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Beware of scams and loan sharks during the Coronavirus outbreak

Unfortunately during the current Coronavirus outbreak some people are trying to take advantage of others whilst they are vulnerable. 

Current scams

  • a new text message scam is circulating asking you to apply for your covid vaccination. The link goes to a convincing but fake NHS website asking for a payment card and other personal details which can then be used to commit fraud. If unsure check any invitation to be vaccinated with your GP.
  • on social media a survey scam is offering £25 to say how you have coped during Covid-19. Often claiming to be council approved the survey asks for personal information including your bank details, D.O.B and N.I. number. These details are then used to commit fraud. 
  • If you receive a text message about being eligible to claim a covid 19 grant for self-isolating, be careful, this is a scam. Durham County Council will never text you a link inviting you to make a claim.

Be aware of people offering or selling the following

  • Loans and finance. If you don't recognise the company you can check if they are authorised to lend money on the Loan Smart website
  • Virus testing kits - these are only offered by the NHS
  • Vaccines or miracle cures
  • Overpriced or fake goods to protect yourself such as face coverings and anti-bacterial products
  • Shopping or medication collection services
  • Home cleaning services
  • Anyone offering to help you spread or take a council tax payment holiday, especially if they ask for bank details. If you want to spread the cost of council tax evenly over 12 months or delay starting payments until June instead of April let us know by completing our Covid-19: postpone your council tax payments if you have been impacted by coronavirus form.

Protect yourself and others

  • Don't be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take time to think before parting with your money or personal information
  • Don't assume everyone is genuine. It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore requests. Only criminals will try and rush or panic you
  • If someone claims to represent the council or a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts to pressurise you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure.

To learn more about the different types of scams visit Friends Against Scams.