Consumers warned to be aware of coronavirus scams | moneyfacts.co.uk

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 02/04/2020

UK Finance warned consumers to be on the lookout for text message scams sent by criminals looking to exploit the Coronavirus pandemic.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, criminals have been sending text messages impersonating well-known companies or organisations to trick consumers into giving away their personal and financial information or money. These scam text messages often come from Government departments, including the HMRC, as well as banks and other trusted companies, offering payments related to the Coronavirus outbreak or claiming to be issuing fines.

These types of texts, which are known as ‘smishing’, often include a link to a fake website that is designed to trick consumers into giving away their financial and personal information, such as bank details, passwords and credit card numbers.

As well as this, consumers should also be on the lookout for scams known as ‘spoofing’, in which a message appears in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from a trusted organisation.

UK Finance has urged consumers to avoid clicking on any links contained within text messages and to always log in to their bank account to update their information or make any legitimate payments.

Consumers who suspect that they have received a scam text can text send texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726. In addition to this, UK Finance is reminding consumers to follow the Take Five Stop Fraud campaign and to:

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 ok 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 to Action Fraud.

Commenting on criminals using the Coronavirus pandemic to target consumers, Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Criminals are callously exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud, including using scam text messages imitating Government departments, banks and other trusted organisations.

“We are urging consumers to remain vigilant and avoid clicking on links in any unsolicited text messages in case it’s a scam.

“It’s always safer to log into your bank account directly or contact the organisation on a trusted number or email such as the one on their official website.

“Always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information. If you receive a suspicious text message, report it to your network provider by forwarding it to 7726.”

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Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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