Cifas warns the public not to fall victim to coronavirus scams
20 February 2020
- Coronavirus scams preying on the public’s fear and anxiety over spreading virus
Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning people not to fall victim to scams being circulated involving the coronavirus.
Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public with emails, texts and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’. Scammers have also been setting up bogus websites asking for donations for victims, or promoting awareness and prevention tips.
To help members of the public protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud, Cifas is offering the following advice:
- Be sceptical if you receive and email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links.
- Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity.
- Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money, and never make donations by cash or gift card, or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram.
- If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to prey on people’s fear and anxieties, and so it's very likely that these scams will only increase as Coronavirus spreads.
‘My advice is to not let fraudsters scare or pressure you into making any hasty decisions. Take your time and do your research, and remember to never hand over personal or financial details – don’t let criminals benefit from this serious situation.’
For more information contact:
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654
Notes to editors
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. We also run a scheme called Protecting the Vulnerable, offered free of charge to local authorities to protect those under the care of Court Deputies who are unable to access financial products and whose identities may be at risk.
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