Coronavirus-related scamsFraudulent calls
They might relate to vaccines, immunity tests, mortgage payments, payment holidays or tax rebates. Fraudsters may even ask you to move your money to a ‘safe account’, giving them access to your money.
They also include fake government web pages and text messages – some encourage you to input banking or security and personal details in order to access payments and tax refunds.
We've also seen fake emails from the World Health Organisation claiming that an attached document shows how you can prevent the spread of the disease. Clicking on the attachment infects computers with malicious key-logging software, which records every keystroke and allows the attackers to monitor your every move online.
There are uninvited approaches of people offering IT help for people working from home with fraudulent intentions.
Some criminals claim to be from the Red Cross or the NHS and offer to take your temperature, do paid tests for the coronavirus or claim to sell things like protective face masks, vaccines and even hand sanitiser. Others just offer general help before stealing bank cards under the guise of doing shopping or collecting pensions.
It’s important not to let criminals rush or panic you into making a decision that you’d later wish you’d thought about for a bit longer . Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information, could keep you safe.
For more specific coronavirus-related scams information visit Take Five to Stop Fraud’s Covid-19 frauds and scams.
How you can stop fraud by taking fiveTake Five to Stop Fraud
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.
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 us immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud. Call us on 0800 121 8899. If you're calling from abroad: +4427 7655 5255
Find out more on the Take Five to Stop Fraud website.
Identity theftAbout identity theft
Keep your personal information and documents safe - shred them after use rather than just throwing them away.
Be suspicious if anyone asks for your personal details and don’t write your security details down.
Always question any uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Remember to check your account statements carefully, for unusual activity.
Suspicious phone callsAbout suspicious phone calls
You might get a phone call from a fraudster claiming to be from your bank, building society, HMRC, the Police or other 'law enforcement agencies'.
Their aim is to steal account security information or deceive you into giving them money.
If someone's called you unexpectedly, be very wary of giving them any personal information such as your name, address or account details.
Our Customer Service Centre number won’t be displayed if we need to call you. This is to prevent fraudsters pretending to be us and trying to get your personal information.
If you're called unexpectedly by someone who says they're phoning about your Coventry account, ask for the caller's full name, job title and department. Then end the call and call us on 0800 121 8899.
To be sure that the line is clear, use a different phone to call us, or call a friend before you call us to avoid reconnecting to the fraudster.
Remember, never give out your full security details over the phone - we'll only ever ask you for selected characters from your passwords and Grid Card.
Postal scams and junk mailAbout postal scams and junk mail
You can remove your name and address from most direct mailing lists by registering with the Mailing Preference Service. It’s easy to set up – just go to their website.
Remember you can’t win a prize if you haven't entered. Never send money to someone you don’t know – you shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize.
If it’s from a charity, check they are registered. If you haven’t heard of the organisation contacting you, check them out.
If in doubt – bin it.
Rogue tradersAbout rogue traders
A trader turns up on your doorstep unannounced to get business from you. They usually give you a quote for work you may not even need doing and often at a higher price than you should pay.
They’re often unpleasant and use threatening high pressure tactics to get you to commit to buying their goods and services. Some will demand payment before they start, or before they’ve finished the work and never come back to finish the job. They may not even be properly qualified to do the work.
Never agree to work being done on the spot. If someone knocks on door and tells you, 'you need work doing' – roof tiling, exterior painting, gutter repair – just say no. Be firm, they may not want to take ‘no’ for an answer.
If you know you need some work carried out, shop around – get a minimum of three quotes from reputable local traders. Ask friends for recommendations – it’s the best way to get someone you can trust to do the job.
Don’t take money out for them – if they offer to go with you to get cash out, refuse!
Have you been approached by a rogue trader? Then contact Trading Standards. Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
If you feel like you're in danger call the police.
Investment fraudAbout investment fraud
Someone encourages you to invest money in a scheme, but it turns out to be worthless or non-existent. You could lose your hard-earned savings, so always be cautious.
Investment fraud comes in many forms, but there’s usually one common promise when someone is encouraging you to invest in a new scheme. They’ll say you'll get a high return with little or no risk to your money. They’re usually time-limited offers, and they encourage you not to share with anyone.
All investments carry an element of risk – it’s worth remembering that even genuine investment opportunities, with the potential of high returns, carry a high risk.
Be especially cautious if the contact is uninvited and it’s through a cold call, email or letter you didn’t expect. Authorised firms aren't likely to contact you in this way.
Don’t be pressured into making a quick decision. Consider taking independent professional financial advice before making any kind of investment decision, especially if the type of investment isn’t familiar to you.
Holiday fraudAbout holiday fraud
Fraudsters could offer flights, accommodation and other travel services that just don’t exist. They may have set up a completely fraudulent website, or it can be just a fraudulent advert on a genuine site.
They may encourage you to pay for your holiday away from the site for a discount. They’ll often ask for a direct bank transfer and may even send a confirmation email to make it all look genuine.
Make sure your booking is confirmed by a consumer protection scheme such as ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and/or ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License). Don’t rely on seeing their logo, check membership on the ABTA or ATOL’s website.
Research any property before you book. Check listings on other sites and be cautious if prices differ significantly.