Criminals are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to trick people into parting with their money or information.
In some scams people are urged to “take advantage of the financial downturn”, using emails and social media platforms to advertise fake investment opportunities in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Others include criminals offering their assistance with Universal Credit applications, while taking some of the payment as a fee for their “services”.
It’s important to remember that criminals are experts at impersonation, using official branding and language used by trusted organisations and government departments to convince that their emails are genuine. These may include offering an individual or business a government grant or a reduction in council tax with links contained leading to fake websites designed to obtain personal and financial information.
Follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to:
Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
You can find more information on the top ten scams and advice on how to protect yourself here.