People urged to watch out for new scams as fraudsters target elderly and vulnerable amid coronavirus pandemic

People are being reminded to watch for fraudsters as new scams target the elderly and vulnerable who are self-isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wiltshire Police is one of the forces in the West Country reminding people to be aware of those who are taking advantage of the current global situation.

New scams are emerging which are targeting the elderly and most vulnerable who are self-isolating at home.

Examples include:

  • People visiting homes pretending to be police officers and/or health officials with a view to burgling homes.

  • Criminals are also offering fake coronavirus testing as well as bogus food and medicine delivery services.


Wiltshire Police has confirmed it hasn't seen any cases yet in the county, but is urging people to be aware and take steps to protect themselves.

Top tips from the police:

  • Be a good neighbour - keep an eye on an elderly or vulnerable person living near you.

  • Check ID - volunteers working with the health and emergency services will be in possession of the necessary documentation to prove they are genuine.

  • If in doubt call us - if you are not sure about someone, don't engage and report any serious suspicious behaviour.

  • Online fraud - don’t click on 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 buying 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.

People working for charities or a local authority should have proof of the work they are doing.

Currently in Wiltshire police officers and medical personnel are not doing door-to-door checks.

Tips for home working

  • Change default passwords on you home Wi-Fi router to prevent hackers accessing your network.

  • Use strong and unique passwords on every account and device. Consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) which is a second piece of evidence you provide to prove it’s definitely you logging in.

  • Software updates contain vital security patches - keep all devices, apps and operating systems up to date.

  • If you’re working in a more public place use a privacy screen and tether using a 3G/4G connection instead of an untrusted Wi-Fi hotspot.

  • Only use software your company would typically use to share files. Refrain from using your personal email or 3rd party services unless reliably informed otherwise.

If you suspect anything, or want to report a crime, you can call 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, the Action Fraud website has the latest information on new scams.