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Question

 

“I’m really worried about my elderly relatives being targeted by coronavirus scams - are there any warning signs that I can tell them to look out for? What should they do if they think that something is a scam?”

 

Advice

 

Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in scams since the beginning of the pandemic, so it is good to be thinking about the steps you can take to help protect friends and family.

 

Common scams we are seeing are about bogus testing kits, coronavirus vaccinations and government refunds or fines. You should watch out for messages about coronavirus from unusual e-mail addresses or phone numbers, and should not click on any links. Be aware that you will not be asked to pay for coronavirus vaccinations - they are provided for free by the NHS.

 

Here are some general warning signs to look out for:-

 

  • You suspect you are not dealing with a real company – for example, if there is no postal address

  • You have been asked to transfer money quickly or to pay in an unusual way for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union

  • You have been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs

  • You have not had written confirmation of what has been agreed

 

If you think something is a scam you should hang up the phone, close the website, or shut the front door. Never feel pressured to make a decision straight away, and do not give out personal details or money unless you are certain that you can trust the person. If you feel threatened or unsafe you can ring 999.

 

For help with online scams, contact a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0808 250 5050 or contact Citizens Advice Havering at www.haveringcab.org.uk.  For more information about other types of scams, visit the Citizens Advice website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

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Charity registration number 1002593. Company limited by guarantee. Registered number 2577502.  Authorised and regulated by  the Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 617631. Registered office: Romford Central Library,First Floor,St Edward Way,Romford RM1 3AR.   Copyright © 2018. Citizens Advice Havering .