In the past couple of weeks, there has been a significant increase in the number of coronavirus scams that have been reported across the globe. Millions of dollars have been lost to these scammers, who approach targets through both online and offline modes. At Small World, we believe in keeping our customers safe and therefore, we decided to update you about the most recent coronavirus scams. By the time you are done with this article, we would have educated and informed you about the current coronavirus scams and how you can avoid being a victim.
As no definite cure or vaccine has been discovered against coronavirus, medical authorities across the globe have imposed restrictions on the sale and promotion of miracle cures and testing kits. While that has been taken care of to a larger extent, scammers seem to be getting more creative. So, here’s a quick compilation of coronavirus scams that you need to be aware of, in order to stay safe and secure during the coronavirus lockdown.
Doorstep Coronavirus ScamsWhile citizens continue to oblige to the coronavirus lockdown norms and try to restrict themselves to doorstep deliveries of essential goods, there have been some very unpleasant occurrences. Recently, the UK Police have warned citizens to be wary of scammers pretending to be authorized by the Government or Government agencies such as NHS, HRMC, etc…
There have been cases in which scammers have reached out to targets and robbed households. In certain cases, the target has been conned into paying a “fine” to the scammer who pretended to be from the NHS. At times, these miscreants pretend to offer door-step delivery to potential victims. Therefore, the UK Police has been warning citizens against opening doors to or answering calls from unknown people.
Fake Cures and Tests The NHS and the Red Cross do not charge you for their services and therefore if someone pretends to be from one of these organizations asks for a testing fee, you must know that it’s a scammer. Recently, coronavirus scammers have begun conning elderly folks by offering to test them for coronavirus and charging them for it. As the scammers claim to be from the NHS or the Red Cross, elderly people usually fall prey to this tactic.
Hand Sanitizers and Face Masks
Over the past month, coronavirus scammers have duped people of over £800,000, by cold calling or sending emails claiming to deliver health safety products and cleaning staples. As most online marketplaces have now limited their services to essential goods only, there are others who are trying to take advantage of the situation.
At present, most of these essential goods, which of course includes hand sanitizers, soaps, and masks take time to arrive, people have been receiving calls from sellers willing to send them over sooner, but only when the victim prepays for it. However, these items never arrive, and the money is lost to scammers.
So, we recommend that you stick to buying essential goods from reputed offline or online marketplaces only. As the logistics have been deeply impacted by the lockdown, getting your deliveries may take some time but would eventually arrive. Until then, have some patience and avoid falling prey to coronavirus scammers.
Keep your Financial Details ConfidentialRecently, scammers have been approaching people under various pretexts, asking them to disclose their financial details such as credit card numbers and bank accounts. You need to be extremely careful and avoid disclosing such details to any third person. Recently, coronavirus scammers reached out to certain persons for their bank details.
The reason given was to provide financial assistance to support children that are being homeschooled and are not receiving free lunch. However, later the Department of Education clarified on Twitter that it was not an official email, but a scam.
Donate Wisely and Avoid Charity Scams
At present, there is no dearth of people trying to raise funds to provide relief to those who need support during the coronavirus lockout. Everyone from your favorite late-night show’s host to social media influencers has a link for those who wish to donate. While charity is a good thing, you need to be careful about where your money is going and how you send it.
Coronavirus Scammers and how to avoid them
With the rise in eCommerce, you need to protect yourself from both online and offline scammers and we’ll tell you how. If someone knocks on your door claiming to offer coronavirus testing, don’t fall prey to it. At present, the NHS and its staff are overburdened with responsibilities, so you can be sure that they have no time to knock on your door.
Reputed organizations and government bodies such as NHS, Red Cross, HMRC, etc… will not reach out to you through phone or email. They would rather upload the necessary information on their official websites or disseminate it through reputed news agencies. Also, they do not ask for personal, financial, and sensitive information so avoid divulging such information over the phone or emails.
Sometimes, you may be required to click on a link and enter a pin code or other details which may seem harmless. However, the link could be a malicious phishing link that takes control of your computer and device to steal sensitive and financial information. As you may have realized by now, the best way to avoid falling prey to both offline and online coronavirus scams is by limiting communication with those whom you know, both at home and online. We also recommend that you read this post about online coronavirus scams and make use of the advanced tips that we have provided.
Coronavirus scams have caused serious concerns all over the world and while the governments are trying their best to flatten the curve and hold up the economy, we need to do our bit. So, we recommend that you adopt the abovementioned safety measures and be more cautious about who you interact with.