COVID-19 SCAMS: Authorities warn of surge in scams connected to the coronavirus

Authorities around the UK have warned the public about a deluge of scams relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) state they have witnessed a surge in scams. From doorstep to email and text scams, opportunists are sinking to new depths to defraud the public during the crisis.

One email and text based scam offers a bogus tax rebate from HMRC. This new scam claims that the government are offering lump-sum payments "as part of its promise to battle COVID-19". Each text specifies a particular sum and asks the recipient to tap the link to a bogus website which requests payment details from the recipient.

Another scam comes in the form of a text message (SMS) purporting to be from the government informing the recipient that they have been issued a fine for leaving the house during the lockdown. The message claims that the movements of the recipient are monitored through their phone, and must pay a fine.

The distressing texts are entirely fraudulent and an attempt by scammers to steal the credit card details of text recipients.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: "The list of new scams associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic grows by the day. I am appalled and infuriated at the ways unscrupulous individuals exploit this situation.

"We see new scams daily, and I would urge people to seek advice before replying to any messages they receive. This latest text scam issues a fake fine which tells the recipient to pay a fine or face more severe action.

"Anyone who receives this text should ignore it. It is simply another ruse to steal the payment details of users. In all of these cases, do not click, or tap any links that these messages ask you to."

Katherine Hart added in an earlier statement: "The government are not issuing lump-sum payments, and anyone who receives these texts should ignore them and not tap the link.“

Image credit (text message): CTSI

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