Scams warnings and alerts
How can I protect myself and others against scams linked to COVID-19?
The National Trading Standards Service has provided some useful information on COVID-19 scams through its national scambuster and friends against scams scheme which can be viewed at friendsagainstscams.org.uk/
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud also have a live webchat facility on their website
Further information on dealing with scams and fraud is available from local trading standards services and Citizens Advice.
Some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams:
1 - Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): email@example.com
2 - Shopping online
If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.
3 - Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.
Track and trace
Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.
All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.
Contact tracers will NEVER:
- Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting in 09 or 087)
- Ask you to make any form of payment
- 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
- Ask you to purchase a product
- Ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
- Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS