Many of us are on high alert for the different types of scams that fraudsters try and use to trick us. They unfortunately are eternally inventive to create new ways to take advantage of us. Here are some recent scams and resources to help you either report a scam or access support if you are a victim.
- Fake NHS Covid-19 PCR text
Scammers have been impersonating the NHS and sending texts claiming that the recipient has been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 and demanding they order a PCR test. The aim of this is to steal your personal data and bank details. Do not click on the link.
- Medical alert systems scams
People are phoned up and told they they might be entitled to a free medical alert button from Medical Alert Systems. The caller knows the name of the person and says that the offer is for vulnerable adults who are at risk of falls. This is a potential scam. Never give out personal details whether on the phone, or email, or text.
- Covid pass scam
Criminals are using the NHS Covid Pass as a way to target the public by convincing them to hand over money, financial details and personal information. They are sending imitation text messages, emails and making phone calls pretending to be from the NHS, and offering fake vaccine certificates for sale online and through social media.
Remember, the NHS app is free and the NHS Covid pass is free. The NHS will never ask for payment or financial details. The NHS will never issue fines or penalties relating to your Covid pass
- Fake E.ON email
Peope have been receiving an email from the energy company E.ON, allegedly offering a refund. It is a convincing email but it is fake. If unsure never click on any link but go to the website via your own search.
- Mobile messaging scam
A message is sent to mobiles, often via WhatsApp, by someone pretending to be their son or daughter and claiming they’ve lost their phone. Once the new number is saved, scammers then say they need money after an incident, hoping that the victim will trustingly hand over thousands of pounds and their financial details.
To avoid falling for the scam, WhatsApp users should follow the Stop, Think, Call method.
- Stop: Take time before you respond. Make sure your WhatsApp two-step verification is switched on to protect your account, that you are happy with your privacy settings.
- Think: Does this request make sense? Are they asking for money? Remember that scammers prey on people’s kindness, trust and willingness to help.
- Call: Verify that it really is your friend or family member by calling them directly, or asking them to share a voice note. Only when you are 100% sure the request is from someone you know and trust, should you consider it. If it turns out to be untrue, report it to Action Fraud.
- Fake NHS Covid pass email and texts
Scammers are still hoping to cash in on any confusion around the end of pandemic restrictions by sending out lookalike NHS-branded emails and texts that invite you to apply – and pay – for a NHS Covid pass. The messages attempt to get you to click through on a suspicious link that’s posing as the NHS via a subdomain. Please do not click on any suspicious links and remember that you will never be asked to pay for a Covid pass or booster jab.
- Pension pot scams
Scammers are exploiting pension reforms and the uncertainty created by the pandemic to trick them out of their life savings.
Because people now have the option to release their retirement savings, scammers no longer need to access the money directly from a pension scheme. Increasingly, scammers are persuading people to transfer their savings from the safety of established pension schemes into inappropriate or even non-existent investments.
* Be wary of free pension review offers. If you are contacted out of the blue about your pension, it’s likely to be a scam
* Check the FCA’s Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is authorised by the FCA. And only use the details provided on the FCA Register – not details a firm gives you, in case they are pretending to be an FCA authorised firm.
- Fake police calls
Watch out for fake calls (from a withheld number) by someone who says they’re a police officer, giving a name, police station and police ID, and claiming that you have been a victim or serious fraud on your bank account. One person was told by the fake police caller that they had arrested someone who had been using her bank card. He said that he didn’t want any card details but would put her on to a ‘secure line’ to her bank when she could give them the information they needed. He also gave her the name of the person they had in custody asking if she knew him or whether there was anyone in the household who knew him. This was a way of finding out about who she lived with.
Luckily the person became suspicious at the mention of ‘secure line’ and hung up!
NEVER give out your bank details, pin or transfer money.
These callers have no connection with the police. The police or your bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password, or to transfer money to another account to keep it safe.
Anyone who has given out their personal information to a caller they now think was a fraudster should contact their bank immediately.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website