CRIMINALS have conned people out of almost five million pounds through scams related to the coronavirus outbreak.
From fake couriers pretending to be the police, to a rise in online shopping scams, more than two thousands people have been victims, Action Fraud has confirmed.
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The organisation said a total of £4.7million has reportedly been lost by over 2,057 victims, which is roughly £2,190 each.
This includes 11,206 reports of coronavirus-related phishing emails, from criminals using the virus to con people to give away their money.
While there are always scams to be aware of, because we’re all spending so much more time at home because of the coronavirus lockdown, Action Fraud says it’s seen a rise in online fraud.
In April it said fake government scams were circulating to do with tax refunds and council tax payments.
While at the start of the lockdown, a Sun investigation found 16,000 internet-domain names had been set up with the intention of conning unsuspecting members of the public.
It has now listed the seven most common types of scam it’s seen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic
The seven most common coronavirus scams
Action Fraud said it’s seen a rise in people carrying out courier fraud, whereby criminals will come to your door to try and scam you.
It usually involves the criminal pretending to be from the police or another trusted organisation such as your bank.
They will come to your door and attempt to get you to hand over your bank details or your cash, if you have any at home.
As so many more of us are at home, due to the lockdown, we are also using online shopping more than we normally would.
This is because trips to the shops have only been for essential items, and even now the restrictions are being lifted slightly, many people aren’t able to leave their house because they are shielding.
If you buy something from a seller online, and it doesn’t arrive, this is a form of online shopping fraud.
Computer software fraud
There’s no IT desk at home so we’re all having to deal with technical problems on our own, and this includes security.
Action Fraud is warning people to be wary of cold calls or unsolicited emails from people offering to help with computer problems.
Lender loan fraud
The coronavirus has had a huge impact on the finances of millions of people, and as a result lots of us are feeling worried and anxious about this and could be more susceptible to fraud.
Those who carry out “lender loan” fraud are using the outbreak to tell people they can approve loans without seeing their credit history, asking for upfront fees for loans, or taking a payment for a loan but not actually giving them the loan.
Pension liberation and investment fraud
The coronavirus may be an opportunity for criminals to get hold of your life savings or retirement fund through fake investment opportunities.
If you’re called or emailed with an offer that sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
Another way fraudsters are using the outbreak to try and con more people is through mandate fraud.
This is when a criminal will persuade you to change a direct debit, standing order, or bank transfer mandate in order to transfer your cash to their account.
More than 10,000 phishing emails have been reported to Action Fraud so far, with relation to the virus.
These can be for a variety of reasons but usually trick those opening them into clicking malicious links which could lead to criminals stealing their personal details.
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