Since the lockdown began on 23 March 2020 there has been an increased sense of community spirit and numerous gestures of goodwill. The coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately also been an opportunity for others.

Between 1 February 2020 and 18 March 2020 Action Fraud received 105 reports of coronavirus related frauds with loses totalling £970,000. The majority of these allegations were shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, sanitiser and other products and they have not been received. Over 471 fake online shops were closed down by the National Cyber Security Centre last month.

If shopping online, it is always important to do some research about the company or the person first and if possible purchase goods using a credit card as most major providers insure online purchases.

Another common method being used is to send scam messages or phishing emails. Google have reported that they are blocking 18 million coronavirus scam emails a day. The purpose of these emails and messages is to trick the receiver into disclosing personal information. If you receive an email from someone you don’t recognise it is important not to click on any links of attachments or respond to the emails.

The government have issued guidance to protect yourself and your business. You should Stop and take a moment to think before parting with your money. Challenge – consider if it could be a fake message, consider that the police or the bank would never ask you to withdraw money and move it to another account or to disclose your PIN number. It is wise to confirm the requests are genuine by contacting a known number or email for the organisation. It is important to talk to family, friends or the police before parting with any money. Protect – contact your bank immediately if you believe you have fallen for a scam and report to Action Fraud.

If you have been a victim of fraud please report it to your bank and Action Fraud as soon as possible.

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