Common Coronavirus Scams to Avoid

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

As the virus remains prevalent in the UK so do scammers taking advantage of the pandemic and Leeds’ residents. So to help you avoid this, we’ve detailed some of the common COVID scams that are taking place right now and how you can avoid and protect yourself from them.

Vaccine scam emails

As we hear positive news about vaccinations, scammers are taking advantage of the vaccine rollout.

At the end of January, Action Fraud received a high volume of reports relating to a phishing email which attempts to trick people into handing over their bank details - it was reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours.

It appears to come from the NHS and asks the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details. You should never have to do this. 

The full link to the Action Fraud blog is here - where they tell you how to protect yourself and how you can report the cybercrime successfully.

Doorstepping scams

There are people calling door to door claiming to be carrying out COVID testing at your home for you on behalf of the NHS or your GP/doctors.

NHS teams are NOT conducting any door to door testing for the Coronavirus - these are thieves trying to get into your home. They are only doing door to door testing in areas with the new South African variant, Leeds is currently not one of these areas. If you require a test, go to your nearest testing site. Follow all government guidelines, which can be found here.

Tips to avoid scams

If you’re looking to get ahead of scams, there’s some easy steps you can take to avoid fraudsters:

  • Never click links in emails or provide your password to websites that are not secure, even if you think it will result in useful information. 
  • Do not believe in everything you read, but instead get your up-to-date coronavirus advice from official sources such as gov.uk and the NHS
  • Always check Action Fraud for the latest news on coronavirus fraudsters and other scams that are being used. 
  • If a firm calls you unexpectedly, use the contact details on the FCA register to check that you’re dealing with the genuine firm

Extra help

What’s really unfortunate is that these are scams that have just started happening recently; we only need to look back to last year with our previous coronavirus scams blog to see that this manipulative behaviour continues to go on. 

As such, for a few further tips for protecting yourself against scammers, watch out for:

  • Fake advertisements for protective masks
  • Fake advertisements for sanitising gel
  • Fake emails advertising or promoting vaccines
  • Criminals impersonating holiday or travel companies
  • Appeals from fake charities

Equally, if you need any extra financial help, advice or support, be sure to take a look at what’s on offer from Leeds Credit Union. We have a range of low-interest loans, savings products and more that can provide you with extra peace of mind with your money.