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10 biggest Covid-19 scams

3 August 2020

UK Finance has unveiled the 10 biggest Covid-19 scams as part of its anti-fraud campaign, amid a rise in the number of fraudsters seeking to take advantage of recent events.  

The trade association warned that scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to exploit people who are worried about their financial situation and the state of the economy.

The range of scams extends from those urging people to take advantage of the financial downturn and invest their money to emails impersonating well-known subscription services duping people into disclosing personal details as well as money.

UK Finance identified four Covid-19 financial support scams the public should be on high alert for, including fake government emails offering grants of up to £7,500; access to Covid-19 relief funds; fraudulent emails offering a council tax reduction; and the offer to help people apply for Universal Credit.

Scammers have also devised health scams, the most notable purporting to be from the NHS Test and Trust service, designed to steal personal and financial information.Victims are also being targeted by fake adverts for Covid-related products such as hand sanitizer and face masks which do not exist, UK Finance warned.

There have also been a number of ‘lockdown scams’. The four leading scams include fake emails pretending to be from TV Licensing, other emails urging people to update their payment details from various online TV subscription services, fake online dating profiles, and the advertisement of false investment opportunities encouraging victims to take advantage of the financial downturn.

To increase awareness around the different ploys used by scammers, UK Finance has launched a new animation video urging people to follow the advice of its Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. The campaign calls for people to take a moment to stop and think before parting with their information or money as well as challenge requests.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime, UK Finance, said: “During this pandemic we have seen criminals using sophisticated methods to callously exploit people’s financial concerns, impersonating trusted organisations like the NHS or HMRC, to trick them into giving away their money or information.

“The banking and finance industry is tackling fraud on every front, investing millions in advance technology to protect customers and working closely with the government and law enforcement to stop the criminal gangs responsible and neutralise the threat.

“We would always urge people to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep their money and personal information safe from fraudsters.”

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