Lock out scammers during Covid-19 lockdown

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the response to coronavirus by duping the public into handing over personal information including financial details.

Scam.

That’s the warning from Lincolnshire County Council, as scammers are actively trying to exploit people during the coronavirus lockdown.

Matt Drury, Principal Investigator from the council’s counter fraud team said: “We know that scammers have tailored their activity in light of the coronavirus outbreak and are playing on people’s fears and financial concerns.

“We are seeing more ‘phishing attacks’ where bank account details or sign-in information is stolen.

“This is carried out through encouraging the recipient to visit fake websites promising tax refunds and even a recent attempt encouraging parents to claim refunds for school meal payments.

“We’re now seeing scams where people are being told they have been fined for leaving the house. This is designed to obtain personal or financial details.”

Lincolnshire’s Trading Standards team is also warning about people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Andrew Turner, Scams Awareness and Prevention Officer from Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “We’re seeing new false online suppliers targeting both organisations and residents in Lincolnshire offering items in high demand such as hand sanitiser and face masks. But also, many new fake online retailers for a range of products – exploiting the increase in online shopping. Please use trusted and reputable suppliers.”

Similarly there are people impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.

Councillor Alex Maughan, Lincolnshire County Council’s Counter-Fraud Champion said: “During these times where we are seeing the best in many people who are volunteering and looking after loved ones, it’s horrible to think that we are also seeing the worst in others.

“Please be extra vigilant when you see claims about coronavirus, or if you see others sharing information which may be false.

“The best way to check is with the official government and council advice which you can access on our website.”