Important Coronavirus crime prevention advice: Beware, there are scammers about

We find ourselves currently in uncharted waters as a country, facing our biggest challenge since the Second World War – Coronavirus. Sadly, like times of adversity throughout history, there are a minority of criminals ready to exploit the situation.

Image from Live Science.

Here’s an important message on how to protect yourself from such sumbags sent by Kevin Pitt, Police Engagement and Consultation Officer for walsall, which I received via the excellent WMNow service – you can sign up for that here, and keep up to date with local policing and community information in your area.

The news channels, social media and conversations are dominated by Coronavirus so we are using this WMNow message to provide some crime prevention tips specific to the outbreak of this virus.

Times like these can bring out the best and worst in people. While some will be looking out for vulnerable relatives and friends we also know a small minority will be looking to profit from worry and concerns.

Action Fraud has received multiple reports about fraud linked to Coronavirus. We are therefore asking you to share some crime prevention advice with loved ones to ensure they aren’t tricked by fraudsters taking advantage of people’s worries.

In recent weeks they’ve seen reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

One tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email claiming to be able to provide a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

People have also paid money to online sellers for purchases that have never arrived.

The number of these reports are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

Please share the below crime prevention advice with friends and family members so fraudsters cannot profit during this time.

Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails

Do not respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal/financial information
Install latest software and updates on devices

If you are looking at making purchases on sites you don’t know or trust then make sure you do research of the company first before making the purchase, ask family and friends for advice

If you do decide to make payment use a credit card as the majority of credit card providers insure purchases made online

Keep in contact with your loved ones, especially if elderly or more vulnerable and make sure they are safe and comfortable

We are also aware of hate crime cases of a racially aggravated nature involving abuse connected to Coronavirus. We are also aware that there may be incidents that are not being reported to us.

We take all reports of hate crime seriously and, in order to respond to this, we need to know about it. If you feel you have been targeted please contact us via Live Chat at between 8am and midnight, call 101 anytime and in an emergency remember to use 999.

Finally we know that with an ever changing picture of the spread of Coronavirus you have concerns or questions and will be looking for the latest information. We recommend that you visit the NHS website or for the latest detailed advice and guidance on the response to Coronavirus.

Thank you.
Message Sent By
Kevin Pitt (Police, Engagement and Consultation Officer, Walsall)

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