The Wokingham Paper

Borough residents warned to keep vigilant as coronavirus scams appear

The PPP have warned borough residents about coronavirus-related scams.
The PPP have warned borough residents about coronavirus-related scams.

YESTERDAY, the Public Protection Partnership warned borough residents to stay vigilant for coronavirus scams.

The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) for Wokingham, Bracknell Forest and West Berkshire warned that reports are being made for a number of coronavirus-related scams targeting individuals and industries. 

In a statement, the PPP said: “In common with most other crisis situations, criminals are using emails, text messages, social media posts, online advertisements and phone calls to defraud their unsuspecting victims.”

They warned that cases include cures, tax refunds, online adverts for hand sanitiser and masks, as well as door-to-door tests and offers of help.

These can come in the form of: 

  • Click here for a cure – emails are being sent purporting to be from a doctor claiming to have details about a vaccine being covered up by the UK and Chinese Governments. You will be taken to a fake web page where your details will be harvested. NEVER click on links in emails.
  • Covid-19 Tax Refund Email – this has links to access a refund and you will be asked to put in all of your financial information. The HMRC will never advise you of a tax refund in this way. NEVER click on links in emails
  • Fake Online Advertisements – these include, protective masks, sanitising gel, vaccines (these do not currently exist) and appeals from fake charities
  • Criminals are also knocking on doors selling Coronavirus tests. These are fake and won’t tell you anything.
  • Offers of help to get shopping from knocking on door – criminals are knocking on doors of elderly and offering to get some shopping for them. Leaving with their bank card or cash and not returning. 

The PPP said: “Please be aware, although there are genuine offers of help from the community, always go through a known channel or charity.”

Yesterday, Wokingham.Today announced that those needing help should contact Citizen’s Advice Wokingham, where the ‘One Front Door’ scheme will assess individual needs and direct the caller to the appropriate support.  

The PPP added: “Never give your card or cash to individuals you do not know. No matter how charming they appear. 

“Don’t get tempted into ordering any of these items – it is unlikely that you will receive your product and your money will be gone.

“Don’t believe everything you read – for accurate and up to date information use reliable and official sources such as the Government Official website and the NHS.”

Anyone who becomes aware of a scam is asked to report it to Citizens Advice.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HELP AND SUPPORT:

GIVE HELP, GET HELP: Charities unite to coordinate borough’s volunteers during coronavirus crisis

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