Cifas Homepage
NewsroomCareersContact Us

Cifas weekly coronavirus scam update - holidaymakers & pensioners targeted by fraudsters

22 May 2020
  • Rise in phishing scams targeting cruise passengers waiting for holiday refunds
  • Fraudsters targeting retirement savings leads to warnings issued by TPR & FCA

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest coronavirus scams from the past week, and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information. 

This week Cifas has been made aware of the following scams:

Cruise-related credit card scams
Cruise passengers waiting for refunds or Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) due to the cancellation of their holidays are being targeted by emails purporting to be from their holiday organiser. These emails ask travellers for their credit card numbers claiming it will help to process their refund more quickly. Travellers have also reported being contacted by phone calls confirming they are due a refund and asking for their bank account details.

Cifas is reminding holidaymakers to be vigilant of scams offering refunds or rebookings. If you receive a call or text purporting to be from a travel company wanting to discuss a refund or rebooking a holiday, then contact the party you booked your holiday with directly. Do not use the contact information or links in an email or text message.

Increase in pandemic pension scammers
Unscrupulous scammers are currently targeting the pensions of those people in or nearing retirement. Research from the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has already uncovered some concerning statistics around pension scams, and  Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud reporting centre, has recorded total losses of nearly £970,000 owing to Covid-19 fraud in February and March, with a marked increase in online fraud specifically.

Anyone contacted by someone purporting to be from an investment company or pension provider can check whether a company is genuine at, and never give financial or personal information to anyone – it could be used to steal your identity.

TV Licencing email scams
During the Coronavirus lockdown there has been an increase in TV Licensing phishing scams. These emails demand victims renew their TV License immediately as their direct debit has been declined or the payment details are out of date. Recipients are also told that they will be fined if they fail to pay. Other emails are claiming that the licence holder has overpaid and is due a refund, and that they need bank details to process this payment.

Cifas is reminding people that if they receive an unsolicited email or call, to never give out their bank details. If you are unsure as to whether a TV Licensing email is genuine, visit the official TV Licensing website or use the contact information on that official site

Recruitment fraud
Fraudsters are contacting jobseekers through social media and other messaging platforms (such as WhatsApp) asking them to share their personal details or pay money to begin the application process for a job. In order to appear more legitimate, job adverts use the branding of large corporate organisations as well as information from their websites.

Cifas is reminding jobseekers that if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking them to apply for a role, not to give out their personal information. If they claim to be calling from an agency or a company, then call them back on an officially recognised number.

Romance scams on the rise
Criminals are exploiting loneliness during the Coronavirus lockdown to take money from people looking for romance online. These fraudsters are skilled at conning money and personal details from their victims as part of seemingly normal conversation.

To help avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam, remember never to send money, financial details or offer too many personal details to someone online. For those needing more help and support, Victim Support offers free, confidential advice via Support line on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website:

Amber Burridge, Head of Intelligence for Cifas, said: ‘Weeks into lockdown, and we are still seeing fraudsters adopting new ways to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to defraud innocent members of the public.

‘Always be vigilant of fraudsters and never let your guard down – especially in the current climate. Remember that criminals are preying on people’s fear and anxieties around the pandemic, so never be rushed or pressured into handing over your bank or personal details – no matter how legitimate a request appears.’

Anyone that believes they have been the victim of a scam should contact their bank or financial service provider immediately and report the fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or


For more information contact:
Corinne Gladstone
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654

Notes to editors

Cifas has a webpage dedicated to giving advice on coronavirus fraud and the latest scams here

For more advice on preventing fraud visit the Take Five website.

About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2018, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.4 billion of fraud losses.

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Cifas weekly coronavirus scam update - criminals target councils, students & bereaved families.

29 May 2020

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest coronavirus scams from the past week, and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information. 


Cifas enters collaborative partnership with the vulnerability registration service to protect vulnerable consumers

20 May 2020

Cifas and The Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) have entered into a collaborative agreement that will offer protection to vulnerable individuals through the VRS national vulnerability database later this year.

Back to newsroom >
Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at