How to protect yourself from the surge of coronavirus scams

People are being warned to be on the lookout for coronavirus-related fraud as scammers target the vulnerable with fake 'cures' and bogus products.

People and organisations are being targeted with emails, texts and phone calls offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering “cures”.

The majority of cases being flagged to authorities have so far been related to online shopping scams where people ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products that were never delivered.

Scammers have also been setting up websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips.

Over £800,000 has been lost to Coronavirus scams since February 2020, according to reports made to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service has published the following advice to help people stay a step ahead of fraudsters:

  • Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links.

  • Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity.

  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money and never make donations by cash or gift card, or send money through transfer agents.

  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

  • You can get further information on dealing with scams and fraud by calling the Consumer Service telephone number 0808 223 1133, or contact Citizens Advice.

Trading Standards Wales is advising residents to contact their local council for information about services and assistance in their area.

The Action Fraud website has the latest information on new scams.