Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about Covid-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.
National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public's concern and uncertainty over Covid-19.
Beware of scams - read in full
Trading Standards UK update (21 April 2020)
The following news release contains details of recent coronavirus scams:
Advice on scams
Friends Against Scams are warning of the following scams:
- Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus - there is no specific treatment.
- Home cleaning services.
- People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering 'home testing' for coronavirus - this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
- Emails saying you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
- There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you coronavirus updates but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
- Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
- People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money up front and then disappearing.
Tips to avoid being scammed
- Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don't be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door. Take your time. Don't be rushed.
- If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help from other sources if you are unsure.
- Be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as Gov.UK and NHS.UK. Be careful when clicking on links in emails.
- Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
- Know who you're dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with one of the advisory services listed below.
Who can help?
Think you've been scammed?
If you think you've been scammed, contact your bank, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
Get advice or just a chat
The Silver Line offer a free confidential telephone helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. It's open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 0800 4 70 80 90.
Age UK Northamptonshire offer a befriending service for you to speak to someone twice a week about anything you want - it's a nice friendly chat. You can even volunteer to be a caller. Find out more on the Age UK website.
National Trading Standards is also warning people about a particularly unpleasant scam pretending to be from the Government. People should ignore these messages – such schemes would be announced by the relevant Minister in the daily briefings.
Always check the official Government advice on coronavirus and never click on links in messages.
Free school meals scams
Trading Standards are warning parents to ignore emails asking if their children are entitled to free school meals to "ensure that they are supported".
This is a scam. Please delete the email.