Fraudsters are sending text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering the opportunity to sign up for coronavirus vaccinations. The texts will include a link to an online form prompting to input personal and financial details. Be cautious because this can often look very similar to the real NHS website, but the NHS will never ask for payment details. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.
NHS Test and Trace scams
Criminals are calling, texting and emailing people to ask for personal or bank details via a fake version of the Test and Trace website. Don’t click on any link given to you and instead type the URL into your browser or google it: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk
The NHS will never ask you:
- to make a payment or purchase a product
- for bank account details, passwords or PINs
- for your social media details
- to download software or give control of your device
- ask for your bank account or card details
- ask for your PIN or banking passwords
- arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
- ask for documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or utility bills
As lockdown eases, thousands of us are looking to get away and book holidays. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this by setting up fake Airbnb accounts and motorhome and caravan listings, offering refunds on cancellations, and promising ‘too good to be true’ package deals. The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign has guidance on how to spot and avoid these scams.
Ignore text messages from the government claiming to be fining you for leaving the house. There’s often a link to a fake gov.uk website where you can ‘appeal’ and enter your details to get the money back. Fraudsters can embed themselves in message chains so it looks like it’s really from gov.uk, but you can check by calling your local council.
HMRC relief scams
Fraudsters are sending texts supposedly from HMRC offering relief money to help those in need. There is a link to a fake website where you can apply for the relief money, and where you must enter your personal and financial details. If you receive anything like this, report it to email@example.com.
Health information scams
Be suspicious of unexpected emails from the NHS and the World Health Organisation claiming to offer help and advice. Don’t click links or open attachments - these may contain malware and attempt to gain your personal and financial details.
When stock markets become volatile, many people look for more sensible or guaranteed-return investments – and many fraudsters take advantage of this. Be suspicious of investments that sound too good to be true – even green or ethical investments. Check the investment service provider is regulated on the FCA register and confirm the company exists on Companies House. Before transferring any money, call the organisation on the number published on the FCA register to ensure the investment is legitimate.
Good Samaritan scams
Many of us have offered our neighbours help with grocery and pharmacy deliveries. Be careful what information you post online like in Facebook groups or Nextdoor app – fraudsters trawl online platforms for data like name, address, email, phone number, place of work, health issues, date of birth. They use these details to target or impersonate people to commit fraud.
Fake websites selling face masks and hand sanitizer
If you’re buying from a company or person you don’t know and trust, do your research first – look for reviews, check Companies House, and ask a friend. Don’t enter payment details into a website that isn’t secure (check the website address in your browser starts ‘https’). More on shopping online safely.
Fake charity appeals and crowdfunders
There are many worthy causes to support at this time, but be sure you are sending your money to the right organisation and not a fraudulent account. Whether donating to a charity or through a crowdfunding site, check the website address in your browser window and research the company to ensure it’s not a scam. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation.
As a rule, be suspicious of unexpected emails, automated messages, texts, deliveries and other door visits, especially where you are asked to give personal or financial details. If in doubt, call the organisation on its published number.
We're dedicated to protecting your account and personal details – and you’ll find lots of information on our website about how to spot suspicious activity, how fraudsters can access and use your data, and how to keep yourself safe.
If you suspect fraud, call us immediately on 0330 355 0355. We're here 24/7 for debit card support and 8am-6pm weekdays, 10am-4pm weekends for other fraud queries. If abroad, call +44 (0)1179 739339. Calls may be monitored for training purposes.
We’re here for you
We completely appreciate that this is already a challenging time for all of us, and we believe it’s important in this time that we look after each other.
We want to reassure you that in these unsettling times we’re here for you, providing help where we can.
If you have any concerns or questions, you can contact us or visit our Coronavirus support page, which we’re updating as the situation develops.
Be fraud aware
Explore our information and advice about fraud and how to keep your money safe.