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Corona Virus – How to spot scams (including latest updates)

Trading Standards – Corona virus scams

Trading standards in West Yorkshire have recently released the following advice about scam circulating during lockdown COVID-19 Weekly update 07.05.2020.

How to easily spot a scam email, social media post, text message or phone call.

Nationally there’s a lot of information presented about scams. The simple truth is that the police, trading standards and other organisations do not have the time or expertise to properly address these issues.

There are however a few simple things that we all need to do that will ensure that 99% of scam activity is effectively spotted and deleted.

Email scams.

These are amongst the easiest of all to spot, filter out and delete. The advice is simple:

  1. Banks never communicate via email about your account(s). BIN ANY EMAIL RECEIVED.
  2. HMRC, TV Licencing will never offer a refund by email or ask you for financial details via email.  BIN ANY EMAILS RECEIVED.
  3. If you receive an email with an offer of a loan, cash if you act quickly – IT’S a scam.
  4. If an email offer sounds to good to be true, then it probably is.

If you receive an email offering any of the above follow two simple rules, check:

  • If the email starts with Hi, or Dear’s a SCAM.
  • Does the email have your name in the salutation? Does it say Dear Mrs Smith, if not IT’S a scam.

Always remain sceptical and if in doubt regardless of the content, call the company or organisation concerned to check.

If you receive an email that says you need to do something now, STOP and THINK, call the organisation concerned and above all WAIT,  especially if it’s a weekend. Nothing is so important that it needs immediate action.

Social Media.

The best method to deal with offers made via social media is to treat all offers as SCAM’s. Do not engage, comment, share or reply!

Text Messages.

Here again no organisations will request financial details via a text message, and that includes your mobile phone provider. You can ignore any such request and then forward any received message to 7726 and to 60599 it’s a tax or HMRC related text.

Telephone Calls.

If your anyone calls you claiming to be your Bank, Building Society, HMRC, TV Licencing, politely tell them that you’ll call them back and hang up. Don’t be tempted to take any contact number that they offer, find the phone number yourself and call them back.

Before calling back, make sure that you hear a dial tone. Criminals often stay on the line, let you dial the number to trick you into thinking that you’ve reached the right number.

The Microsoft Scam.

Ioften hear people saying that they’re on the phone to microsoft as there’s an issue with their PC. Don’t be fooled, JUST HANG UP.

Microsoft never capture on a new or old computer your home phone, email address or any other personal detail.

This scam is all about controlling your computer, scammers will ask you to download and install software that hijacks your computer, and will then use this to access your savings, personal details etc.

Best practice and advice.

Treat all conversations with organisations as potential scams.

  • Emails, check for a salutation. If in doubt, bin the email.
  • You can safely ignore social media adverts.
  • You can safely ignore text messages asking for financial information, or telling you to visit a website address.
  • If you receive a phone call, hang up, check for a dial tone, then call back (not 1471) use the number that you have found.

Keep safe!

Latest updates available here

Download the latest update here: WYTS weekly news alert issue 10 05.06.2020 (760KB)

Download the update 14 here: WYTS Weekly alert issue 14 03.07.2020