Sadly in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, there are people who have been taking advantage of the situation to try and scam people, particularly those who are elderly and vulnerable. This section gives you information on the scams that we have been made aware of so that you can be on alert.
See the latest government information on fraud and cyber crime here.
A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes.
In an initiative between government and the independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can now call a new COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity. For further details please click here.
The National Cyber Security Centre is offering guidance on how to stay secure online during Coronavirus: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware.
Thames Valley Police summarise measures we can take to prevent becoming victims of cyber crime here.
Latest Scam: Covid-19 Vaccination Scam Alert - 8th January 2021
Some local people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. There are various scams running.
You may be asked to press a number on your keypad or send a text message to confirm you wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to your phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.
• Don’t click on links or attachments in unexpected texts, emails or instant messages.
• Challenge every request for your personal details.
• It doesn’t matter what they say or what they know about you, don’t respond to unexpected phone calls. Hang up, then verify their claims via a trusted method such as their usual website or official phone number.
The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public in certain priority groups.
The NHS will:
• NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
• NEVER ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, report this directly to Action Fraud either online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or via phone 0300 123 2040 Where the victim is vulnerable, call 101.
MK Council’s Trading Standards team has foiled 40 scams since the start of the coronavirus outbreak – that’s three times more than usual. We’re cracking down on scammers exploiting the current situation to take advantage of isolated and vulnerable residents in MK. To report any concerns please click here.
Residents are also being urged to be especially wary of people offering or selling:
• Virus testing kits – these are only offered by the NHS.
• Vaccines or miracle cures – there is currently no vaccine or cure.
• Shopping or medication collection services that require payment upfront.
• Home cleaning services.
• Overpriced or counterfeit products.
Residents must also be wary of emails, texts, telephone calls and messages via social media from scammers offering refunds on taxes or bills, as these are highly prevalent.
To see full details and to find out how to report any coronavirus related scams please go to: http://www.stonystratford.gov.uk/news/blog-article/scamming-complaints-on-the-rise-
Which News have advised of this latest Coronavirus scam
Don’t believe bogus text messages saying you’ve been fined for stepping outside during the coronavirus lockdown. It is the latest in a series of scams related to the virus that claims to be from the UK Government. This sinister scam claims that your movements have been monitored through your phone, and that you must pay a fine or face a more severe penalty.
To read more please see: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/coronavirus-scam-lookout-for-fake-lockdown-fine-texts/