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Lockdown scams – the facts on the fiction

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With the nationwide lockdown in effect, we’re seeing a resurgence in some of the phishing scams that emerged during the first lockdown.

Some of these range from what some people may see as obvious scams through to harder to detect scams that have caught out many unsuspecting people.

This is purely informational, so if you know anyone who may be susceptible to scams, or may be a little too trusting, please feel free to share this around to help keep them safe. We’re all in this together.

Being contacted by a ‘government agent’ claiming to have information & secrets on the coronavirus

Sorry, but there aren’t any genuine government agents wanting to divulge top-secret covid information with you.

Being offered masks and/or face coverings that provide covid immunity

If these existed, don’t you think everyone would have one? Unfortunately, this is another scam that’ll leave you a few quid out of pocket.

Fake ‘test & trace’ contact

The NHS has already highlighted this one, but I think it’s important to share it. Genuine/official test & trace calls will come from 0300 013 5000 and you will not be asked:
• For your bank details
• For details about your social media accounts
• For a password or PIN
• To call back on a premium rate phone number
• To access a non-NHS or non-government website

Texts from ‘the government’ promising individual payouts

This is your typical ‘you are due £££ from the government’ text message, however its cleverly worded to sound like an individual grant from the government. Some include a link that will ask you for personal details, so please click the link or enter any of your personal information.

Texts from ‘the government’ claiming that you’ve breached isolation & are being fined for doing so

This one is particularly nasty (and a little bit convincing), as not only does it include the “Protect the NHS. Save Lives” tagline, it also includes a link disguised as a ‘gov.uk’ site, making it seem genuine.

You can rest assured that the government has better things to do than send you malicious texts for getting some fresh air.

With any of these phone scams, if you’re unsure as to whether or not its legitimate, there are a few resources you can use to check the phone number you’ve been called or texted from & see what other people are saying about it. These are: Who Called Me? and ShouldIAnswer? which both provide reverse phone number look-up & user reviews.

To all our readers – stay safe out there!

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