Fake coronavirus fund and council tax discount offer among latest scams
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Scammers are continuing to prey on the good nature of the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Suffolk Trading Standards warned people to be aware of an email claiming to be from the World Health Organisation and containing a link to a fake website requesting donations to support the global response to Covid-19.
A spokesman said: “Hackers and cyber scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus disease pandemic by sending fraudulent email and WhatsApp messages that attempt to trick you into clicking on malicious links or opening attachments.
“These actions can be used to steal money or sensitive information.
“If you are contacted by a person or organisation that appears to be WHO, verify their authenticity before responding.
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“The World Health Organisation will never ask for your username or password to access safety information; never email attachments you didn’t ask for; never ask you to visit a link outside of who.int; never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel, and never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email.”
Other examples of online scams have included fake holiday refunds, testing kits or vaccines; overpriced or fake facemasks, hand sanitiser and hard-to-get goods; fake articles or false coronavirus maps, and emails using voluntary action to get people to share personal details.
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Meanwhile, scams unrelated to the outbreak have also appeared in the form of emails offering council tax reductions.
Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk Trading Standards have urged anyone who receives the email not to reply, click on the link, or give out any personal or financial details.
The council said it would not ask for bank details in emails.
Suffolk Trading Standards said:
“If you receive an email, text message or phone call offering a council tax refund or a council tax band reassessment, do not give out any personal information, particularly bank account, or debit or credit card details.
“Delete any emails or texts and block the sender. Do not reply or click on any links.”
If in any doubt, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.