CORONAVIRUS: SPOTTING AND AVOIDING THE SCAMMERS

The current crisis is bringing out the best in a lot of people. Unfortunately it can also bring out the worst. Here are useful links dealing with scammers, phishing, false sales and how to protect yourselves from those utterly awful people who are using the situation to take advantage of the vulnerable.

SCAMMERS POSING AS DOOR-TO-DOOR COVID-19 TESTERS

Sky News reports that police have said: “People should call them on 999 if someone comes to their door and claims to be conducting virus tests”.
The Independent reports that people have also offered to do shopping for the elderly and then kept their money.

PHISHING ATTACKS

Norton explains that the amount of news coverage around coronavirus has given scammers an opportunity to undertake phishing attacks.
The Independent states that some of these emails claim to be from the World Health Organisation and other official bodies.
The Guardian explains that businesses are more at risk to these sorts of cyberattacks now due to the move to working from home.
Sky News reports that there are also emails offering a tax rebate to support people through this difficult time. This is also discussed in the Telegraph’s article.

FALSE SALES

According to ITV News, scammers are also falsely selling coronavirus relating products online: “Fraudsters are using online marketplaces to sell goods like face masks and hand sanitisers that don’t exist, or even self-isolation boxes”.
Action Fraud states that the majority of 105 reports to them since 1 February 2020 are related to online shopping scams.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Time has an article explaining how you can protect yourself from these scams.
Scam Watch explains that you should search for reviews before purchasing products and always keep your computer security up to date.
The Federal Trade Commission adds that you should ‘do your homework’ before making any donations during the crisis.
EFF – Phishing in the TIme of COVID-19: How to Recognize Malicious Coronavirus Phishing Scams notes some common-sense measures you can take, including checking the sender’s email address, trying not to click or tap and getting someone else’s opinion.
Regarding the risk of undelivered goods, the Federal Trade Commission in ‘Coronavirus scams, Part 2’, advises that you do background research on the seller first and if you decide to proceed, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.
The Metropolitan Police advise you to immediately request and check the ID and credentials of anyone who visits your home offering a service.
The West Midlands Police offer further guidance on protecting yourself and your details from fraudsters.