Scam warning: Fraudsters are using coronavirus to dupe victims – experts comment

Scams have emerged in recent weeks that aim to take advantage of people seeking advice on coronavirus. This will add even more stress to people’s lives as they prepare to self-isolate and take other actions.


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Cifas, the leading fraud prevention organisation, issued advice to the public on this manner back in February.

As Mike Haley, the CEO of Cifas, said at the time: “Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to prey on people’s fear and anxieties, and so it’s very likely that these scams will only increase as Coronavirus spreads.

“My advice is to not let fraudsters scare or pressure you into making any hasty decisions.

“Take your time and do your research, and remember to never hand over personal or financial details – don’t let criminals benefit from this serious situation”

Recent advice from them included the following:

  • “Be sceptical if you receive and email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links.
  • “Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity.
  • “Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money, and never make donations by cash or gift card, or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram.”

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Unfortunately, Mike felt compelled to issue further warnings this week as scams continue to be a problem.

He detailed that with everyone going online to check on the latest information, there are more options for scammers to utilise dubious emails.

Many people will be getting emails from businesses informing them of their coronavirus plans.

It may be the case that scammers use these type of emails to fool victims.


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The consumer focused company Which? responded to these developments with specific advice for consumers.

As Kate Bevan, the Computing editor for Which? detailed: “Scams are among the most prevalent types of crime in the UK so it is seriously worrying that coronavirus is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters and scammers to thrive using a range of loathsome tactics.

“Help protect yourself by being extra cautious before clicking on any unsolicited emails and texts or answering calls.

“Make sure your computers, mobile phones and tablets are supported by the latest security updates, and consider installing antivirus software to minimise threats.”

The government can also be contacted directly for reporting scams. 

On top of this, there are many impartial organisations that people can turn to for guidance including the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice. 

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