“I’m really worried about my elderly relatives and neighbours being targeted by coronavirus scams – are there any warning signs that I can tell them to look out for? What should they do if they think that something is a scam?”
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in scams since the beginning of the pandemic and they can be difficult to recognise. Many people have lost large amounts of money and have been left feeling devastated and vulnerable.
But there are things you can look out for –
* advertising for face masks or medical equipment at high prices
* emails or texts pretending to be from the government such as:
‘scammers targeting people on benefits by offering to ‘help’ them apply for interest-free government loans – once the scammers have the victim’s personal details they use them to apply for an advance loan of Universal Credit which the scammers take, causing the victim’s normal benefit payments to stop and leaving them with large loans to repay
* emails offering life insurance against coronavirus
* people knocking at your door asking for money for charity
* emails asking for donations to the NHS
and actions you can take to keep safe from all types of scam –
* don’t click on any links or buy anything if the email or text is from someone you don’t know
* don’t give money, personal or bank details to anyone you don’t know or trust especially cold callers
* if you feel threatened or unsafe report this to the Police immediately on 999.
If you or someone you know has been scammed, there are organisations you should report the scam to. Do not feel embarrassed about reporting a scam – scammers are clever and scams can happen to anyone. Reporting a scam helps track down and stop scammers. This prevents other people from being caught out.
If you would like to talk to someone about what has happened, ring our Local Enquiry Line on 01509 649 605 (Monday and Thursday 9.30am to 3pm and Tuesday 9.30am to 12 noon) or contact a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0808 250 5050 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).
For more detailed information search for scams on the Citizens Advice website: citizensadvice.org.uk and for information about Citizens Advice Charnwood, visit charnwoodcab.org.uk.