Category: Coronavirus

Coronavirus Vaccine Payment Scam

The Coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out across the United Kingdom and many other countries and it will save a lot of lives.

Some scammers see this as an opportunity to take advantage of people’s fear, to steal from them.

The most common scam is where they contact people and offer the vaccine but take a payment in cash or by card. Once they have your card details, they may empty your account.

In the UK, all Covid-19 vaccinations are carried out by the NHS and there is never any charge for this. Even if the premises is a private company e.g. ASDA supermarket pharmacy – there is no charge.

You may be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. 

– The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

– NHS staff do not arrive on your doorstep offering vaccines for payment.

– The NHS do not ask people to prove their identity by means of driving licence, passport etc.

Take care.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Fake Covid-19 Test Offers

Organisations are in the difficult position of trying to keep their business running while maintaining the safety of staff and customers in a world of Coronavirus.

Many scammers want to take advantage of the fear and difficulties around this and offer fake solutions – PPE that doesn’t exist or is not fit to use, fake ways to spot the virus, fake treatments, fake tests and more recently fake vaccines.

One latest email offers:-

“Fortunately, however, you can now use a test which can deliver results within 15 minutes; a test which is increasingly being used by companies across the country. “

“Our test will confirm if COVID-19 is present in the individual before any symptoms are revealed.  It has an accuracy rate of over 99% and requires no specialist equipment.”

The email address for information etc. is info @deosgroup.co.uk but this is actually a link to sptr.eomail6.com/hsdjkfhaskdhfkahdfkhadfkadksdfadakdadadadasd which is obviously fake.

Do not buy anything to do with Coronavirus precautions, equipment, tests etc. except from accredited sources.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email

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Online Fraud and Coronavirus in Scotland

Fraud in Scotland soared by 56% during the Spring/Summer lockdown, largely caused by criminals pretending to be NHS workers calling or visiting people.

There has also been a large number of fraudulent applications for UK government grants.

The criminals most commonly pretend to be officials of NHS Test and Protect. Some go door to door offering Coronavirus tests or collecting donations or offering to spray paths and driveways with anti- bacterial sprays etc.

This is all fake – you do not have to pay for Coronavirus tests (as long as you have symptoms or have been referred for a test by an official or a health worker).

The door-to-door activities are always fake – NHS Test and Protect staff will not turn up at your door unless they are tracking down contacts – and there is no charge involved in that.

As for spraying driveways and similar – this is just preying upon people’s fears and offers no benefit except to the scammer taking your money.

Callers

Criminals also called people’s homes, telling them they had to isolate for 14 days as they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. The caller says they’ll send a home test kit and asks for bank details. Again, Covid tests are always free of charge.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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New York Coronavirus Frauds

By mid-summer, Americans had lost an estimated $145 Million to Coronavirus Fraud and more than 200,000 complaints of scams and fraud had been filed according to the Federal Trade Commission.

These scams are typically:

  • Fake products e.g. torches that supposedly shine light to destroy all viruses and bacteria but are just blue light which has no effect or PPE that is such poor quality as to be useless
  • Fake services e.g. people turning up at your door offering to sanitise your driveway for a high price
  • Fake tests i.e. fake versions of the real Coronavirus tests used by health professionals, but these ones do not work.
  • Fake claims for government help e.g. the companies that offered to make hospital ventilators and took payment for them but had no clue how to make them
  • Fake offers to businesses of loans to help them over Covid-19 restrictions

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, government and the authorities have been working hard to offer stimulus packages, business support grants and loans, plus various job retention schemes and direct help for the public.

Unfortunately, the speed of response has left loopholes which scammers are quick to exploit and they also seek to benefit from fear of the virus by offering products that don’t work and pointless services supposedly to protect people. The authorities have confiscated and prosecuted numerous criminals for trying to sell unauthorised Coronavirus tests and fake cures.

Some of the frauds are simple phishing exercises – intended to get your personal information that can be sold to identity thieves. The scammers simply use Coronavirus therapies or cures as bait for the scam.

The general advice from the authorities is to beware cold callers, spam emails and anyone offering anything to do with Coronavirus that is not certified.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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National Crime Agency and Covid

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a new initiative, bringing law enforcement and government together with the private sector to tackle criminals seeking to exploit the COVID-19 crisis for financial gain.

The new ‘OTELLO COVID-19 Fusion Cell’, led by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and co-sponsored by the private sector, brings together experts from across sectors – including the financial sector, insurance companies, trade bodies, law enforcement and the wider public sector.

The Cell aims to rapidly share information on changes to the economic crime threat related to COVID-19 and to proactively target, prevent and disrupt criminal activity, protecting businesses and the public.

There is concern that criminals are using the pandemic as a hook to harm vulnerable people for financial gain or to continue illicit activity. Whilst the overall level of fraud being reported has not significantly increased, there has been a noticeable shift towards scams directly linking to Coronavirus.

More people working from home and an increase in online activity has left both businesses and people vulnerable to scams. Lockdown has also changed the way people conduct their lives and business, with an increase in mobile banking, e-payments and cash stockpiling.

The Fusion Cell will work in partnership with industry to identify new trends and threats and decide on the most appropriate way to tackle it, building on the expertise of both the public and private sectors.

The Cell produces a weekly public/private threat dashboard, to inform areas for proactive tactical development and disruptive action.

Insight from developing the Fusion Cell has the potential to inform a longer term ambition to develop the capability to spot and stop economic crime before it happens, with real-time insight and disruptive activity through public-private data sharing

If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.

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Pharmacist and Surveyor Fake Coronavirus Tests

There are unscrupulous people who sell fake coronavirus tests. They know the tests are either entirely bogus or so unreliable as to be worse than useless. These can lead to people risking their lives if they believe they are immune to the virus but that’s not the case.

A pharmacist and a surveyor have been arrested for illegally selling coronavirus testing kits.

National Crime Agency officers arrested the pharmacist from Croydon and seized around £20,000. He was arrested under the Fraud Act 2006 after making false and misleading claims about the tests’ capability.

In a separate investigation, a surveyor from Uxbridge was stopped while driving his car. Inside the vehicle were 250 Covid-19 testing kits. He was arrested under the Fraud Act 2006 after making false and misleading claims about the capability of the tests.

He told investigators he was planning on selling the kits to construction workers.

Nikki Holland, NCA Director of Investigations, said: “Criminals capitalise on fear and anxiety and they will exploit any opportunity, no matter how awful, to line their pockets.

Tariq Sarwar, Head of Operations for Enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: “We are committed to working together with law enforcement to protect public health and prevent unsafe medicines and medical devices getting to the public.

There are no certified coronavirus tests for sale in the UK for home use so if any are offered to you then they are illegal and a health risk and this should be reported to the Police.

Also, the Police encourage the public, and healthcare professionals, that if you spot any posts claiming to sell these types of products, these can be reported to us via the Yellow Card Scheme: https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.

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