Help with Coronavirus Finances and Bills

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Lowlife scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus to try to defraud people, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

Action Fraud has identified thousands of reports of coronavirus-related fraud, with victim losses totaling over £ 5million. Many of them are online shopping scams where victims have tried to buy products like face masks and hand sanitizer from scammers. There have also been over 4,400 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails designed to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive information.

A common tactic used by crooks is to send messages claiming to come from research groups linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States or the World Health Organization. Some claim they can provide a list of people infected with Covid-19, which links to a malicious website or asks the victim to make a payment in Bitcoin.

Other common phishing emails include those claiming to be from the government, sending articles about the coronavirus outbreak with links to fake corporate websites, or sending details of investment programs. that encourage people to take advantage of the coronavirus slowdown.

Did you receive a suspicious email? The National Cyber ​​Security Center (part of GCHQ) has launched its new suspicious email reporting service to eliminate phishing scams – all you have to do is forward the suspicious emails to their website. [email protected] email address.

Pensioners targeted by wave of scams

A very common scam during the coronavirus crisis has targeted pension holders, claiming they can access cash quickly if they transfer their pension. And with many people desperate for money, this scam often finds a target – and victims lose an average of £ 82,000 to pension scams. Here’s what to watch out for

  • An extraordinary offer of a free boarding exam. If someone calls you and tells you they are from your retirement company or a financial advisor who offers you a free retirement review, NEVER continue with the call.
  • Someone says he’s calling from your retirement company. If they say they’re from your retirement company, say you’ll call them back, then look up the company’s contact information online or on your police documents. NEVER call a number they gave you. If it is a legitimate call, it will not bother the caller.
  • If you are under 55 and someone calls you to offer you access to your pension, do not continue. You cannot access your pension until you are 55, unless you are terminally ill. Anyone who suggests this is not legitimate.
  • Someone offers to manage your pension. Likewise, if someone asks you to transfer your pension to their business or put it under their management, do your homework on the business before you act. You can check if pension companies or advisers are registered on the FCA Financial Services Registry, a public record that shows details of regulated companies, individuals and other organizations.

Tips to protect yourself against scams

Action Fraud says you can do the following to minimize your chances of being cheated:

  • Watch out for fraudulent messages. This includes not clicking on links or attachments if you receive a suspicious message, and not responding to unsolicited messages or calls that request personal or financial information.
  • Be careful when shopping online. You should always do your research if buying from a company or person you don’t know and trust, and possibly seek advice from a friend or family member first. . If you are making an online purchase, you should use a credit card if possible for additional protection (see our Article 75 to guide).
  • Protect your devices from threats. This always includes installing the latest software and application updates to protect your devices against new threats.

See also MSE Katie’s More than 20 coronavirus scams to watch out for blog to learn more about known coronavirus scams and tips to protect yourself from scammers.

Have you been the victim of a scam?

If you have lost money due to fraudsters, you need to do the following:

  1. Immediately end all communication with them.
  2. Contact your bank to tell them you’ve been scammed and cancel all recurring payments.
  3. Report the scam to the police via the Fraud in action website. You can also call him on 0300 123 2040, but be aware that he has reduced phone service at the moment so wait times may be longer than usual.
  4. If you want individual help, you can contact Advice to citizens Scams Action by phone or online chat.

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