A report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has seen a major increase in reports of fraud where Coronavirus has been mentioned. Total losses so far total over £800,000.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by staying alert to potential scams, and making sure you only give out your personal information to trusted sources.
Read more about how to stay safe from scams from Get Safe Online, the government supported awareness resource for online fraud.
Common coronavirus related scams
Different types of scams reported to date include:
- Fake calls, emails and text messages claiming to be from NHS test and trace staff
- Fake links to Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Google Meet
- Fake advertisements on social media and pet sales websites advertising pets that do not exist
- Fake email purporting to be from the supermarket chain Iceland, advertising priority delivery slots for vulnerable customers
- email entitled “You are infected”, in which you are asked to download an Excel attachment with malware and proceed to the nearest emergency health clinic for testing.
- emails, social media posts and texts advertising Coronavirus testing kits for home use and for use by businesses to test their workforce.
- Someone selling Coronavirus 'cure' online that actually contained harmful chemicals
- Fake text messages offering NHS and other frontline employees tax refunds from HMRC to say 'thank you' for their efforts
- Impersonating volunteers or workers, knocking on doors and offering services or selling fake testing kits
- Requests for payment to help relatives
- Retailers overcharging for staple items
How to protect yourself from Scammers
Never give out your personal or financial details over the phone, to anyone.
Do not click any suspicious links or open suspicious attachments
When shopping online, make sure that it is from a trusted website.
Do not answer the door to anyone you do not know, or who does not have identification.
Contact from NHS Test and Trace
The NHS test and trace service may contact you by text messages, email or phone if you have tested positive for coronavirus, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Contact tracers will:
- call you from this phone number 0300 013 5000 only
- send you text messages from ‘NHS’
- ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
- ask if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
- provide advice on what you must do as you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
Contact tracers will never:
- ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
- ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
- provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
- ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
Reporting a Scam
For further advice or to report an issue to Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service please phone our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133.
There is also an online scam checker and advice on coronavirus scams available through Citizens Advice (CitA).
If assistance is required outside of opening hours, phone Hampshire Police on their non-urgent number 101 or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.