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Coronavirus and fraud

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is urging the public to be aware that criminals are using the coronavirus pandemic to scam the public.

Criminals are experts at impersonating, they spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

Common scams

The NCA reports current scams include online shopping (for protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products) where goods never arrive and fake COVID-19 testing kits being offered for sale.

Criminals are also using government branding to try to trick people, including impersonating HMRC to make false offers of financial support through unexpected emails, phone calls and text messages.

Some websites, emails or phone numbers can look like they’re part of an official government service - but they can be fake. If you're unsure, please do not respond.

Do not:

  • give out private information (such as bank details or passwords),
  • reply to text messages,
  • download attachments,
  • click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.

What you can do

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it.

Follow NCA advice

Please follow NCA advice to make sure you don’t become a victim.

Booklet of scams

Nearly a third of all fraud is committed over the phone, and so the police are asking people to read their Booklet of phone scams, to raise awareness of the ways in which scams can be carried out over the phone.

More information

There is more information about avoiding and reporting scams on the government's website