Coronavirus scams

Current scams to look out for

To learn more about the different types of scams visit Friends Against Scams.

Below are some of the known scams to look out for. 

HMRC tax refund

Messages and emails claiming to be from HMRC offering a tax refund due to changes in the law around Covid-19, you’re asked to click a link which takes you to a fraudulent website. If you receive a message like this, delete it immediately and do not click any of the links it contains.

Center for Disease Control or World Health Organisation

Messages and emails claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation offer you the chance to view a list of confirmed cases within your local area by clicking on a link or making a Bitcoin payment. These are a scam, delete them immediately and do not click on any of the links.

Virologist advice

Messages claiming to be from a virologist sending an attached document with instructions on how to avoid the Coronavirus. The attachment is malicious and should not be opened. Delete them immediately.

Online sales of face masks and hand sanitiser

Fraudulent online sales of masks and hand sanitiser which never materialise. If an online shopping offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. We’ve heard of shoppers being asked to send a direct payment, avoiding the use of secure payment facilities such as PayPal. The money is then unable to be returned when the buyer doesn’t receive the products

If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

Insurance or medical plans claiming to have a Coronavirus cure

Phone calls telling you that there are insurance plans or medical plans which will give you a cure to the Coronavirus / COVID19. These are a scam. Hang up the phone and do not engage with the caller.

Microsoft / BT notifications of a computer virus

Phone calls telling you that your laptop or network has a virus and that fraudsters are accessing your data. If you get calls like this, hang up and do not engage with the caller.

Unsolicited visitors offering free Coronavirus testing

Individuals are visiting people’s homes and offering free Coronavirus testing. Do not open your door to anyone that you don’t know and if they claim to be from a legitimate organisation, ask to see their ID before you even think about engaging with them.

Pension scams

The Financial Conduct Authority have guidance on how to look out for and avoid pension scams.

Travel disruption during the COVID – 19 pandemic

Have you been subject to flight cancellations or had your holiday cancelled as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic? Do you know what your rights are and how to go about seeking appropriate redress?

For more information and advice on your legal rights, you can visit the Advice Direct Scotland website. Alternatively, you can seek telephone advice by calling them on 0808 800 9060.