News / Common Scams and Fraud Alert

Common Scams and Fraud Alert

By Remy Hall on January 13, 2021

This post is to alert you to some increasingly common scams linked to the current pandemic. Please be aware since many of these are increasingly convincing and sophisticated. Below are just examples of some current scams. Please download ‘The Little Book of Big Scams’

This is an excellent resource to learn about how to avoid scams.

CORONAVIRUS SCAMS

Vaccine scam

A fake NHS text has been circulating telling people they're eligible to apply for the Covid-19 vaccine. The wording is as follows: 'we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine'. It then advises you to follow a link to get more information and 'apply'.

This URL takes you through to a very convincing fake NHS website that asks for your personal details - including bank and bank card details to check your identity.

A genuine NHS site would never ask for your personal and bank details and would never ask you to press a button on your keypad. Please do not fall for this scam. You do not pay for your vaccine.

Track and trace scam

A new telephone scam is coming to light .... callers contact residents saying they are from NHS Track & Trace, telling the resident that they have been in contact with someone suffering from Covid 19 and need to have a test sent out to them. This is swiftly followed with a request for the resident's bank details; the caller states that the test and results cost £500.

Please do not fall for this scam. If you need a test sent out to you because you are unable to attend a test site, this is done for free, both delivery and collection, followed up by the result.

Important! The NHS Test and Trace service will NOT: 

*ask for bank details or payments
*ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
*ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
*ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

Covid-19 doorstep scam

Be aware that opportunists and criminals can take advantage of older people who are self-isolating during this period of Coronavirus outbreak. There are people calling door to door claiming to be carrying out Coronavirus testing at your home for you on behalf of NHS or your GP.

NHS teams are NOT conducting any door to door testing for the Coronavirus - these are thieves trying to get into your home.

If anyone knocks on your door claiming to be conducting the tests, please call the police

Anyone being offered "kindness" by cold callers by way of running errands, collecting prescriptions and doing shopping should not accept services from strangers who may ask for cash up front, a credit card and its PIN, or gain trust simply to execute a more elaborate scam.

Other scams to watch out for:

TV licence scams

Fraudsters may look to exploit confusion around the licence fee change by contacting older people and asking them to “pay” for their new licence. No one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by a letter from TV Licensing and either claimed a free licence or agreed a payment plan.

Roofing scam

A lady in Berkshire was pursued over several days by a “roofing company” trying to persuade her to pay for scaffolding erection with a view to work on the roof and chimneys. Fortunately, the lady realised something was not right and refused to deal with them further before giving them any money. This lady was approached again by different men trying a different angle within a week!

It is best not to engage with callers either at the door or on the phone. If you do, it encourages them to try again another time, these addresses and phone numbers end up on “mugs lists” and are valuable to con people.

In both cases the con men were well presented, charming, fluent and had a good answer for everything. If you are concerned about damage to your home it is best to discuss this with family and work towards finding a reputable workman. Please don`t buy at the door.

Spoof HMRC phone calls

Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

  • Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by paying cash.
  • If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, deportation.
  • Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.
  • In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call at a later date.
  • If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment.

Oxford House Team