Residents are being urged to be vigilant as an increasing number of con-artists attempt to make money out of coronavirus.
More and more scammers are using social media to prey on the disruption caused.
They usually want one of three things:
To distribute misinformation
To steal personal information for the purpose of identity theft and fraud
To sell fake products
There are a number
of different types of scams. These are:
Telephone fraud: victims receive calls from criminals pretending
to be medical officials, claiming a relative has fallen sick with the virus and
then requesting payment for their treatment.
Phishing: victims receive emails from criminals
pretending to be from health authorities, or legitimate companies, using
similar looking websites or email addresses.
Bogus websites: People had been conned into buying protective
equipment such as facemasks online which never arrive.
indications suggest complaints relating to inflated pricing for certain goods
in trader premises and online have increased. Consumers should report this to
Citizens Advice hotline in the normal way by calling 0808 2231133
To avoid becoming a victim of
a scam, here are some tips and advice:
Stop, think, and be sceptical. Did the communication (the call, letter or email) come out of the blue?
Do not give personal or financial information to someone you do not know, however plausible they might sound. This applies even if they claim to represent a business or organisation you have heard of or where an approach is personalised
Genuine businesses or organisations will never telephone you and ask for personal or financial information
Never make cash payments by money transfer
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, alert your bank immediately so the payment can be stopped
Use a good spam filter to block out unwanted unsolicited emails
Do not click any links in a text message or email. If a friend sends you a text or email with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure it is genuine.
If you receive a letter, an email or a telephone call that you suspect is bogus, speak to family or friends, Action Fraud or the Citizens Advice consumer service and seek advice
Don’t feel under pressure to reveal any information – cybercriminals use emergencies such as coronavirus to scare people into making rash decisions
Ask your telecoms provider to set up call screening on your telephone so that you know who is calling your number before you decide to answer it. If the number is withheld it will be displayed as ‘number withheld’
You can arrange with your telecoms provider to reject anonymous calls to your telephone
Check out the source of online shopping; read the reviews and look into the company background.
In all cases, if it looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
For further information in England and Wales contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 2231133