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COVID-19 related scams and price increases

Beware of scammers who are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus scams 

Please beware of scammers who are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. The most vulnerable in our communities are at risk, so please follow our advice here to stay safe.

Scams include:

  • pretending to be NHS staff and offering to go to the shops for a payment, or seeking donations to fund a vaccine

  • offering to go shopping for older people as a means to get and keep their money

  • selling fake tests for the virus

  • some parents have received an email stating the following: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’.

There are also emails attempting to trick people into opening attachments that can harm your computer or revealing personal and financial details.

Examples include:

  • a text message claiming to be from GOV.UK stating ‘Enter Your Post Code to Apply for COVID-19 Relieve'
  • a so-called urgent text to say the UKGOV has issued a payment to all residents as part of its promise to battle COVID-19
  • emails from scammers claiming to be from research organisations affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisations (WHO), offering people a list of coronavirus-infected people in their area via a link leading to a bogus website, or requesting payment in Bitcoin.

Do not to click on links or attachments in suspicious emails. Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Do not let strangers into your home, particularly at this time of self-isolation and social distancing.

If you have been a victim of a scam, or believe someone is trying to scam you, you should report it immediately to Citizens’ Advice.

Price increases by businesses

Unfortunately, a small number of retailers are trying to profit from COVID-19.

You can report unfair behaviour such as:

  • unfair prices
  • misleading claims about products or services
  • problems with the cancellation, refund or exchange of products.