Scams Awareness Fortnight share advice on staying safe

It's Scams Awareness Fortnight from 15 to 28 June and this year's campaign is focusing on the scams linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted on 15 June 2020

At any time there are numerous scams going on. Citizens Advice research shows that almost three-quarters of people have been targeted by scammers in the last 2 years either by email, phone calls, text messages, emails, online, or face-to-face. Given the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever that people know how to protect themselves and others from scams.

The latest coronavirus scams include ones pretending to be from the government. You may get a text message saying the government has issued you a payment of £458 and you need to click on the link to claim it. Don’t as it’s a scam, as is any email supposedly from gov.uk saying that you are to be fined for leaving your home more than once. The only proper source for information issued by the government is www.gov.uk

People are also being warned about possible scams by call, text or email in relation to the new NHS test and trace service. Genuine contact tracers will never ask for any passwords, bank details or pin numbers – any communication from them will be asking you to sign into the NHS test and trace website.

Since the start of the lockdown the county council’s trading standards team has been working to protect those residents identified as particularly vulnerable to scams and fraud. They have contacted over 400 people to provide reassurance and advice.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “This year protecting people against scams is more important than ever. The coronavirus pandemic means many people are facing challenges around employment, debt, housing and health which can make them vulnerable to scammers.

“Our trading standards team is working hard to protect particularly vulnerable Derbyshire residents and to create awareness across the county of possible scams so that people can protect themselves and others.”

There are doorstep, phone and online scams to watch out for at any time and particularly at the moment. Doorstep scammers may be offering fake virus testing kits or offering to do your shopping and making off with your cash. Phone fraudsters are often after bank details and online crooks may be selling fake goods or using ‘phishing’ emails with malicious attachments to get your personal and financial information.

If you are a victim of cybercrime or online fraud and scams, report it to Action Fraud tel: 0300 123 2040.

Suspicious, or phishing emails, should be forwarded to the National Cyber Security Centre's Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) email report@phishing.gov.uk

There are many sources of support and information about scams including:
www.derbyshire.gov.uk/scams which includes a link to the county council’s Scams Bulletin for regularly updated information about local and national scams
• Check your online safety with the county council’s Digital MOT, developed in partnership with Derbyshire Police
• Citizens Advice Consumer Service tel: 0808 223 1133
• You can call Crimestoppers anonymously tel: 0800 555 111
• Government Take Five to Stop Fraud information 

More detailed information on fraud and scams is available from Derbyshire County Council Trading Standards and Derbyshire Police.