Scams & crimes to look out for during the Covid-19 lock down

It's sad to say but there are some who are taking advantage of the recent situation with corona virus - here's what to look out for and how to handle it.


It's sad to say but there are some who are taking advantage of the recent situation with corona virus - here's what to look out for and how to handle it.

1. HMRC Messages

“You have a tax refund to claim – click this link to claim it!” Do not click the link! Although the promise of your hard earned money back is a tempting one, it’s far more likely to be a phishing scam that will take your tax data than a lovely refund.

2. NHS notifications

This is a scary time and we’re all so worried about hearing the worst about a friend or loved one, but a notification, be it by email, text or phone, is something to be wary of. Ensure that the person on the end of the phone is who they say they are and also don’t confirm your identity or personal data.

3. Shopping vouchers/discounts

With money and job security an uncertainty in these times, a bit of extra help here and there will always be welcome, but don’t click on any links promising vouchers or discounts that are sent to you without a prompt or for you asking for them – these links often introduce malware into your computer and can cause real problems for you later on.

4. Financial Assistance messages

It can seem to good to be true if you’ve been affected by the corona virus financially to have a financial assistance card dropped on your doorstep, but unless you reach out to the government or HMRC, it’s unlikely that the offer of assistance is genuine.

5. Withheld or 0300 phone numbers

Many scams seem very realistic when there’s a kind voice at the end of the phone- if you don’t know the number, or if it pops up as withheld, let it go to voicemail to see how important it is. If they don’t leave a message, it’s likely not important. You can also very easily google the number to see if it’s one you need to ring back – there are websites such as whocalledme that log numbers that are scammers or nuisance calls.

6. Fake delivery men / door to door people

Unless you’ve ordered something, always ask to see ID through the window – unfortunately there are people who take advantage during trying times such as this, and it’s difficult to know who is who. At the moment, any home inspections are on hold unless there is an emergency, so if anyone shows up at your door asking to read the meter or with a delivery that you don’t know about, ask for ID and check with the source – don’t let anyone in, and to be polite you have the perfect excuse of self isolation!

7. Car theft & breakages

With everyone being at home, statistics in burglaries have gone down. However crime never sleeps and frustratingly more people are finding their cars damaged or broken into. Ensure your car is locked and in a place where you can easily see it or check on it during your daily exercise.

8. Deliberate coughers

One of the most horrible things we have been seeing is deliberate coughers – those who cough on people when they are infected so as to deliberately infect other people. This is technically an act of terrorism, and even if it is meant as a rather tasteless joke, it should be taken seriously. If you see this, call the police and move away from whoever is doing it as quickly as possible.


9. False offers/ requests

Our community has come together wonderfully over the last month – with kind and genuine offers of help and assistance left right and centre. However, some might use this to their advantage and steal any money that has been given for a shopping trip or indeed refuse to pay – ensure that the agreement is confirmed before you give anyone money or agree to have shopping delivered.

10. Fake officials / key workers

A scary way that some are trying to scam you could be by pretending to be a key worker – ensure you ask for ID and be sure not to let anyone into your house or give any details unless you are sure of their identity.

11. Stolen NHS passes

If you run a business that very kindly offers NHS workers a discount for their hard work – ensure that the passes belong to the people who are showing them to you – it sounds terrible but there are those looking for that 10% off for themselves and steal NHS passes. Ask for an extra form of ID if you are unsure about anyone.

12. Fake enforcement notices and government messages

A strange scam that has been cropping up is fake enforcement messages- such as fake messages accusing you of not social distancing – please be assured if you were liable to anything then the police would come to your door, not drop you a text! Ensure you don’t respond to these messages but instead report them to your local authority.