During this time it is important to safeguard yourself against scams. Things such as Facebook Community Groups, WhatsApp Groups and the Nextdoor social network that send neighbourhood alerts can be great ways of staying in touch with those around you, however it can be difficult to know who to trust. These are all online and not everyone has access to the internet, so please see the telephone numbers below if you require assistance.
- If you think you’ve been scammed, 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.
- Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.
Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:
- Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
- 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 that 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 lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
- There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus 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 upfront and then disappearing.
TV Licensing Scam
- Please find a booklet showing how to identify genuine TV Licensing communications, and how to spot the scammers.
Be Alert to Vaccine Fraud
- Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine or phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS, or local pharmacy.
- Read more in the Be Alert to Vaccine Fraud Guide
If you’re heading back from overseas, make sure you don’t fall victim to a scam when booking your Covid-19 tests. You can compare and choose a test provider based on cost and availability in your area by visiting gov.uk.
Regular Covid-19 testing at work helps protect your workforce and customers but make sure you protect your business too. Don’t fall foul of fake private sector testing services and test kit providers. Remember:
- Research any test provider you are considering and the products or services they supply
- Check they are listed on the Department for Health and Social Care website
- Be wary of contact from businesses offering private sector testing out of the blue - report any suspicious activity and/or problem private testing providers to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.
- 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. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of helps if you are unsure.
- If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click 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 your local Council on the numbers below.
- Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.