Martin Lewis: Finance expert exposes ‘appalling’ coronavirus scams – be warned
Scammers have launched a wave of new tricks in a bid to exploit worried Brits during the coronavirus crisis. With an economic crisis already hitting the country, Martin Lewis’ team at Money Saving Expert have warned of new ways some are being scammed out of their money. One scam even involves using picture of Martin in a bid to trick people into ‘get rich quick schemes’. Martin has been clear in the past that he does not do adverts – meaning these are sick attempts to take money from vulnerable people across the nation.
As the Government attempts to develop a test and trace technology to advise people when they may have come in contact with the coronavirus, “appalling scammers” are using it as another opportunity to steal your personal information and money.
As Money Saving Expert highlights, Test and Trace texts will come from the NHS, and calls will come from 0300 0135000.
Contact tracers will ask for your full name, date of birth and postcode, and will offer you advice if you have come into contact with somebody who has coronavirus symptoms.
They will not ask for bank details, payments, social media information, passwords or to download anything.
Alongside this, there has been a rise in texts claiming to be from the Government.
Banking industry body UK Finance and communications regulator Ofcom are warning of scam texts from criminals claiming to be from official Government sources, issuing you a fake ‘relief’ payout or a fine for leaving your home.
Neither of these are genuine, so ignore and delete them, and as Money Saving Expert suggests, don’t click on the links sent by criminals.
UK Finance says criminals are also using a technique called ‘spoofing’, which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that organisation.
Martin Lewis and co also tell readers what to do if they have already been duped by a scammer, and their advice is simple.
Money Saving Expert says: “If you’ve already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.
“Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments.
“Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on its website.
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“If you wish to seek further advice, contact Citizens Advice Scams Action through the website, or call its online scams helpline on 0300 330 3003.
“Alternatively, you can contact the Financial Conduct Authority’s helpline on 0800 111 6768.”
But there are also ways to ensure you don’t end up in this unenviable scenario in the first place.
Money Saving Expert adds: “Every year, millions of people fall for scams sent through the post, by email, phone, text, in person or online. Don’t be fooled by professional-looking websites and marketing materials.
“Scammers are good at making their scams look authentic. If you’re asked to send money to someone you don’t know or have won a competition you didn’t even enter, stop!
“A perennial favourite is the email telling you you’re due a tax rebate. HMRC will never email or text you with this information, and have produced guidance on what’s genuine HMRC communication, and what’s fake.
“If you get a fake email, or a suspicious text message, voicemail or phone call either ignore it, or report it to HMRC.”
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