Sadly, criminals have exploited the current situation to defraud vulnerable residents and businesses so please take extra care.
Please be wary of social media posts claiming you can get a free £258 award from the government to help during the coronavirus outbreak just by entering your bank details. Government departments never ask for your bank details in this way. It is a scam designed to trick you out of money.
Similarly there is a text message going around asking recipients to pay a £35 fine, after being 'recorded as leaving their home on three occasions'. Weblinks on the text are likely to go through to dodgy websites looking to steal personal information or install malware.
Please also beware of people offering or selling shopping, medication or home cleaning services. Please note that virus testing kits are only offered by the NHS and there are no vaccines or cures. Be careful of online marketplaces selling goods like face masks and hand sanitisers that don’t exist.
There are people pretending to be from research organisations linked to the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus infected people in their area and the link to the information leads to a malicious website. These emails can trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.
If you need financial help please see our Welfare Rights and Debt Advice service.
As a council, we would never ask for your bank details or an administration fee to be paid before issuing a refund. We would never contact you to say that if you didn’t call back about money you owed, the police would be involved, and a warrant put out for your arrest. Please note that banks will never ask you for your full PIN or password, or request you move money from your accounts.
Please make any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours aware of scams and follow advice from Public Health England on protecting yourself against coronavirus.
Here are some tips from the GOV.UK website to help avoid falling victim to internet scams and phishing.