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Date: Friday 27 March 2020
Author: Richmond upon Thames Police

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday night (23 March 2020), and the need for us to all stay at home, more of us will start to turn to the internet and our electronic devices to maintain contact and to also place orders for delivery.

Whilst this is a great use of our modern technology, please make sure you stop and check before clicking on a link in an unsolicited email, or placing an order with a new company.

Unfortunately, people are exploiting the uncertainty around the Coronavirus for financial gain. The below are three examples of fraud and phishing emails that are being circulated about Coronavirus:

  1. The first advertises face masks that supposedly protect against COVID-19 with a direct link to 'buy' them
  2. The second claims to be raising money for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and asks for a donation
  3. The third appears to be from the Government which informs the recipient that they are entitled to a tax refund.

All of these are fake.

If you're in any doubt, do not click on any links in the emails or part with your money.

To best protect yourself from phishing emails, make sure you:

  • Check the actual email address of the sender. The name of the sender can be different to the email address.
  • Install the latest updates on your electronic devices as this fixes any bugs and helps protect your device.
  • Install antivirus software.

If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. You can do this via their website or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

Lastly, for family and friends who do not know about these scams, pick up the phone, give them a call and let them know.

Stay safe.

Updated: 11 May 2021