donations by cash or gift card or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Visit the Citizens Advice website for guidance on scams and fraud or call on 0808 223 1133.
Cllr Lesley Dyball, the Council’s Cabinet Member for People and Places, says: “Sadly criminals and scammers are exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak to defraud the public. It’s terribly sad especially when the majority of the country are coming together at this uncertain time. But, by following a few simple steps, residents and businesses can protect themselves and their money, reducing their chances of becoming a victim of crime.”