Residents are being warned to watch out for an increase in COVID-19-related scams. Leading fraud prevention organisation, CIFAS, has highlighted four new alerts:
The TV Licensing phishing email
In this scam, emails are sent out claiming to be from TV Licensing and offering six months' of free viewing.
HMRC phishing email
This scam specifically targets people who are out of work or working less due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and claims to offer thousands of pounds in grants. The recipient is told to click on a link to check their eligibility, and answer questions that
are designed to steal personal information. At the moment, this scam comes from the email address “HMRC@hotmail.com”, but as new frauds spring up every day, this could change.
HMRC phishing email 2
In this second HMRC phishing email, recipients are notified that they are due an "outstanding tax refund". The email address of the sender is not from an official Gov.uk email address.
Fraudsters are targeting families organising funerals for loved ones by contacting them and purporting to be from their local authority's Bereavement Services team and asking them for credit card details to pay their funeral director.
These criminals are then putting families under pressure by telling them that the funeral will be cancelled if they don't pay immediately.
Anyone receiving this type of call should hang up immediately and report the incident to Action Fraud.
How to stay safe
Stop - Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge - Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect - Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
And use the A, B, C of scam awareness:
A - Never Assume a caller, email or text is genuine.
B - Never Believe a caller, email or text is genuine.
C - Always Confirm by contacting a trusted number, family member, friend, your bank’s fraud department or the police to check if it’s genuine.
You can report a scam on the Action Fraud website.
Emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.