SECURITY & SAFETY ALERT: Watch out for Covid-19 scam messages and scammers .....
In light of the current unprecedented climate, we thought it would be useful to share some of the fraud scams going around.
While we (& our healthcare colleagues around the world) are working hard to save lives and protect our communities from the virus, a large number of fraudsters are capitalising on this time of uncertainty and fear and the number of fraud cases is rising.
Recently the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reported the new COVID-19 scam trend and updated figures show that since 1 February there has been 105 reports to Action Fraud with total losses reaching nearly £970,000. The first report relating to Coronavirus, or COVID-19, was received on 9 February. There were 20 more reports that month. Since then, there have been 46 reports between the 1 March and 13 March, and 38 reports in just four days (14 March – 18 March). According to Action Fraud, the majority of reports came from online shopping scams relating to face-masks, sanitiser and other in-demand products. Over 200 reports have also been received relating to phishing emails which aim to trick people into opening attachments that could lead to personal information being stolen.
Take care of your NHS ID badge; only wear it when on duty - we have heard that staff are being targetted for their badges as this gives people access to priority shopping etc
Action Fraud advise:
- Watch out for scam messages - Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details;
- Shopping online - If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. Where possible, use a credit card to make the payment, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases;
- Protect your devices from the latest threats - Always install the latest software and app updates to protect devices from the latest threats.
- Please be vigilant and avoid using links within texts and emails. Please go back to the source independently.
They are also aware of scams in relation to controlled drugs, prescription forms and sickness absence.
The Police warn over scammers posing as door to door COVID-19 testers
Following on from a few recent incidents in nearby counties, where suspicious characters have been posing as officials attempting to gain access to homes by saying they are COVID-19 testers. Staff and relatives are reminded to be extra vigilant during this time.
Scammers posing as coronavirus testers are trying to “cash in” on the crisis by targeting vulnerable people, police have warned. The police force have said they had reports that "individuals may be taking advantage of the vulnerable by posing as door-to-door coronavirus testers in order to gain access to people's properties".They said people should call them on 999 if anyone comes to their door and claims to be conducting virus tests.
Neither the police nor the NHS are conducting such tests.
The official police advice is:
- If someone knocks at your door claiming to be from a company or organisation, first check their ID.
- If you're not happy, don't let them in. Ask the person to wait outside, shut the door and contact the organisation by using a trusted method, and not the number on the back of their fake id card. If they're genuine, they'll understand."
- This does not stop at people offering testing it could be offering to clean your home or to fetch shopping for the housebound occupant. Do not hand over cash or reveal any personal details to house cold callers.
Should you witness an incident: Report to the Police on 999 or 101 if non urgent.