Some unsavoury characters see the coronavirus virus restrictions as an opportunity to make money at our expense. Here’s a guide to avoiding falling foul of any nefarious online behaviour.
With so much time on your hands, it’s easy to drop your guard and click on something dangerous. Adrian Aurelius, Chair of the NatWest Cymru Board, gives us some advice about what to look out for.
“We know scammers are using this current period of uncertainty to try and take advantage of the general public and their worries. We’ve seen an increase in criminals exploiting the coronavirus and using this as part of their scam tactics. Stay alert to any suspicious behaviour and remember to be vigilant against unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails about coronavirus from anyone.
“The bank will never ask you for your Pin, password, card-reader codes or ask you to move money from your account. Never download attachments, software or let anyone remotely log into your computer following a call or email you’ve received out of the blue.
“If you are ever asked to do any of these things, refuse and contact your bank using the telephone number on the back of your card or a number you trust. If possible, call back from a different phone or mobile.”
Here are five online scams to watch out for:
1. Fake Cures
Firstly, Emails claiming that a cure has been covered up by various governments might ask you to follow a link to receive more information. Do not do this as it’ll take you to a webpage that captures your bank log-in details.
2. World Health Organisation (WHO) Impersonation Emails
Secondly, Scammers are sending emails to look like they come from trusted organisations like the WHO. An attachment in the email claims to provide safety measures to combat coronavirus, but opening it infects your device with malware that monitors your online activity and captures your credentials.
3. Coronavirus Tax and Other Refunds
Criminals are bombarding mailboxes saying you’re entitled to a tax refund due to coronavirus, but it’s a trick. HMRC will never contact you by email to discuss tax refunds so don’t click or respond. If you receive an SMS from the ‘DVLA’ informing you that a vehicle tax refund from an overpayment was pending and to visit a ‘secure’ link to process it, ignore it. Report emails like this to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Purchase Scams
Watch out for communications advertising anything to do with coronavirus whether it’s for facemasks, vaccines or access to testing kits. Any deals that look too good to be true usually are. Some emails claim to be from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention or the WHO and request Bitcoin payments. You’ll be told that you’re donating towards a cure or paying for essential coronavirus information. These approaches are very likely to be a scammer trying to get their hands on your money or personal details.
5. Offers to Make Quick Money
There has been a huge increase in criminals trying to lure people into becoming money mules through ‘get rich quick’ offers. The personal consequences of allowing criminals to pay money through your account can be life-changing. Reject any offers of cash to let someone else use your bank account; it’s simply not worth it!
Check your bank or building society websites for more fraud and business security advice – be safe and always think twice before clicking on that link!
Finally, Thank you for reading ‘Five Online Scams to Watch Out For’. For more Covid-19 updates, click here.
For more scams, read up on Investopedia’s article here.