Keeping safe from the scammers

We know scammers are using this current period of uncertainty as an opportunity to try and take advantage of the general public and their worries. We’ve seen an increase in criminals exploiting the coronavirus and using this as part of their scam tactics. At the moment we are seeing five occurring regularly – mainly focusing on insecurities around health and financial worries, or, sadly, exploiting people’s want to help and assist.

Over the last few weeks we have noticed a number of ‘fake cures’. These are emails that claim there’s a cure that’s been covered up by various governments. There are a number of variations of this email. But it’s likely to ask you to click a link to receive more information about the cure. Do not click on this link as it’ll take you to a webpage that captures your bank login information.

Scammers are sending out emails that look like they come from trusted organisations, like the World Health Organisation (WHO). An attachment in the email claims to provide safety measures to combat coronavirus but opening it actually infects your device with malware that monitors your online activity and captures your information.

Criminals are bombarding mailboxes with emails saying you’re entitled to a tax refund due to coronavirus – but it’s a trick. HMRC will never contact you by email to discuss tax refunds, so don’t click or respond.

Watch out for emails, ads, posts, texts or phone calls advertising anything to do with coronavirus – whether it’s for facemasks, vaccines or access to testing kits – any deals that look too good to be true usually are. Some emails claim to be from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) and request Bitcoin payments. You’ll be told that you’re donating towards a cure or paying for essential coronavirus information. These approaches are very likely to be a scammer trying to get their hands on your money or personal details.

There has been a huge increase in criminals trying to lure people into becoming money mules through ‘get rich quick’ job offers during these uncertain times. If a job ad looks too good to be true – it probably is. The personal consequences of allowing criminals to pay money through your account can be life-changing.

Reject any offers of cash to let someone else use your bank account, it’s simply not worth it.

Malcolm Buchanan

Malcolm Buchanan