Scams are one of the most common types of crime in the UK, and covid-19 can create opportunities for fraudsters to exploit it.
Most scams are opportunistic and target people who they think are more susceptible to be scammed, particularly in the current climate with more of us being at home.
Some of the main tactics being used are:
- Emails, texts or WhatsApp: claiming to be from big companies such as banks, bill operators and other providers – asking for you to transfer money or verify details
- Cold calls: from individuals pretending to be authority figures – including the police or your bank – asking you to transfer money or hand over your account details/pin code
- Doorstep scams: people offering to go shopping for someone who is self-isolating, or knocking on doors offering to take your temperature to test for coronavirus in exchange for money
- Loan fee fraud: scammers ask you to hand over an upfront fee (usually between £25 and £450) when applying for a loan or credit that you never get
- Good cause scams: an investment is sought for good causes, such as the manufacture of personal protection equipment (PPE) or new drugs to treat coronavirus. They’ll of course promise high returns on any investment too
- Subscription account scams: subscription products advertised that don’t exist or providers contacting you to claim that one of your accounts has been hacked and asking for your details so they can rectify the issue.
It’s important that you stay vigilant and check before giving out any of your personal or financial details.
Here’s a few ways to protect yourself:
- Never give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details) over the phone or email
- Reject offers that come out of the blue, and remember – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored online adverts
- Do not click on links or open emails from senders you don’t already know
- Do your research and be aware of where you buy your products from
- Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision, especially when you are being asked for money
- If a company contacts you out of the blue use the Financial Services Register and Warning List to check who you are dealing with.
If you would like more information on how to protect yourself against fraud, our useful information page provides links and resources about staying vigilant against bogus calls and scams.
If anyone knocks at your door saying they are from Catalyst, they will always show their ID. If you’re still unsure, close the door and ask them to wait while you phone our contact centre to make sure.