The devastating impact of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is being felt all over the world. Unfortunately, criminals are using this scam to target the public and vulnerable groups, as they seek to capitalise on the pandemic. The National Fraud Reporting Centre has reported new trend in scams relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19). General advice about new scams due to coronavirus can be found on the Citizens Advice website. Users can seek help via their online scams helper and register for email updates to find out about the latest scams. Help and information can also be obtained from the UK Government website.
Vulnerable populations such as the elderly are increasingly at risk. The most common scams centre on investment and pension scams. Help is provided for the elderly by Independent Age and Friends against Scams. Other scams come from fake news on the internet promoting remedies and cures and false advice around coronavirus. Scammers contact their victims also via texts, WhatsApp’s messages and emails as well as telephone calls. Before buying consumers are urged to check companies with the Financial Services Register.
Disabled people and people with special needs are also at risk. The Alzheimer’s Society has suggested that sufferers may be at increased risk due to being on the internet more than usual. They have provided a handbook and resources to help protect people suffering from Alzheimer from being scammed.
Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers newly arrived in the UK sometimes have limited English language skills and as a consequence are particularly vulnerable to these scams. In order to help these populations further a free resource has been provided by K International who have translated the most recent scams into 40 languages using the help of volunteers. Further help for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees can be accessed via the City of Sanctuary UK network, which is wide reaching throughout the whole of the UK.