Birmingham’s Trading Standards team are urging residents to be aware of a number of Coronavirus-linked scams which are targeting vulnerable people across the UK.
Images show scam text message offering fake tax refund and also a fake web page to apply for ‘tax relieve’ as examples of scams linked to coronavirus
Various text scams purport to be sent on behalf of the Government, offering payments to people ‘as part of its promise to battle COVID19’.
Recipients are urged to click a link which goes to an official-looking webpage – which has webredirect in the address rather than gov.uk – also the word relief is misspelt as ‘relieve’. When you click the link it then asks for credit card details and its CVC number.
As a result of social distancing and issues in getting to supermarkets and pharmacies for essential food and medical supplies, Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards officers are urging citizens to be vigilant when shopping in online marketplaces or of unsolicited offers to run errands on their behalf.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace that heartless criminals are using the coronavirus pandemic to exploit some of our most vulnerable citizens.
“So it’s really important for people to be on their guard and to look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters.”
Tony Quigley, Head of Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, said: “We are receiving a high number of calls about scams linked to coronavirus, which is just despicable.
“Fake Government tax refunds, too-cheap-to-be-true goods being sold in online market places, and individuals posing as volunteers offering to collect shopping for the most vulnerable – then disappearing with their cash or debit/credit card.
“These are difficult times for us all, and while it may be tempting to take up offers of such help or to click links to seemingly official offers, if in doubt don’t do it.”
Anyone who receives scam texts, calls or suspects an offer is not what it purports to be can report it by sending details and any evidence to email@example.com or contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133
For tips on how to avoid being scammed, visit the council’s website – Birmingham.gov.uk/tradingstandards
Suspected doorstep or cyber crime can be reported to Action Fraud via firstname.lastname@example.org