People have been warned not to fall for a bogus text message saying they have been fined for stepping outside during the coronavirus lockdown. The scam message claims to be from the Government,
telling the recipient their movements have been monitored through their phone and they must pay a fine or face a more severe penalty.
HMRC goodwill payment
The MET police are warning of a fake message designed to steal your account details that says ‘As part of the NHS promise to battle the COVID-19 virus, HMRC has issued a payment of £258 as a goodwill payment’.
Free school meals
Free school meals the Department for Education has issued warnings about a scam email designed to steal your bank details saying: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported.’
WhatsApp request to forward your code A recent scam could grant hackers full access to your WhatsApp messages, photos and videos. Someone who knows your phone number could request to register your WhatsApp on a different device, and when a verification code is sent to you, the hacker will then message you to try and coax you into forwarding this on to them. They could then target your contacts with requests for money.
Covid-19 doorstep scam
Be aware that opportunists and criminals can take advantage of older people who are self-isolating during this period of Coronavirus outbreak.
There are people calling door to door proclaiming to be carrying out Coronavirus testing at your home for you on behalf of NHS or you GP.
NHS teams are NOT conducting any door to door testing for the Coronavirus - these are thieves trying to get into your home.
If anyone knocks on your door claiming to be conducting the tests please call the police
Anyone being offered "kindness" by cold callers by way of running errands, collecting prescriptions and doing shopping should not accept services from STRAN who may ask for cash up front, a credit card and its PIN, or gain trust simply to execute a more elaborate scam.
Since February 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified a growing number of reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800k. Ten of these reports were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.
Do not buy an item or service at the door
The local Safer Neighbourhood team is advising people not to buy from people knocking at your door. There have been several reports of young men, allegedly from a Youth Opportunities Project for ex offenders, selling cleaning items door to door. The men do have an ID tag and may even have a peddlers licence and may be genuinely from a project, but there is a chance they may not.
At best they will be selling basic items for a much higher price by engaging your sympathy. At worst they are using this front to make money, and can be quite verbally abusive if refused.
So, check who is at the door via a window; unknown callers are so much easier to deal with through a closed door or window. A quick smile and no thank you and away from the window will see most of them quietly on their way.
'We do not buy at the door' stickers can be bought on line or you can make them yourself.
If the caller is persistant or abusive call police on 101.
There have been reports of cold callers phoning up older people claiming to be carrying out a survey on elderly care and requirements. In one case a man who was undergoing treatment for cancer and was waiting for an appointment assumed the call was relating to this. He talked about his medication and ended up agreeing to a face to face meeting. The person who came around tried to sell him an NHS matress for £14,000. When the man said he did not have this kind of money the visitor left. This cold call was actually an attempted scam. Never assume everyone is genuine, always ask a friend or neighbour for a second opinion and never be rushed into making hasty decisions.