Don't fall victim to scams during the Coronavirus emergency

Important information to help prevent you and your family falling victim to scams during the Coronavirus emergency:

The COVID-19 outbreak is bringing many challenges to us all as individuals and organisations across the world, and each day we are seeing the resilience of people and the many positive activities that are happening as a result of this difficult situation, which is very inspiring.

Sadly, we are also starting to see that some individuals are taking advantage of the situation in a negative, and frankly appalling way, and using it as an opportunity to mislead and scam the population for their own gain.

For example, you may have seen emails and messages yourself, informing you of health tests that can tell you if you have contracted Coronavirus and how to cure it for a huge price, or had people you don’t know or trust contacting you offering to help with running errands, or to pick up prescriptions and shopping.

The Northamptonshire Trading Standards Service have of course stepped in, and are working with the National Trading Standards scams team who are leading a UK wide campaign to raise awareness of COVID-19 scams, warning people against these and telling them what they need to do to report any suspicious activity. 

We have a high number of vulnerable and elderly residents across Northamptonshire, and as part of the work to safeguard them during this challenging time, the local authority is encouraging people to follow the guidance below.

Cold callers:  With social distancing restrictions now in place across the UK, people you don’t know or trust shouldn’t be knocking on your door. If you do experience this, always ask for ID and never be pressured into donating money.

Watch out for scam emails and text messages:  Please 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.

Online shopping:  If you’re making a purchase from a company you haven’t used before, 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 purchases are protected if the item is over £100.  For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit the Action Fraud website.

Protect electronic devices from the latest threats:  Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, please visit the National Centre for Cyber Security website.

Reporting scams

If you are aware of anyone who may have been a victim of a scam, this can reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. People should also report this to their bank and speak to them for advice.

For any scam advice, you can call the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33.