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Scams during coronavirus

Find out how the pandemic is being used to scam members of the public, and how you can stay safe

Types of scams

Sadly, some people are using the coronavirus pandemic to scam members of the public and make money by exploiting people’s fears, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated. Be wary of people or companies selling at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • vaccines or miracle cures
  • overpriced or fake goods such as anti-bacterial products
  • shopping or medication collection services – we can help with that
  • home cleaning services

Protect yourself and others

  • be cautious and listen to your instincts - don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door
  • protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know – your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone
  • don’t reply to uninvited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details 
  • don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
  • install latest software and updates on your electronic devices
  • be aware of fake news online - use trusted sources such as GOV.UK or NHS.UK websites
  • don’t be rushed into making a decision - only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  • know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know

Report a fraud or scam to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

National Trading Standards has produced a dementia friendly version of this advice.

You can read more about scams and how to avoid them on the Friends Against Scams website.

Please share this advice with friends and family members.

Published: 27 September 2021

Last updated: 5 September 2023