Across the UK Police forces are beginning to see evidence that fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus.
They are setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’ or testing kits. Scammers have also been setting up bogus websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips. Cold callers have been contacting organisations suggesting they must have specific measures in place by a certain deadline.
To help members of the public protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud
- Be vigilant and on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly
- but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company to verify their identity
- Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for or offering help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you
- Don’t feel embarrassed – genuine callers expect you to be careful
- Never provide any personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity
- Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home
- If in doubt, don’t answer the door.
Never feel pressured into making a decision on the spot. Any legitimate trader/helper will be happy to return at a later date
Never be afraid to say ‘No thank you’ and close the door
Be sceptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links
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 such as Western Union or Moneygram
Remember, it’s your home. There’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes
Who can help you?
To report a crime call 101 or in an emergency 999.
If you have concerns about a purchase that you have made, contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000. – www.advice.scot
Further information on dealing with scams and fraud is available from our partner sites, who can offer further information, support and advice:
- For free message alerts from key information providers regarding incidents and crime prevention in your area, go to Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
- Get to know some of the most common fraud techniques in The Little Book of Big Scams
- Want advice on your consumer rights? Contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000
- Are you a victim or witness to a crime looking for free, confidential support? Call Victim Support Scotland on 0800 160 1985
- To report a matter to Trading Standards call 0808 164 6000
- Report scammers and fraudsters ANONYMOUSLY at Crimestoppers
- Care and Repair Scotland offers help and advice on assisting the aged and disabled to feel safe and secure in their homes
- For safety advice and to request a free fire safety visit, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
- The Telephone Preference Service can help cut out unwanted sales, spam and scam phone calls