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Staying safe from scams during virus crisis

Staying safe from scams during virus crisis

March 26, 2020
Beware who is at the door - could it be a bogus caller?

Ealing Council is urging all residents to be aware of, and to take precautions against, possible fraud scams during the current coronavirus crisis.

It is an unfortunate truth that fraudsters are taking advantage of the situation and are preying on unsuspecting residents. This includes attempting to access private accounts, offering coronavirus testing kits, and bogus emails.

Vulnerable residents

The council is working closely with national government and local and voluntary organisations in responding to the coronavirus crisis. It is particularly concerned with supporting vulnerable residents in the coming days and weeks, including from scams.

“At this time of uncertainty and crisis, I want to assure the people of Ealing that the council is doing all we can to keep you safe,” said Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, lead member for community safety and inclusion.

“We are advising residents and business owners to beware of donation fraud or online scams that might target you, and those who are the most vulnerable or isolated in our communities. False donation claims asking you to input your personal details, including bank details, to receive Covid-19 relief or funds are a scam, the government, NHS, Public Health England and the council are not asking for this information and do not require it. So, if you are asked, please do not hand your details over.

“If you would like to donate to local people in need, consider donating to well-established charities that already support vulnerable people in the community, such as BEfriend, Age UK Ealing and Ealing Foodbank.”

Helping your neighbour

The easiest way to make an immediate difference is to be a good neighbour and check on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may be socially distancing or self-isolating. This includes single parents and those who live alone.

If your neighbour is socially distancing or self-isolating, you can respect this by contacting them by phone or social media. If you do not have their contact details, post your contact details through their letterbox, explaining who you are and asking them to contact you if there is anything they need. This might be shopping or collecting a prescription, walking their dog or it could be as simple as knowing that someone is there to check in on them regularly.

Please be mindful of the need to protect vulnerable groups from fraudsters and remind them not to give out any financial or personal details. If you are concerned about the welfare of an elderly or vulnerable person you can contact the council on 020 8825 7170. This line is staffed during office hours and will not provide health advice.

Scams: Tips for staying safe

  1. If you are self-isolating, beware of fraudsters knocking on your door – you do not have to answer and if you do, you can politely close the door at any time
  2. Your bank, the police or the council will never call you and ask you to remove funds from your account to handover to someone else
  3. Beware of anyone claiming to do coronavirus tests or supplying coronavirus testing kits
  4. Never send money to anyone you do not know or trust
  5. If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money because of fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank
  6. If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud
  7. Visit the online coronavirus centre daily for the most up to date advice on how to stay safe during this crisis
  8. Watch the video in our article about avoiding scams and fraud.