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The five common scams you need to watch out for now

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07/01/2021
The coronavirus pandemic has seen fraudsters come up with innovative ways to get Brits to part with their cash or personal details. Here are five doing the rounds now that you need to be aware of.

The lockdown in March saw scams rise 400% according to Action Fraud and people have to be more and more on guard when it comes to emails, messages and phone calls.

Jason Costain, head of fraud at NatWest, said: “You are now more likely to be a victim of fraud in the UK than any other crime. During last year’s lockdown criminals took advantage of more people working remotely and online. It therefore makes sense to take some simple steps to make yourself and your family more fraud proof.”

It has listed these five common scams to watch out for now:

1) Postal delivery scams

With more shopping taking place online criminals have been using fake DPD and Royal Mail emails to collect personal information which they then use to commit further fraud.

2) Purchase scams

Criminals follow the trend and will offer goods for sale that are in high demand. Customers have reported scams involving pets that don’t exist, games consoles, mobile phones and even hot tub scams and camper vans. If you see a good deal advertised via auction sites or on social media, be careful. Follow the payment advice on the website, ideally pay by MasterCard or VISA and definitely do not pay direct into someone’s bank account until you have taken delivery of the goods.

3) Coronavirus Vaccination scams

A phone call, email or text message is sent in an attempt to steal personal and financial details. The message contains a link to a fake NHS website with an application form to register for the vaccine asking for various personal and bank details to ‘confirm your address’. This information is then used by criminals to target your bank account.

4) Coronavirus tax refund

Criminals are bombarding inboxes with fake emails, texts and calls claiming entitlement to a support grant or tax-rebate due to coronavirus.

The aim is to get you to give them your personal details like your name, date of birth, address and sometimes even your payment card details, which they then use to steal your money. Report emails like this to report@phishing.gov.uk

Once criminals have your details, they will often call you, pretending to be from your bank’s fraud team, trying to persuade you to move your money to a ‘safe account’ or give away your card reader codes.

5) Offers to make quick money

There has been an increase in criminals trying to lure people into becoming money mules through ‘get rich quick’ job offers. If someone offers you money to use your bank account refuse and alert the police. The personal consequences of allowing criminals to pay money through your account can be life-changing and you may not be able to open a bank account again.

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