COVID-19: Related scams

COVID-19 related scams

Some people are using the pandemic to take advantage of others. It is essential that you remain vigilant to protect yourselves from scammers, both on the doorstep and online. If you receive suspicious emails or communications, ignore, delete and report to Actionfraud or call 0300 123 2040. We are aware of the following coronavirus scams:

  • Callers pretending to be from the NHS Test and Trace service, asking for payment for tests or trying to take personal, financial details from you.  If you are unsure the call is valid, you can hang up and dial 119 or the helpline number 020 3514 3817. If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, you will never be asked:
    • to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
    • to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
    • for any details about your bank account
    • for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
    • for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
    • to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
    • to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
    • The contact tracers will never disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts. They will also not provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms.
  • Businesses applying for any kind of grant through the Council, please be aware we will never ask for your bank details over the phone. If you receive a call asking for any kind of financial information, hang up immediately, make the Council aware and report to Action Fraud.
  • An email scam claims to be from the government offering a tax rebate in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic and asking you to enter bank details. Genuine emails from government will never ask for your bank details.
  • An email scam claims to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The email, which claims to hold crucial coronavirus safety advice, has an attachment which downloads a keylogger, allowing scammers to follow the online movements of the user, and gain access to their device and personal details.
  • Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.
  • An email claiming to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account. 
  • A flyer circulating through doors requesting food donations for YMCA foodbanks. The YMCA has not been involved in this initiative.
  • Some fraudsters are calling residents and claiming to work for the Council, or other local organisations, and say that the resident is on a shielding list. The caller then asks the resident if they need help with food deliveries or shopping and asks for the resident’s bank details.  While we do call shielded residents to ask if they have any shopping or food needs, this service is free and no Council officer will ever ask for your bank details.

Some bogus online suppliers have been offering products in high demand such as hand sanitiser without delivering the goods. Trading Standards officers are aware of price inflation and unclear price marking within some businesses. Trading Standards can enforce against misleading pricing and is looking at legislation to determine how to address price inflation. If you would like to report an issue with pricing please email: