Scammers are using the publicity around coronavirus to pose as a trusted organisation such as a bank, law enforcement agency, government agency or health service provider. They’re sending emails and texts designed to trick you into giving them sensitive personal and financial information. Some examples are fake texts from HMRC offering money as a goodwill payment, emails stating you’re eligible for a tax refund and texts threatening fines linked to coronavirus.
- If you receive any emails or texts about refunds, grants, rebates, financial support or fines, don’t click on the link in the message. Open your browser and go to the official government website, GOV.UK.
- Your bank, a trusted organisation or a government department will never ask you to disclose sensitive personal information, such as online banking details or passwords
Safe account scam
You’ll be contacted by someone claiming to be from a trusted organisation such as your bank (typically the fraud team) or the police, who’ll tell you that your account has been compromised in some way and that you need to move your money to a “safe account”. The details they’ll give you will be fraudulent and once you move your money they’ll have access to it.
- Your bank or the police will never ask you to move money to a “safe account” or send someone to your home to collect cash, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud
- If you’re ever suspicious about any contact, always call the organisation back on a number you can trust (e.g. as detailed on your account statement)
Unfortunately bereaved families are being targeted by a new scam, where fraudsters steal the identities of legitimate firms and demand money from the estates of people who have died. Fraudsters are sending letters to grieving family members as they tie up loose ends such as paying outstanding bills, dividing up possessions and signing official paperwork. The letters typically request the payments of relatively small amounts of several hundreds of pounds so the demands seem more reasonable and have more chance of duping unsuspecting victims.
- If you’ve lost a loved one and are being asked to pay their debts, check that the debt is genuine
- When you’re making a payment, always check the details with the person or business you’re paying, via an independently verified source, before you send any money