Recent data reveals that local councils have recorded a 40% increase in scams since the start of the UK lockdown. This is further backed up by Citizens Advice who believe that 1 in 3 people have been targeted by a coronavirus scammer.
There are many ways that fraudsters manipulate victims from impersonating well-known subscription services to fake government emails. Sadly we have also heard reports of fraudsters posing as NHS test and trace staff to gain personal information and details from people.
According to British banks, the top 10 scams to be wary of are:
- Fake government emails offering grants
- Scam emails offering access to “Covid-19 relief funds”
- Council tax reduction emails that include a fake government website
- Emails where help is being offered to apply for universal credit
- Phishing emails claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
- False adverts for coronavirus-related products (e.g. hand sanitiser)
- TV licensing emails claiming you are eligible for six months free
- Emails that ask you to update your TV subscription services payments
- Fake social media profiles
- Fake investment opportunities that are advertised on social media
All these often contain links that steal personal and financial information in some way. For example, filling out your bank details or filling in a form about yourself that contains personal and sensitive data.
Please stay vigilant and aware. If an email look suspicious, 9 times out of 10 it probably is.
Find out more on the QASSS website on how to stay safe amid phishing attacks.