Coronavirus related fraud
We're continuing to see an escalation in cybercrime and fraud in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police and taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe. Please be on your guard and don't click on links or attachments in suspicious email or text messages. Click here for more information or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Covid-19 Vaccine Fraud
Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine or phone people directly pretending to be from the NHS or local pharmacy.
The NHS will:
- NEVER ask for a payment - the vaccine is free
- NEVER ask for your bank details
- NEVER arrive unannounced at your home
- NEVER ask you to prove your identiy by sending copies of personal documents such as passport
For more information please click here to view guidance from the Counter Fraud Authority.
The ten scams to be wary of - Published by the BBC
Covid-19 financial support scams
1. Fake government emails, which look like they are from government departments offering grants of up to £7,500. The emails contain links which steal personal and financial information.
2. Scam emails offering access to "Covid-19 relief funds", which encourage victims to fill in a form and hand over their personal information.
3. Official-looking emails offering a "council tax reduction". The emails contain links that lead to a fake government website, which harvests personal and financial information.
4. Benefit recipients are offered help in applying for universal credit, but fraudsters grab some of the payment as an advance for their "services".
5. Phishing emails claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19. They lead to fake websites that are used to steal personal and financial information or infect devices with malware.
6. Fake adverts for non-existent coronavirus-related products, such as hand sanitizer and face masks, which simply take the victim's cash and send them nothing.
7. Fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing, telling people they are eligible for six months for free because of the pandemic. Victims are told there has been a problem with their direct debit and are asked to click on a link that takes them to a fake website, which steals their personal and financial information.
8. Emails asking people to update their TV subscription services payment details by clicking on a link which is then used to steal credit card information.
9. Fake profiles on social media sites are used to manipulate victims into handing over their money. Criminals will often use the identities of real people to strike up conversation with their targets.
10. Fake investment opportunities are advertised on social media sites, encouraging victims to "take advantage of the financial downturn". Bitcoin platforms are using emails and adverts on social media platforms to encourage unsuspecting victims to put money into fake companies using fake websites.
Help and support for those suffering domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can often get worse during times of stress and uncertainty. If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, there are a number of organisations who can help and here are some useful telephone numbers.
- National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 3778 (24 hours).
- New Era, a domestic violence abuse service offering help to all those affected by domestic abuse in Staffordshire: 0300 303 3778 http://www.new-era.uk