Scams partnership urges people to be vigilant against COVID-19
MEMBERS of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams
Partnership (CAPASP) are warning people in Cambridgeshire and
Peterborough to be vigilant against scammers who are taking advantage of
As Covid-19 spreads rapidly across the world, various reports have emerged
about fraudsters seizing the opportunity to defraud.
In the UK, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has reported that
victims have lost over £800k to scams relating to the coronavirus since
Many of the scams involve criminals contacting victims by email, phone or
text message posing as genuine organisations such as banks, police officers
or health providers. The fraudsters may claim to provide medical guidance,
investment opportunities or a safe place to transfer and keep money - using
coronavirus as a cover story. Alternatively, victims are tricked into disclosing
personal or financial information or clicking on links which could contain
In Cambridgeshire, doorstep scammers are reported to have been visiting
residents purporting to be from Red Cross or other legitimate organisations,
and offering to provide coronavirus testing kits - for a hefty fee.
Some examples of other coronavirus scams to watch out for are:
· Flight cancellation scam. If you have had a holiday cancelled,
beware of individuals or organisations making contact asking for bank
details to refund your money. Your travel agent or airline should
refund directly by the original payment method.
· Fake email or website scams. Watch out for authentic looking
websites or emails seemingly from official channels such as Public
Health England or WHO (World Health Organisation). These may look
very convincing and offer enticing information for a fee or a single
click on a link or attachment. Clicking may install malicious software
which can monitor the victim’s every move and provide the details to
criminals. Recent examples include e-mails or websites claiming to
be able to show local cases of Covid-19 but which are in fact designed
to infect the victim’s computer with malware to steal banking and
· Online offers for vaccinations. There are currently are no
vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, prescriptions or over-the-
counter products available to treat or cure Covid-19 coronavirus. DO
NOT send money, buy bitcoin or vouchers to anyone offering this.
· Bogus charity callers. Fraudsters may pose as charitable
organisations claiming to help individuals or businesses in these
challenging times. Check the authenticity of any caller on the phone
or doorstep by contacting the organisation on the number you know
to be correct. If the caller was on the phone make sure you wait at
least 10 minutes or use a different handset to conduct your
· Tax refund scam. E-mails purporting to be from HMRC or GOV.UK
<http://GOV.UK> are being sent by scammers with the promise of a
tax rebate ‘for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak’ at the click of a
link. The link is likely to infect the device with malware and allow
private information to be stolen.
· Good Neighbour scam. People in self-isolation have been
approached by criminals offering to help with shopping who take the
resident’s money and never return.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby said:
“In these difficult times, there are many genuine people and organisations
offering to support people’s health and wellbeing needs within their local
community, such as shopping, collecting prescriptions or providing a friendly
conversation over the phone.
“These people will carry official documentation or identification and will ask
YOU to contact THEM if you need any help.
“Remember, always check ID of people knocking at the door - do your own,
independent research to contact the organisation in question rather than
using any contact details on the ID itself.
“Please stay safe and look after one another.
“Visit the CAPASP website <http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/against-
scams> for more help and advice on how to avoid scams.”