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Covid 19 Scams

Published on 23 March 2020 01:33 PM

It is wonderful to see so many communities coming together and showing kindness to support each other, HOWEVER we are very sad to report that we are aware there are several SCAMS now circulating and people taking advantage of these challenging times to prey on anxiety, vulnerability and those who are at higher risk – especially older people.

The scammers are operating in a variety of ways and FRAUDULENTLY claiming to be from a number of organisations to include government agencies, health services or charities.

Please ask for ID and carefully check the validity of anyone knocking on your door. People who are genuine will not be offended and will willingly give you information so you can check they are who they claim to be. We are currently compiling a list of community groups via parishes who are offering community support. If you have such a group please send your details to us by emailing covid19@ageukcap.org.uk.  We will be sharing the Community Support Map on our website very soon and regularly updating it.

In the meantime these are the scams to our knowledge: BE AWARE : TAKE CARE 

 BE AWARE:

  • Scams exploiting fears by offering products and or services for sale – at huge prices such as:
  1. Selling protective masks and hand sanitiser. Check the online shopping site as this could be fake.
  2. Offering vaccines for sale. There is not a vaccine or ‘cure’ as yet.
  3. Offering Covid 19 home test kits for sale. Even if a genuine product, Public Health England states that use of these products are not advised. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-rapid-tests-for-use-in-community-pharmacies-or-at-home
  • Fraudsters, claiming to be from the government to take swabs and gaining entry to the home, where pressure sales are made, or distraction burglary.
  • Rogue “community helpers” targeting households, knocking on older peoples doors to offer shopping collection and to run errands. They are taking cash or bank cards and getting pin numbers. DONOT hand over your bank card. NEVER share your pin number.
  • Phishing Emails from a fake HMRC website offering government aid by way of a tax refund in light of the coronavirus. Victims are encouraged to share personal and bank details.
  • Fraudsters purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have contacted potential victims via email. They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.
  • Fake fundraising platforms and crowdfunding, purporting to fund research or help people who are self-isolating or ill, appealing for donations.

Please note not all of these scams are in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area, they have been reported across the country or known worldwide.

 TAKE CARE: How to protect yourself

  • Watch out for scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Shopping online: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
  •  If someone you don’t know offers you help, try to find out more about them, specifically where they live and how you can contact them should you need help.Take measures to check the identity of the person offering you help and verify they are who they claim to be.
  • Don’t hand-over money to someone you don’t know who is offering to help you. Offers of help for most things should be free of charge, for example dog walking.
  • If someone offers to do your shopping, ask for a receipt so that you can pay them to cover the cost of the items. 
  • Never give away your bank card or bank details, including any passwords or PIN number.
  • Don’t feel pressured to accept help.
  • If possible, call a friend or family member to discuss the help you’ve been offered.
  • If you are making a donation – please ensure it is to a registered charity with The Charity Commission – GOV UK.https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission. We are appealing for donations to help us during this pandemic, please consider donating to us Covid 19 HOPE Appeal
  • If you think you might have been scammed call you local Trading Standards office.

 

Contact us, Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, your local charity on 0300 666 9860 or email our dedicated inbox, to deal with all virus related enquiries on covid19@ageukcap.org.uk.  

The national Age Uk charity has further information upon scams and fraud. Follow this link to read more

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/scams-fraud/

Report concerns to Action Fraud who has collaborated with Age UK to produce a video - see below.

Fraudsters may use the fact more people are staying at home, as an opportunity to operate doorstep scams. This video explains how to protect yourself:

Remember, someone posing as a good samaritan and offering to help those in isolation with things like buying shopping, then keeping the money (never to be seen again and not buying the shopping), is committing theft. This should be reported to local police.

Action Fraud

Report Scams and Fraud

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Report theft to the police

Covid 19 HOPE Appeal

Please donate to Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to support our work to  help local older people