Beware increased fraud risk during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – nine scams to watch out for

Unfortunately, alongside all the goodwill and community spirit which is coming to the fore during the current crisis, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will also be seen as an opportunity for criminals and fraudsters.

Action Fraud has advised that fraudsters will use any opportunity they can to take money from people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies and preying on the kind nature of people.

Everyone needs to be extra vigilant at this time and watch out for scams such as these.

1. Tricking you into revealing personal information

Watch out for suspicious and unexpected emails or text messages asking you to:

  • update your details;
  • click on a link to approve or validate something; or
  • login to your account via a link.

2. Tricking you into handing over your bank card and pin number

Take care when giving out your bank card and pin number to someone else so that they can do your shopping. Do not give these to a stranger.

3. Tricking you into handing over cash

Do not be duped by anyone you do not know who offers to arrange to collect money from your home to pay for goods.

Similarly, do not buy goods from the doorstep.

4. Tricking you into moving your money

Beware of anyone asking you to move any money to another account. These scams can be incredibly convincing and sophisticated.

5. Fake internet sales of protective equipment

Police forces are reporting scams emerging which relate to the online sale of protective items which may be in short supply across the country. This includes protective masks, hand sanitisers and other products associated with coronavirus.

If you are making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if possible as most major card providers insure online purchases.

6. Fake medical support

Action Fraud has also received copies of emails sent offering fake medical support, targeting people who may be vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home.

7. Fake government websites and emails

Criminals are using Government branding to try to trick people, with offers of financial support through unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages.

It is also anticipated that there will be a surge in phishing emails or calls claiming to be from Government departments offering grants, tax rebates, or compensation.

8. Financial scams

A range of financial scams include asking for upfront fees for a bogus loan, offering high-return investment scams, and targeting pension funds.

9. Computer service fraud

With so many people working remotely, there is a risk of computer service fraud where criminals will try and convince you to provide access to your computer or divulge your logon details and passwords.

Remember to update your devices with the latest software and app versions to protect your devices from the latest threats.


Latest news from BBC on scams

Since posting this article the BBC is reporting on different types of’doorstep’ scams and an increase in other types scams. Trading standard officers urge families and neighbours to look out for the vulnerable >>

What can you do to protect against scams?

If you think you have been a victim fraud, please report the matter to Action Fraud:

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline:

Online training to guard against scams is available from Friends Against Scams:

If you want to know more about cybersecurity and how to protect yourself, your family or your business visit the National Cyber Security Centre website: