COVID-19 Scams – What to do if you’ve been a victim
Coronavirus-related scams are estimated to have already cost people over £1.5million in financial losses, as criminals try to trick people in to parting with money or financial details on the back of the pandemic.
Our round-up of the latest COVID-19-related scams showed how criminals are posing as trusted sources to try to commit identity and financial fraud.
Being the victim of a scam leaves many feeling embarrassed but you have no reason to feel ashamed in any way – scammers spend hours researching their scam to make it as believable as possible and it’s often difficult to tell that something is a scam.
If you or someone you know has had fraud committed against you, there are a number of steps you should take.
Gather all the details as soon as it happens
- Who you have spoken to – gather names, numbers, addresses and websites if you have them;
- why you’re suspicious of the person/company/service – try to capture as much detail as you can;
- the information you’ve given – such as passwords, PINs, bank details and your location; and
- if you’ve paid any money and if so, how you paid it – this could be through credit card, bank transfer, PayPal or cash.
Report it to the Police and/or Action Fraud
Reporting the scam will both help track down the scammer and stop others from being scammed too. Even if fraud wasn’t ultimately committed against you, notifying police of a scam you’ve seen will help stop others from becoming victims.
If you feel unsafe and have received threats, always call 999.
If you know that the scammer is in your area or you’ve given money to them within the last 24 hours, call 101.
Otherwise, report to Action Fraud – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.
Action Fraud can give you a crime reference number and ask the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to examine the information given. Crime reference numbers enable you to keep up-to-date with progress on your case and are useful for dealing with your bank and insurance companies about any fraud.
You can report a scam to Action Fraud by:
- Telephone: 0300 123 2040
- Textphone: 0300 123 2050
- Or through their website
Tell the company or person who is being impersonated
Get in contact with the real person or company to tell them that their name is being wrongly used – this will help them make customers aware, so they can be more vigilant.
Some scams can involve people you know having their email or social media accounts hacked, which criminals then use to pose as them and ask you for money.
If anyone you know asks you for money, contact them on another platform to see if its really them and let them know they are being impersonated.
Scammed by post?
If you have been scammed by post, or if you’re worried that a piece of post might be a scam, you can send it to Freepost Scam Mail (no further address needed) – but make sure to include the envelope it came in and a filled-out scam report.
Download a scam report here: https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/303
Alternatively, you can contact Royal Mail and ask for a form and a pre-paid envelope.
- Telephone: 0800 011 3466
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like any crime, scams can leave you feeling vulnerable and scared, but Voice can help you to come to terms with those feelings before helping you to recover and move on.
However you’re feeling, talk to us today.