Beware of online scams during coronavirus crisis

Swansea residents warned about coronavirus-inspired scams

 

The Swansea Labour-led Council is warning residents to be extra vigilant against a number of scams which are circulating playing on people’s fears of the coronavirus.

Swansea Trading Standards is aware of criminals using people’s concerns about the pandemic, their personal health and their financial worries against them to try to con them out of money, their personal data or both.

People have been receiving emails claiming to be from TV Licensing claiming that the recipient’s direct debit has failed and they need to pay again to avoid prosecution.

In other cases people are getting unsolicited texts from criminals pretending to be a high street bank directing people to genuine-looking websites for a refund or to pay a bill.

Labour Cllr Mark Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure said: “We are in the middle of a pandemic and where most of us see an opportunity to support one another fraudsters see a chance to make money from worried householders.

“We need to be clear. Apart from scams seeking to harvest your money or your personal data, there’s people online wanting to sell you testing kits, a vaccine or some other Coronavirus miracle cure.

“Unfortunately, at the moment there is no vaccine and certainly no miracle cure. Don’t buy a testing kit. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because it is.”

Cllr Thomas said: “These scams are being done in a number of ways by telephone, text message and online. They will use many clever techniques to obtain details from potential victims.

“Ensure that if you receive anything like this you check the origins of the contact and stop and think are you expecting this contact.”

Rhys Harries, the Swansea Trading Standards team leader, said: “There are several ways you can protect yourself. If you are not sure of the sender or if the email looks suspicious do not respond or click on any of the links.

“If you are making an online purchase from a company or person you don’t know, if possible, do some research. And always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. If you have fallen for one of these scams contact your bank straight away.”

 

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