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Scams

Last reviewed on 11 May

These current scams are circulating here and abroad:

  • Fake NHS Test and Trace calls or messages.
  • Doorstep callers 'checking for coronavirus'.
  • Companies selling 'fast COVID-19 tests'.
  • Companies selling products that they claim can treat, cure or prevent the virus including face masks.
  • Companies selling fake cleaning products and hand sanitisers.
  • Fake charities asking for donations to help with the coronavirus.
  • Fake emails pretending to be from a government department.
  • Companies claiming to have or to be on the verge of producing a vaccine and requiring payment to reserve a batch.
  • Companies phoning to offer to clean and sanitise homes, pre-payment is required over the phone or with gift cards.
  • Scammers pretending to be from the UK government, advising that a new tax refund programme has been introduced to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and that you are due a refund.
  • Emails pretending to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) with attachments on how to stay safe - the attachments contain malware which will infect your computer, steal your information and request a ransom.
  • Scammers have circulated fake maps via email which claim to show how the virus outbreaks, but, again, they are malware.
  • Scammers offering fake investment opportunities in companies working to produce a vaccine.
  • Text message scams from fake 'UK Gov' accounts offering money as part of COVID-19 relief.

Read more from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit about online scams.

Don't get caught out

  • Scammers want to steal your money or your personal information. They do this by calling unannounced at your door, phoning, texting or emailing. They will also advertise on social media.
  • The only test available is through the NHS - you cannot buy a test kit or pay for a test from anybody else.
  • There is no vaccine or cure.
  • Only buy from companies that you have dealt with before and type in their online address if you want to order - don't respond to a link in an email or find them by an internet search because scam sites may be imitating as a genuine company.
  • Charities must be registered with the Charity Commission - check they are legitimate before you donate.

Visit the National Trading Standards' Friends Against Scams website for more information and advice.