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‘Abhorrent’ coronavirus tax rebate scam warning

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18/03/2020
Unscrupulous scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic as a way to make money.

Emails claiming to be from the government offering tax rebates to support people throughout these unprecedented times are doing the rounds, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has confirmed.

The emails, which look official, inform the recipient of the rebate amount and request they click a link to receive it.

They’re then asked to fill in personal details, including their credit card number and address. These details allow the scammer to take money directly from the recipient’s bank account.

Another email claiming to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) tells recipients it holds crucial coronavirus safety advice and invites them to download a keylogger. This then allows scammers to follow the online movements of the user, and gain access to their device and personal details.

Citizens Advice has launched advice on coronavirus scams and has a scam checker tool.

CTSI chief executive, Leon Livermore, said: “It is abhorrent that unscrupulous individuals are using this difficult time as an opportunity to immiserate others further. Consumers should now be extra vigilant, and aware of these new scams that take many forms. The general rule of scams applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

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