COVID 19 Scams

We previously published advice on how to avoid malicious COVID-19 ‘phishing’ emails and SMS messages in our campaign, ‘think before you click’.

Unfortunately, these scams continue, and the deceptions are particularly callous, with cybercriminals preying upon people’s fears, insecurities and financial problems. We’ve provided an update below on the latest scams to look out for:

Fake lockdown fines

The scam message (usually sent by text) claims to be from the government saying that your movements have been monitored through your phone and demanding you pay a £250 fine or face a more severe penalty.

HMRC goodwill payment

The MET police have warned of a fake text message designed to steal your account details that says ‘As part of the NHS promise to battle the COV-19 virus, HMRC has issued a payment of £258 as a goodwill payment’.

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.’

HMRC coronavirus tax refunds

HMRC has warned of a scam campaign telling customers that they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the outbreak.

WhatsApp request

A recent scam also includes a WhatsApp request to forward your code. 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. It could grant hackers full access to your WhatsApp messages, photos and videos and they could you could then target your contacts with requests for money.


Remember – think before you click

If you believe you have received a phishing link in any format, ‘think before you click’ on whatever device you’re using. If in doubt, don’t click it.


For more advice on what to do if you think you’ve received a phishing message or if you’ve clicked on one, read our latest guide here.




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