Coronavirus scam: Pensioners warned of pandemic fraud after ‘over a million’ reports made

“Over a million” reports of fraud where coronavirus was mentioned have been made to police agencies, with victim losses totalling over £1.6 million. The National Pensioners Convention have revealed that they have received reports of COVID-19 scams targeted towards the elderly. General Secretary Jan Shortt spoke to about the type of fraud members of her organisation had fallen victim to during the pandemic.

She said: “The scammers are having a field day at the moment.

“We’ve had reports of people coming to the door and saying ‘we’ll go shopping for you’ and then taking the money and not bringing back anything.

“I had a phone call myself, asking me to take part in a survey for COVID-19.

“What it was actually was selling pre-paid funerals and power of attorney.”

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Ms Shortt continued: “It wasn’t about COVID-19 at all, it was about their business.

“There’s online fraud as well with people trying to sell masks and protective equipment.

“They just take the money and nothing shows up. Over a million reports have been made now.

“There’s a lot of scams out there so people need to help their neighbours.”

The NPC leader added: “It’s absolutely despicable that someone would seek to gain monetarily from somebody else’s ill health.

“These people do exist and they come out of the woodwork at times like these.

“It’s one of those things that sadly is to be expected.”

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The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has also received multiple reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

One victim reported losing over £15k when they purchased face masks that were never delivered.

One common tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment.

Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

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