Stevenage mum targeted by fraudsters warns others of coronavirus con

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 March 2020

People are warned to beware of scams relating to the coronavirus. Picture: Pexels

People are warned to beware of scams relating to the coronavirus. Picture: Pexels


People are being urged to be vigilant as fraudsters are using the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of money.

Mother-of-two Rachel Jackson, who lives in Stevenage and runs her own pet food business, received a text message on Sunday ultimately aimed at obtaining the recipient’s personal details in order to steal money from their bank account.

It says: “URGENT: UKGOV has issued a payment of 458 GBP to all residents as part of its promise to battle COVID-19. Tap to apply.”

With many people facing financial uncertainty - and with the government announcing a raft of measures to alleviate people’s personal financial pressures due to the coronavirus outbreak - it’s not difficult to see how a scam could easily be mistaken for genuine help.

Incensed that scammers are using the current crisis to steal from people, Rachel contacted the Comet to raise awareness and warn others to beware.

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Of the con artists, she said: “They’re the lowest they could possibly be, preying on people who right now could be absolutely desperate for a number of reasons.

“I’m savvy enough to know this isn’t real, but others might not be thinking so clearly during this extremely worrying time.”

A spokesman for the Money Advice Network said: “Fraudsters are using the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of money. This has included people attempting to buy protective face masks from fraudulent sellers and coronavirus-themed phishing emails.

“Scams we’ve heard about so far include emails appearing to be from the government offering money to help you through this difficult time and messages from HMRC offering you tax rebates.

“Scammers have also been contacting people pretending to be from banks offering financial help like no late fees on credit cards and payment holidays on loans, as a way of getting you to reveal your card and bank account details.

“The number of scams is only likely to increase and Action Fraud is reporting hundreds of thousands of pounds being lost to scammers since the outbreak began.

“It’s important you remain extra vigilant at all times, make sure any calls and emails you’re getting are from legitimate sources and don’t give out any personal information.”

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