Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus.
They are setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’ or testing kits. Scammers have also been setting up bogus websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips. Cold callers have been contacting organisations suggesting they must have specific measures in place by a certain deadline.
Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links. (https://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/shut-out-scammers) Some examples and what (not) to do can be found on Edinburgh City Council website, summarised below:
HMRC tax refund
Fraudulent link – do not click, delete immediately
Center for Disease Control or World Health Organisation
Scam messages and emails claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation – delete immediately, do not click on any links.
The attached document is malicious and should not be opened – delete immediately.
Fraudulent online sales of face masks and hand sanitiser
If an online shopping offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Carry out research first, ask friend or family for advice. Use a credit card if possible, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
Insurance or medical plans claiming to have a Coronavirus cure
These are a scam. Hang up the phone and do not engage with the caller.
Microsoft/BT notifications of a computer virus
Phone calls telling you that your laptop or network has a virus and that fraudsters are accessing your data. Hang up and do not engage with the caller.
Emails or texts about free school meals
The email requests bank details. Delete the message immediately. Do not follow any links. Do not provide any personal information or bank details.
Unsolicited visitors offering free Coronavirus testing – a scam
Do not open your door to anyone you don’t know and if they claim to be from a legitimate organisation, ask to see their ID before you even think about engaging with them.