There has been a notable rise in scammers and fraudsters trying to take advantage of people since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people endeavour to take advantage of the situation and are attempting to steal money and other items from people during this time using a variety of scams.
Here are the most widely reported scams that have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic.
Online Shopping Scams
The most widely reported scam since the beginning of the pandemic is related to online shopping. There have been people paying large sums of money for protective face masks, antibacterial sanitiser and other similar products that are then never delivered. If you are ordering items online, ensure you purchase them from reputable and recognisable online retailers to avoid scams such as these.
Door to Door Covid Scams
There has been a dramatic rise in door-to-door scams during the pandemic as fraudsters know everyone is at home during the lockdown, and there are more homes and people to target than ever before.
There have been numerous reports of fraudsters selling COVID-19 testing kits and vaccines. You will not be charged for these services when you go through the official channels, and buying at the door is extremely dangerous. If you require a COVID test, please book this via the official Government website gov.uk and wait to be contacted by the NHS for your vaccination.
There have also been reports of people visiting homes offering services to vulnerable people for payment, ‘volunteers’ offering to do shopping for people or collect prescriptions, fake charities, and so much more.
Investment Advice Scams
Another serious scam during the pandemic has been people posing as companies providing investment, trading, and other financial advice during a tough time. These scammers may contact individuals by email, over the phone or by coming to the door in person. They’ll attempt to receive your financial details and use these for their gain.
Email scams have been around for years, but many fraudsters have taken advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic to launch fresh scams. There have been emails pretending to be from the Government telling people they’ve been in contact with people who’ve tested positive for the virus, emails with malicious attachments that allow scammers to access information like passwords, email login information and personal banking details.
How to Avoid Becoming A Victim
Our best advice is to be sure you stay on your guard against scams and fraudsters. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t, so you should stop immediately. Here are our top tips to avoid becoming a victim of a Coronavirus crime:
- Don’t give out PINs, passwords or any other sensitive information to ANYONE over the phone or email. A bank, building society, utility company or any other official body will never ask for any of these details.
- Ensure you only make purchases online with reputable, trustworthy websites. If you’ve never heard of a company before, take some time to research them online and read reviews from others. If there are no reviews or bad reviews, it is best to avoid them.
- Don’t click any links in emails unless you are 100% sure that they came from a trusted source
- Ask for ID from anyone who knocks on your door