The current coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on our finances. Many of those with investment portfolios will have seen their value fall over the last few weeks, whilst others will have difficulty contacting their bank as the number of people seeking support rises. Sadly, fraudsters are taking advantage of this and a number of scams have been reported. It’s important to remain vigilant to protect your savings.
Covid-19 has been affecting our economy for just a few months but the number of reported scams is already staggering.
At the end of March, Action Fraud reported there had already been over 100 cases of Covid-19 related fraud cases, with total losses of around £970,000. The first coronavirus report was received by the organisation on 9th February, just weeks after the first case was confirmed in the UK.
Scams using coronavirus are a mix of new types of activity and adapted previous techniques to try and part you from money. With uncertainty, fraudsters are taking advantage of people feeling nervous about their future and finances to spread misinformation.
In a statement, the Financial Conduct Authority said: “A major event like coronavirus can initiate new types of scam activity. You may have already seen reports of fraudulent activity around the sale of face masks and hand sanitizer.
“When it comes to financial services, the scam activity is more nuanced and often appears after the initial shock of a major event. With this in mind, we are urging consumers to be vigilant for scams that could appear over the coming months.
“Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try to get personal details or money from victims in many ways. They tend to target people who are more vulnerable or susceptible to being scammed, particularly in the current climate with many more people being at home.”
What scams are fraudsters using?
There are numerous types of scams but some of the ones to keep in mind at the moment are:
On top of this, the usual tactics that fraudsters use are still prevalent. This may include receiving a call from someone claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about a rebate, emails regarding TV licences, offers of a ‘pension review’ and cold calls from supposed financial services firms. Taking advantage of the difficulties getting through to some organisations during these unprecedented times, scammers hope that you’ll be more willing to engage with them, providing a foothold for accessing your data.
6 ways to protect yourself from scams
If you’re worried about your finances in the current climate, including if you’ve been contacted and aren’t sure if it’s a scam, please get in touch.
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